Regular vehicle maintenance and repair is important if you want to keep your car around for a long time. Some things, like the ignition coil, can last for as long as 100,000 miles, but other things need to be replaced more frequently. The oil filter is one of these, as contaminants build up in it and can cause wear and tear. Changing it out regularly is important, and you can do it yourself if you know your way around cars. Although replacing the filter is easy to do, it is important to replace it correctly.
1. Locate the Old Oil Filter
Prior to starting this process, make sure your car has cooled down and is on a level surface. The location of the old oil filter depends on the type. If it is a cartridge style, search for it underneath the hood. If it is a spin-on style, you may find the filter underneath the vehicle, near the front of the engine or under the oil pan.
2. Remove the Oil Filter
Place a pan underneath the oil filter and loosen the filter. This allows oil to drain out into the pan, which happens quickly, so make sure you move your hand out of the way.
Once the oil has drained, remove the filter. To remove a cartridge-style filter, lift up on it. For the spin-type, you spin it off by hand.
3. Install a New Filter
Next, replace the old with a new oil filter. To find the one that fits your vehicle, you can do a VIN number lookup. You can also stop into your local AutoZone and ask an associate which type he or she would recommend to keep your car running in tip-top shape.
If you are installing a cartridge-style filter, install the O-rings first, and then center the filter into the housing and tighten the cap. For a spin-on type, lubricate the rubber seal and attach the filter on the threaded stud. Tighten the filter with a wrench or by hand.
4.Check the Level of Oil
Inspect the level of engine oil and use a filter to fill new oil to the full level. Make sure you use the correct engine oil for your car. Once you have topped off the oil, turn the car on and let it run for five minutes. Afterwards, check the filter to make sure there is no leaking and that the oil level remained the same.
5.Properly Dispose & Record the Oil Change
Once you have finished the job, properly dispose of the oil filter. You may also want to drop it off at AutoZone so they can dispose of it for you. Then, record the date and mileage so that you know when to replace the filter. Depending on the year of your vehicle, this may be anywhere from every 3,000 to 7,000 miles. Replacing the oil filter at the same intervals as getting an oil change is a smart move, as it keeps your car in good working order and prevents future costly repairs.