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Choosing an Oil Filter

Choosing an Oil Filter

It’s the last thing you want to think about ... you’ve got enough on your mind. But if you want to keep your car in tip-top shape, choosing the right oil filter is important.

Through normal driving, engine oil can get dirty.  The oil can pick up little bits of fuel, dirt and dust that, if not removed, will cause engine parts to wear faster than they should.   Over time, the wear can make parts fail and cause the engine to stop running.  Repairs can be very expensive.  The oil filter is used to strain the dirt and dust from the oil to make the engine last longer.

Most oil filters look very similar.  They look like a metal can with a threaded hole on one side and a sealing gasket around the threads.  Although they look similar, there are many different oil filter part numbers, and each part number is made for a specific car and engine.

Even when the oil filters look the same, they may have small differences in the threads, or the gasket may be a little larger or smaller. The catalogs help you find the right oil filter for your car or truck.  If you’re not sure which one you need, ask for assistance with the catalog.  It is very important to get just the right part number for the year, make and model of your car.  Using the wrong filter can cause oil to leak out of the engine or even allow the filter to fall off.  Both situations will cause engine damage, so, remember, the right filter is important.

There are many different brands of oil filters that range from premium to value.  Each type is designed to meet different drivers’ needs.  As long as you have the right part number, they will all work with your engine.  Some may filter out smaller particles of dirt a little better and some may last longer, so you should read the features of each to determine which is best for you.  Remember, even the least expensive will protect your engine.

It’s always a good idea to compare the new filter with the one you take off of the engine.  The new filter should be about the same size as the one you just removed.  Remove the gasket from the old filter and compare it to the new one.  They should be nearly identical.

When installing an oil filter, always check to be sure the old gasket came off with the old filter.  Apply a light coating of used oil to the new filter gasket and install the new filter on the engine by turning it clockwise.  Use your hand to spin the filter all the way into the engine.  If it is hard to spin it, the threads may not be lined up or you may have the wrong filter.  When the oil filter has spun all the way on, use your hand to tighten another one-quarter to one-half turn.  Don’t use a tool to tighten the filter or it may be very difficult to remove the next time.

Always dispose of the used oil and oil filter in an approved manner.

Follow these simple steps, and you can cross the oil filter off your to-do list.

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