A Salute to Oil Filters

Nobody should have to put a gun to your head to get you to change your oil filter, yet it’s amazing how many guys will let it go, gradually destroying the performance and integrity of their engine each time they fire up the ignition.

An oil filter, like the Silverado oil filter, Dodge Ram oil filter, Sierra filters, Tundra oil filter or Chevy Suburban filter, is the engine’s primary defense against abrasion, and the resulting wear and tear that occurs when dirty oil is allowed to pass through the engine. Stock filters can do the job, but, as with anything, performance parts can do it better.

Performance-grade oil filters, like those produced by K&N, remove solid contaminants including dirt, carbon and metal particles from the oil before they can damage bearing, journal and cylinder wall surfaces within the engine. It would seem obvious but: the cleaner the filter, the more effective it is at trapping these contaminants.

Commonly known as “full-flow” filtration, today’s vehicles utilize a system in which the oil is routed through the filter before it goes to the crankshaft bearings, cam bearings and valve train. It’s by far the most efficient way of removing contaminants while assuring only filtered oil is allowed to pass into the engine. As the oil filter begins to wear, it gathers dirt and debris, similar to an air filter. As the crud collects and continues to build up, it obstructs the flow of oil and can eventually lead to some serious problems due to the loss of lubrication—most notably, the big EF (engine failure).

To maintain performance and prevent catastrophic damage from occurring to your engine, the oil filter should be changed before it reaches this point (or anywhere near it). Remember: even if your engine doesn’t fail, a clogged oil filter is still eroding your engine performance which has a direct impact on your fuel efficiency. By not chancing your oil filter regularly, you’re literally costing yourself more at the pump each time you fill up!

So how often is often enough? Well, many auto manufacturers will tell you the oil filter only needs to be replaced once every other oil change. However, in modern vehicles that isn’t sufficient. Today’s oil filters have been downsized to save weight, cost and space. What was once a quart-sized filter has been replaced by a pint-sized filter (a pint is smaller than a quart, for those of you not familiar with the weird way Europeans measure out their wine). This reduction in size provides less filtering capacity. Nevertheless, these smaller oil filters should easily stand up to about 3,000 miles, but they won’t make it past the 6,000 mile mark. Replacing the oil filter every time the oil is changed will ensure you maintain the highest possible engine integrity and fuel economy.

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