Posted under Car Filters

News flash! Motor oil can’t provide optimal performance without an efficient oil filter. We’re making this announcement in bold because while drivers often (and very wisely) pay close attention to their motor oil, they sometimes don’t give the oil filter much thought. Not tracking how often you should change your oil filter can be a big — and perhaps even costly — mistake.

The Importance of Changing Your Oil Filter

To understand why the oil filter is your vehicle’s unsung hero, let’s take a step back and look at what it does. Simply put, it helps keep the motor oil clean. That sounds simple, but it’s essential. Here’s why:

  • Motor oil is designed to lubricate and protect the engine, helping prevent friction, damage, and premature wear. Also, when the engine parts move smoothly and require less force, you may see an increase in fuel efficiency.
  • As oil circulates, the oil filter picks up contaminants and by-products of combustion that can damage engine parts.
  • Motor oil also carries away some of the heat and helps keep your engine running cool. Having a clean, new filter will allow the oil to freely lubricate and protect the engine.  

The filter is designed to capture these contaminants and bi-products that the oil collects as it makes its way through the engine. These contaminants can clog tight oil passages, scuff away engine parts, or thicken the motor oil to the point that it restricts oil flow, making the oil pump work harder and affecting engine efficiency. So now we’re back to the big question: how often should you change your oil filter?

What Do Vehicle Manufacturers Recommend?

Do you have to change the oil filter every time you get an oil change? Most vehicle manufacturers recommend it. That makes sense, right? Making an oil filter replacement part of your oil change regimen ensures that:

  • The fresh oil won’t be flowing through a filthy filter and putting those contaminants back into the engine. 
  • You start with a fresh filter with your new motor oil.  

How Do You Know When an Oil Filter Needs to Be Replaced

What happens if you skip an oil filter change? How will you know if your filter needs replacement before your next oil change? 

During use, motor oil will accumulate contaminants and debris from combustion and contamination. The filter is designed to trap those particles and prevent them from causing damage to the lubrication system, so it’s recommended to change a filter each time you change your motor oil. This allows your vehicle with a fresh start with oil and a clean filter.

Here are five common symptoms of a bad oil filter:

  • Lack of engine performance: If the engine doesn’t pick up speed as it usually does, or the accelerator feels like it isn’t working correctly, you may have dirty motor oil trying to flow through a clogged filter. Driving this way can lead to reduced engine performance, potential engine damage, and can potentially lead to expensive repairs.
  • Engine sputtering: When oil cannot flow freely, it can affect your engine performance. Even if this just happens occasionally, you should bring your car, truck, minivan, or SUV to your nearest automotive professional.
  • Metallic sounds from the engine: You know that grinding sound that gives you goosebumps? It could be your engine crying out for help! When a clogged filter interferes with oil flow through the engine, there isn’t adequate lubrication, and metal may be grinding against metal. This is a serious problem. (Really serious!) Get your vehicle serviced immediately. The problem the scraping sound indicates may be a comparatively affordable fix if caught early. But if it continues, you may find yourself with a vehicle in the shop and a big repair bill.
  • Dirty exhaust: Black or smelly smoke harms the environment and indicates something is wrong with your vehicle. Your local automotive professional can diagnose the problem and suggest a solution.
  • Dropping engine oil pressure: If your car has a digital dashboard or an oil pressure gauge, you can read the oil pressure on the dash. Typically, oil pressure won’t fluctuate much as you motor along. However, a sudden change in pressure could indicate an issue.

What About Synthetic and High-Mileage Oil Filters?

Just as you have different motor oils to choose from, there’s a variety of oil filters you can use for your vehicle. In addition to conventional filters, you can choose synthetic or high-mileage filters. Each has its advantages:

  • Synthetic filters: While major oil manufacturers agree that you don’t have to use a different or special oil filter with synthetic oil, you may wish to consider it. A synthetic oil filter is engineered to work with synthetic motor oil and typically has a longer, larger body than a conventional filter, indicating greater capacity.
  • High mileage filters: Since some new car manufacturers recommend a longer interval between oil changes (up to 10,000 miles in some cases), a high mileage oil filter may be a good investment. High mileage filters perform better and longer because they’re made of upgraded materials. 

If you’re unsure whether to choose a conventional, synthetic, or high-mileage filter for your vehicle, feel free to ask your local automotive professional for a recommendation.

Stop By Your Local Jiffy Lube for an Oil Change and Oil Filter Replacement

Make oil filter replacements a breeze when you bring your vehicle to your local Jiffy Lube®. Every Jiffy Lube Signature Service® Oil Change includes a new oil filter, and our trained technicians will be happy to place a sticker on the upper left corner of your windshield to remind you when your next oil change is due. Or, if your vehicle has a dashboard message center that displays oil life, we can reset the monitor to reflect your new engine oil change. As you drive away from your neighborhood Jiffy Lube location, you can feel confident that you won’t have to wonder how often to change your oil filter. You’ll know!

NOTE: Not all services are offered at all Jiffy Lube service centers. Please call ahead or check to ensure the service is available at the Jiffy Lube location near you.