Oil Filter Buying Guide

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Oil Filter Buying Guide

When vehicle owners change the oil in their car they must also change the oil filter. Since the filter sees constant use while the car is running, it can fill up quickly. Drivers can change oil and oil filters on their own with the right tools and the right replacement parts. It is easy to find the right replacement oil filter, particularly if owners understand how oil filters and the oil system in their car work.


Types of oil filters

Manufacturers use some standard sizes and types of oil filters. Most filters consist of some type of container with the filter elements contained inside. They also feature a bypass valve that allows oil to flow to the engine even if the filter, itself, develops a clog. Larger vehicles typically have a larger oil filter to handle the increased amount of fluid that needs to run through the filter.


Mechanical filters allow motor oil to flow through the opening and into a filter core within the canister. This core is usually paper, although some filters use metal screens or even fabric cores. The oil flows through the filter core, leaving dirt, debris, and other impurities behind as it flows on to the engine. These filters do not need anything in them to move the oil since the engine and oil flow provide that movement for the oil.


Magnetic filters use the same core system as mechanical filters, but they add a magnet either inside the core itself or outside the core but within the canister. The magnet pulls pieces of metal from the engine oil as it filters to keep those pieces out of the engine. This type of filter requires maintenance to occasionally remove particles from the magnet so that it can continue to function.


Symptoms of a clogged or bad oil filter

Because of the bypass filter, drivers may not know that they have a bad or clogged oil filter until a mechanic or someone else checks it. In some cases, the vehicle may give drivers an indicator by its behaviour or with a light on the dash. In some vehicles, the check engine light may come on or a specific light related to the oil system. A car can also overheat more quickly if the oil filter is clogged or bad and the oil may leak.


Choosing the right oil filter

Often, oil filter manufacturers clearly label the exterior of the filter with the model number or size to make it easier for vehicle owners to find exactly the right replacement. If that is no longer visible, then the next best place to look is the owner's manual for the vehicle. Manufacturers often list the model numbers for acceptable replacement filters for the major filter makers.


Changing the oil filter

Changing the oil filter occurs after first draining the motor oil from the vehicle. Once all of the oil drips out, vehicle owners then use an oil filter wrench to firmly grasp the oil filter and twist it to remove it from its connector. The used oil filter is full of sludge, oil, and debris, so vehicle owners should handle it carefully. Before replacing the new oil filter, owners should apply a small amount of clean oil to the screw end. This allows the filter to seat properly against the engine.


Disposing of used oil filters

Since oil filters are full of used engine oil and other contaminants, owners cannot dispose of them in their regular bin. Some mechanics offer disposal services, as do some landfills. It is best to contact local municipalities to determine the proper way to dispose of used oil filters so that they are handled correctly. People should never throw oil filters into the bin on their own since they can leak used motor oil.


How to buy oil filters on eBay

The easiest way to buy oil filters is to have a manufacturer name and model number with which to search. If that is not available, then buyers can use the make, model, and year of their car along with the phrase "oil filter" in the search bar on any eBay page. Once the results load, you can use the filters to further narrow down the available choices. It is a good idea to compare any photos of the new oil filter with the original oil filter to verify that you have the proper replacement for your car's make and model.

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