Get the Facts About Oil Filters
What they do: capture infiltrates in motor oil. More specifically, they trap the byproducts of the oil's production process, along with whatever builds up while the oil lubricates engine parts. In a sense, this is a lot like what air filters do for engines, heaters, and air conditioners and what fuel filters do for fuel systems. In this case, though, they help protect and prolong the lives of the oil pump, its bearings, and other components.
The parts of one and what they do: there are basically three -- the filter medium itself, a housing, and a gasket. Oil filter housings, you can usually find in engine bays, right next to engine covers; the one in your vehicle holds the filter and attaches it to the engine. Oil filter gaskets, however, are rubber seals, which help close filters off from the outside and keep oil leaks from happening.
Where to access it: from underneath the engine compartment, usually. You may need to remove an undertray, though. Some models, however, make it so you can access it from above the bay. Check your owner's manual for more specifics.
When to change it: regularly, every 3,000 miles or 3 months or so -- whichever comes first. That means during every oil change or during every other one, according to many owner's manuals. Otherwise, do so either when the media clogs or age and use wear it out. If the housing gaskets get brittle and start to crack, replace them, too, as oil will invariably start to leak from them. In such a case, keep an eye out for the warning signs: oil pressure loss and an engine oil warning light on the dash, most likely. (You can also look for the other likely symptoms -- engine performance issues.)
Which oil filter fits your vehicle: that depends on thread and gasket sizes it requires. You ought to be able to find this info in your owner's manual. Be sure to install the right-size filter, too. Installing one that's the wrong size can mean two things: an oil leak (much like the case of a bad housing gasket can), and worse, serious (and expensive) engine damage resulting from the filter detaching from the oil pump.
Why buy a genuine OEM oil filter: your brand makes the correct size for the model you drive (ditto for housings and gaskets). That's a compatibility guarantee.
Where to order a replacement oil filter online: our auto parts store has what you're looking for. Just be sure to browse our catalog with your model information (make, model, and model year) filled in. It'll make finding what fits a lot easier, not to mention help you do it faster. Buy one now, and we'll ship it to your address; it'll be on your doorstep in no time, and you'll be swapping out the old for the new before you know it.
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