Oil Filers Explained: What They do and How They Work

Oil Filers Explained: What They do and How They Work

3rd Feb 2017

We all know the importance of changing engine oil, but when was the last time you changed the oil filter?

History of the Automotive Oil Filter

Early-model cars and trucks didn't use oil filters, which is one of the reasons why automakers recommended more frequent oil changes. It wasn't until the 1920s when a patent was filed for an automotive oil filter. Invented by George Greenhalgh and Ernest Sweetland, automotive experts say the filter revolutionized the industry. In fact, it's still being produced today. The duo's oil filter was essentially a bypass filter, allowing most of the oil to flow from the pan to the engine, with a small amount sent through t secondary filter.

Modern-Day Oil Filters

Today, oil filters are used in most automobiles and many types of hydraulic machines and heavy equipment. It's fundamental purpose, as the name suggests, is to filter contaminants from the engine oil. Maintaining clean engine oil is important for several reasons. When oil becomes dirty, it accumulates these small but hard particles that can wear down the surface of the engine. Dirty oil can also be pumped into components, damaging bearings and contributing to corrosion.

The bottom line is that you need clean oil pumping through your energy. When it becomes dirty, it can wear down the engine and its associated components, causing serious damage over time.

How Oil Filters Work

Most oil filters work in a similar manner: as you can see from the image above, the outside looks like a metal canister, which features a gasket so it can be secured against the engine's surface without leaking. The base of the filter holds the gasket and features several holes inside. When the engine is operational, the oil pump transfers oil to the filter, at which point it enters the holds on the outside of the base. The dirty oil is then pushed through the filter before existing back out the central hole where it's then pumped back into the engine.

So, how often should you change your oil filter? You can check with the manufacturer, but most recommend changing the oil filter every other time that you change your oil. If you change your oil once every 5,000 miles, you should change the filter once every 10,000 miles.