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Car and Truck Oil Filters

The oil filter plays an important role in keeping the engine in your car or truck running smoothly and prolonging the life of your motor's moving parts. Keeping the engine oil free from contaminants and debris allows the engine to run smoothly, perform better, and last longer. Changing the oil filter, along with the oil, is one thing you can do to improve the fuel economy of your car or truck.

How does an oil filter work?

Most of the oil in your engine flows directly from the oil pan into the moving parts of the motor. A portion of the oil is constantly routed through the oil filter, trapping contaminants and gradually cleaning the oil over time.

How long do car oil filters last?

Many experts recommend changing the oil in your car or truck every three months or 3,000 miles, and they recommend changing your oil filter when you change your oil. The exact mileage or time between filter and oil changes may vary, though, depending on the age of your car or truck, the type of oil used, and the type of filter used. You should check the owner's manual for your car or truck and follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for replacement parts and maintenance schedules.

What are the different types of oil filters?

The various types of oil filters rely on different materials and processes to separate contaminants from the oil.

  • Mechanical: These filters use a material, such as paper or cotton, to trap contaminants. As the mechanical filter traps particles, it gradually becomes clogged, requiring replacement.
  • High-efficiency (HE): These filters have smaller pores in their filters, allowing them to trap even smaller contaminants. By using an HE filter, you may be able to increase the interval between replacements.
  • Centrifugal: The centrifugal filter has moving parts inside and uses a rotating drum and centrifugal force to separate the contaminants from the oil.
  • Sedimentation: This type of filter relies on gravity to pull the heavier contaminants to the bottom of the filter, where they remain trapped.
  • Magnetic: Some filters have a magnetic element enclosed, which attracts metallic particles out of the filtered liquid.
How many oil filters does a car have?

Most cars have one oil filter, located near the middle on the bottom of the engine. Some cars also have a magnetic oil plug, which acts like a filter by attracting metallic debris from the oil.