Oil plays a critical role in keeping your vehicle running smoothly. Not only does it lubricate your engine parts and reduce friction, but it helps to remove heat as well. Over time, oil naturally degrades. It also picks up tiny particulate matter and even metal shavings from the combustion cycle. The oil filter keeps these particles from passing back into the pump or engine.
The filter is also important in maintaining oil pressure. Using the wrong oil filter can negatively impact oil pressure. The wrong filter, a filter that isn’t working properly, or a filter that gets clogged can cause oil pressure to drop. The proper oil filter, along with the pressure relief valve, will help regulate oil pressure and avoid spikes. If the relief valve is damaged, or the wrong filter is used, too much or too little oil can pass into the engine.
Using the wrong oil filter may prevent the filter from sealing properly, leading to problems with oil pressure or leaks. We’ve even seen instances of incorrect oil filters literally falling off.
An oil leak won’t just make an ugly mess on your driveway, if your engine runs out of oil, the damage can be catastrophic. The engine can dry out and, without the oil to help displace the heat, it can overheat your vehicle. Without reducing friction, engine parts wear out and strain the cooling system. Unfiltered particles can pass into the internal parts of the engine and mineral deposits can obstruct heat conductivity.
Warning Signs of Incorrect or Clogged Oil Filters
• Performance: Engine performance will be degraded and you may lose acceleration
• Sputtering: Your vehicle may sputter when you are driving and you may have trouble maintaining speeds
• Metallic Screeching: If you hear that metal-on-metal grinding sound, it may be a lack of oil in the engine
• Oil Pressure Drops: Your oil pressure gauge can move slightly normally, but if you see a quick drop, it’s a warning sign
• Black Exhaust: If oil isn’t passing through your filter properly, you may smell burning oil as it passed into the exhaust pipe, leading to black or dirty looking exhaust
Even the wrong oil filter can look like it fits. Just because the threads line up and it seems to screw on properly, it does not mean it is the right type. The rubber seal on an incorrect oil filter might not line up and lead to oil pressure problems and leaks.
It’s important to check your owner’s manual or your vehicle manufacturer’s website to make sure you are using the right oil filter for your vehicle.