How Does an Oil Filter Work? A Brief Guide

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Check under the hood of your car, and you’ll find numerous electrical and mechanical components critical to the vehicle's performance. Among them is the oil filter, and its purpose is to prevent contaminants and dirt from cycling through the engine, preventing a breakdown. But how does an oil filter work? In this guide from Take 5, we’ll deconstruct the inner workings of this essential automotive component.

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Where Is the Oil Filter Located?

You can consult your owner's manual or a mechanic to pinpoint the filter’s exact location on your car. The oil filter is a cylindrical component for cars with combustion engines, typically located underneath the vehicle near the engine block. This placement provides easy access during oil changes and helps prevent oil from spilling into the engine.

How Does an Oil Filter Work?

As the engine runs, the oil pump circulates oil to lubricate its components. In the process, the oil collects dirt, metal fragments, and other contaminants that can compromise engine efficiency. The oil filter acts like the "kidneys" of your vehicle, diligently filtering out these contaminants and regulating fluid levels to keep your engine running smoothly.

Oil enters the filter through the tapping plate, then flows into the filter media, typically made from synthetic fibers or cellulose. These materials offer superior filtration capabilities, capturing even the smallest particles and contaminants. The filter is designed with an anti-drain valve to ensure consistent oil flow and prevent the oil from draining back into the engine. After filtration, clean oil exits the filter through the outlet, providing clean lubrication to vital components.

How Often Should You Change an Oil Filter?

Auto professionals recommend replacing the oil filter at every oil change. For most car owners, this means changing the filter every 3,000 to 5,000 miles or every three to six months. It’s a good idea to consult the manufacturer's recommendations in your owner's manual.

Some additional factors to consider are your driving conditions and vehicle usage. For example, replacing the oil filter more frequently is best if you regularly drive in severe weather conditions or on dusty roads.

Here are the most common signs that you need an oil filter replacement:

  • Decreased Engine Performance: Sluggish acceleration and reduced engine power may indicate a clogged oil filter.
  • Oil Pressure Issues: A clogged oil filter can impede the oil flow, triggering your vehicle's oil light to turn on.
  • Unusual Engine Noises: A clogged oil filter restricts oil flow, and you may hear rumbling or grinding sounds from your engine as components wear against each other.

How Long Does an Oil and Filter Change Take?

On average, oil and filter changes can take 30-45 minutes to complete. However, at Take 5, we’ve streamlined the process to minimize our customers' wait times. With a dedicated team of experienced technicians, an oil and filter change at Take 5 takes as little as 10 minutes.

During your visit, you’ll relax in the comfort of your vehicle while our team of expert technicians drain the old oil, replace the filter, and refill the engine with new, high-quality oil. Before hitting the road, we conduct inspections, top off vital fluids, and check your tire pressure to ensure optimal performance.

Find a Take 5 Oil Change Location Near You Today!

Is it time for an oil and filter change? Find a Take 5 Oil Change location near you today for fast, high-quality, and convenient oil changes! We guarantee you'll be back on the road in no time with our stay-in-your-car process! You can also take advantage of our special coupons to save on your next oil change!

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