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Should You Also Replace The Filter At Your Oil Change?

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When you take your vehicle in for an oil change, it should also receive a filter change. Professional oil changes include filter changes for several good reasons. Your vehicle shouldn't have one of these procedures without the other. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of your vehicle's oil filter and why it needs replacing at your next oil change.

Importance of Your Vehicle's Oil Filter

As the name implies, the oil filter removes dirt and other contaminants that could harm your engine. The pump forces oil to pass through the filter as it circulates through your vehicle's engine. The pressure forces the oil through a part of the filter that picks up small bits of dirt and metal. It traps these pieces and keeps them from recirculating.

Some of these pieces may seem small and insignificant, but they can be a big problem. Many of them are too small to see without a microscope, but enough can cause damage. Your vehicle's engine has very precise clearances, for example. A small buildup of dirt or metal pieces is enough to cause major engine problems.

Reasons for a New Filter

Oil filters have a limited lifespan. Over time, contaminants build up and can clog the filter. A clogged filter is less effective at keeping your engine clean. Some filters also have a pressure valve to allow the oil to bypass a clogged filter. At that point, your vehicle will run as if it has no filter. Contaminants will flow freely around the engine and create potentially hazardous buildup. Replacing the filter with a new one restores the filtering process.

Problems If You Don't Replace the Old Filter

Many people think if the filter looks clean, they don't need to change it. However, even if your oil filter looks clean, it still holds contaminants. When you change the oil, but not the filter, you increase the chance of re-contaminating your oil as soon as you start your car. These small pieces can act like friction paper and contribute to engine wear and pressure problems. You will have already shortened your new oil's life and effectiveness from the start if you re-use an old filter.

Change your vehicle's oil and filter at the recommended interval. How often you need an oil change depends on your vehicle and the type of oil you use. An automotive shop technician can advise you on the needed frequency for your situation. If it's been a while, stop by a shop and have your vehicle checked out. 

For more information about oil changes, contact a local company.