How Often Should I Change My Oil Filter?

By John Stahel - April 7th 2017

oil filter
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According to the RepairPal Encyclopedia, the engine oil filter removes contaminants from the engine oil before it circulates throughout the engine. Common symptoms that indicate a needed replacement include an abnormal knocking noise from inside the engine or even an engine oil leak.

Controversy surrounds the realm of oil and oil filters. Car manufacturers and oil producers are at odds, both claiming different intervals for filter and oil changes. Some oil producers recommend getting your filter changed with every oil change, which they prescribe doing every 3,000 miles or three months. Car companies suggest changing your filter with every other visit to an oil service provider. One explanation for these claims could be that car manufacturers want their vehicles to not appear expensive in terms of maintenance cost, while, adversely, the oil manufacturer profits as you buy their product as often as possible.

It turns out that, due to advancement in oil technology, the 3,000-mile rule of thumb with regards to oil changes is obsolete. Oil should be changed at the intervals determined by checking the car’s manual. With new oil lasting upwards of 7,000 miles, getting a change at 3,000 miles would waste perfectly good oil, hurting both your pocketbook and the environment. This fact does, however, make it more feasible to change your oil filter with every oil change.

The oil change indicator dash light, or maintenance light, serves as warning that you’re due for an oil change. If you haven’t changed the oil filter recently, this is probably a good time for that as well. Don't be afraid of the light! Some manufacturers recommend actually waiting until the light illuminates on your dash before you roll into the oil changers. This light, however, isn't set by mileage – it's usually some combination of the amount of time at idle and engine RPM. Want to stay on the safe side? RepairPal Jill advises that she would never go over 7,500 miles without an oil change.

It’s advised that motorists who drive their vehicles under stressful conditions, such as in extreme hot or cold, or even heavy hauling, should undergo maintenance more frequently. The oil filters ability to extract the grime in your engine makes it vital to the performance of your vehicle. For this reason, most experts suggest getting your filter replaced with every oil change dictated by your car manufacturer’s instructions. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to auto repair.

Go forth and drive!

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2 User Comments

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Good info. I have to take issue with your claim that oil manufacturers recommend changing oil at 3000 miles, however. Most oil makers tell you to follow the guidelines in your owner's manual, regardless of mileage.