Oil Filter and Research Information


Car maintenance is the most important step in preventing the need for car repair. When log book services and other work is performed in a timely manner you can expect your vehicle to last quite a few years for you and your family. When the work has been neglected there can be a time when you get in the car and nothing happens. The engine does not turn over and you are stranded.

One of the small pieces of your vehicle which can make a big impact on the performance is the oil filter. This small part does a big job to keep your engine clean and running at peak performance. To help shed some light on all the work this filter does, let’s break down what it does, how and why.

How Oil Filters Work

The oil filter in the engine of a car or truck is about the size of a coffee cup. This small part does a big job in keeping impurities out of the car. These impurities can cause engine sludge and can even cause your car to stop performing. An oil filter works to scrub the oil of all the impurities which are produced in a heated engine which is always burning fuel and creating chemical waste.

First the oil pump pushes the used oil into the oil filter. This oil goes through the filter media and pleats and is then sent back into the engine. The deposits from the chemical buildup are then left on the filters. Over time the oil filter can fill up with debris and will need to be changed.

Parts of an Oil filter

  • Anti Drainback Valve: This rubber filter acts as a stopper and prevents the oil from flowing back into the container when the car or truck is not turned on.
  • Centre Tube: Often made of steel this tube helps the flow of oil back into the engine once it has gone through the filtering process.
  • End Disc: This small filter keeps the unfiltered oil from leaking through the filter medium and into the centre tube.
  • Filter Medium: Made of synthetic fibres the filter medium is responsible for stopping the flow of contaminants back into the engine which have been picked up in the oil.
  • Pleats: This is a second filter medium which can limit the flow of the oil and change the efficiency as it flows through the oil filter.
  • Relief Valve: On cold days the oil will not start as viscous as it needs to be to go through the filtering process until the car or truck is warm. The relief valve will send some unfiltered oil through the centre tube and into the engine to get the engine going smoothly.
  • Retainer: Works to keep the end disk and the filter tight against the tapping plate.
  • Tapping Plate: This is where the oil flows to or from the filter. There are small holes which are around the edge of the tapping plate for the oil to flow in. There are threaded holes in the centre of the tapping plate for the oil to flow out from.

Oil Filter Life

Manufacturers typically will set a change date for their oil filters. This is the date when you are expected to need to replace an oil filter. These filters often last about 10,000km. However the length of the oil filter will depend on the driving conditions which you are under and the stress on the engine that your vehicle goes through. For instance, driving short distances by a clean lake to take the kids to school at a low kph is less stressful on an engine than driving through construction on uneven terrain in harsh weather for hours on end to commute.

Different Types of Oil Filters

When considering the type of oil filter which you choose for your vehicle it is important to consider the filter material. Many filters are made of synthetic material, including small glass particles. The filter which you choose should be based on the type of driving which you do and the common road conditions which your car is exposed to. Some common oil filters are spin on and canister types filters. The spin on filter is the most common which you will find on the market today.

Cost of an Oil Filter

The oil filter does a big job, but the cost is not very high. Many oil filters may be less than the cost of lunch. This is why it is important to take the time to look around for the best performing one for your car. A little extra upfront can mean greater mileage out of the filter and greater performance from the car. When discussing the filter quality with our mechanics it is important to discuss the gasket which hold the oil inside and prevents it from spilling out. The gasket will work to ensure that all the oil has been correctly filtered and that the oil filter itself is doing what you want it to do.

Caring for Your Oil Filter

Caring for the filter is similar to caring for the rest of the vehicle. Every 5,000km or so you want to bring the car in for an oil change. When the mechanic is performing this process it is helpful to have him or her check the oil and air filters in the vehicle. This will give the mechanic time to access whether or not your car is performing properly. With a new oil filter you may feel better get up and go and smoother driving conditions.

A Good Filter Will Protect Your Car

Talk to your local mechanic to find the right oil filter for your car. Even a simple upgrade in the oil filter can make the difference when you fill up with fuel every week. When there is less friction on the engine because everything is working smoothly, your car will operate better. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and a good oil filter is worth a good engine.

Specialist Car Services