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Changing Engine Oil and Filter Still Important

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Changing the oil filter on a car is important so that the engine gets the right amount of oil and none of the gunk or debris that come with it. The oil filter should be changed around every 3,000-5,000 miles, with the regular oil change. Changing the filter costs up to $75 if completed with the oil change.

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Engine maintenance is a tough subject today. There are plenty of drivers who want nothing to do with what goes under the hood, and they let the car dealership handle everything every step of the way. Other people are gearheads, and they never miss the opportunity to get their hands dirty.

Changing the oil is an old school art that is often considered lost on today’s modern driver. 

Rather than grab a wrench and swap out that oil ourselves, we prefer to leave it to a professional. That being said, regular car maintenance is still a major responsibility. And yes, that includes changing out that oil filter while you’re at it.

The filter, along with the oil, aren’t meant to last forever on any vehicle. This is why our dads are famous for asking if we have recently checked the oil on the car. They want to know if the car has the right amount of oil and in what condition it currently find itself.

Getting an oil change done, though, can be costly. Often, we’re feeling pressed to make it from paycheck to paycheck when the oil light tells us, “hey, it’s time.” Remember, though, the cost of a whole new engine is around $6,000.

The cost depends on variables such as mileage, where you stay, and the make, model, and possibly year, of the car.

Always Change the Oil Filter when Changing the Oil

Changing the oil isn’t optional, neither is changing the engine’s oil filter. How often should you change the oil filter on a car? About every 3000 miles, but there’s more to the story.

Oil is like the lifeblood of a car. It keeps the engine nice and lubricated, and the process relies heavily on the standard oil filter.

The oil filter is important because, as the name states, it filters the oil. There are plenty of bad things floating around in the engine oil. One could find dust, debris, metal bits, and oxidized oil. The buildup is normal.

The oil filter works hard to keep those impurities out of the system. If the oil filter fails, because it hasn’t been changed or because it is defective somehow, then bad oil enters the engine, causing potentially long-term and irreversible damage. 

Three professional tips:

  1. This tainted oil can be problematic as the miles add up on the vehicle. 
  2. To avoid clogs, the oil filter needs to remain in tiptop shape. 
  3. Additionally, synthetic oil comes highly recommended.

A good rule of thumb is changing the oil filter with every oil change. Although we’ve been hinting at 3,000 miles as a standard, with a newer or specialty car, that regular oil change interval could be as high as 6,000 miles. 

To know what’s best for your vehicle, check the owner’s manual or refer to a licensed mechanic.


Fun fact: the car doesn’t stop running because there is an oil filter problem, at least not normally. Instead, the bypass portion of the system steps up to the plate.

This doesn’t come without bad news. The bypass doesn’t have a filer at all. Instead, the contaminated oil flows freely into the engine without hesitation. You’re going to have a lot of problems with the vehicle, most likely, if you get to this point. It would be important to act fast if the oil filter is clogged.

This is the value of routine maintenance. You don’t stay up late at night wondering if your oil filter is clogged. In fact, you probably wouldn’t even see the thought cross your mind! The tune ups, the maintenance, the warranties – they all offer drivers some peace of mind. The car will be okay.

Remember that an oil filter is a must. If somebody tries to convince you that you don’t need to swap it out with the regular oil change, that’s not a true friend.

How Often Should I Change this Oil Filter?

We love this question around here: How often should I change the oil filter?

The fact of the matter is that many car owners never really learned how to take good care of their vehicle. Back in the day, high schools offered car care classes, and a lot of students took them. They learned how to change a tire, change the oil, and identify basic problems.

Now, however, we learn how to call insurance companies and mechanics or how to make a budget for a new car. Times have certainly changed, but not so much in the rule that oil filters matter and should be changed often enough – with every oil change at least.

Our forefathers counted mileage with a little book in their car. They wrote down all the repairs, the date of the repairs, and the mileage at which they occurred. Using these notes, they scheduled (or performed in their own garages) regular maintenance tasks like changing the car engine’s oil.

All today’s modern driver has to do is wait for the car to beep at him while he’s out on the road: “Warning. Oil change due soon.” 

We’re getting to the point the technology will basically book the appointment on our behalf. All we have to do is show up and pay!

Checking the Engine’s Oil with a Dipstick

If you want to kick it old school and check the engine oil yourself, you can do so with the dipstick. 

Check out the car’s owner manual to figure out where that is and how to get it done. If that’s too much of a hassle, sometimes YouTube video tutorials can talk you through the process step by step.

You will keep an eye out for two factors: quantity and quality.

The dipstick will tell you the car’s current oil level (quantity). If it’s too low, fill it up! If it’s too high, call a mechanic; something is terribly wrong.

The color and texture of the oil also tell you a thing or two about how the car is doing (quality). Dark, dingy oil means it’s time for a change, stat. Amber signifies that everything is going along just fine in the oil department.

Changing the Car’s Engine Oil and Filter at 5,000 Miles

The debate amongst mechanics is on: how often should the engine’s oil filter be replaced?

A quick Internet search reveals that there are mixed results on this. The classicists say 3000 miles for the oil change and the filter swap. However, cars today last longer between oil changes thanks to improved designs and higher quality oil mixes.

If you don’t drive the vehicle 5,000 miles within three to six months, then use that timeframe as a guide instead.

Some people are able to push their car an entire year before they need an oil change! However, this is rare. They’re probably diving top of the line vehicles and have a low-milage commute. It’s tempting to hear somebody say they push their car far on this and to do the same, but your car is different.

Yes, spending a lot of time on the road means getting oil changes more often. It’s not a bad price to pay for being a total road warrior.

Changing the Oil Filter on a Stored Car

Stored cars still need to have their oil and oil filter changed. A stored car can have oil in the engine for a maximum of six months.

When the oil change is due, don’t skip the filter just because the car hasn’t been used often. Follow the rule: change the oil filter with your oil change.

Don’t sweat remembering the exact date, either. Leave a note in the windshield with a date for the last oil and oil filter change. If need be, set a calendar notification on your computer or smart phone. When the day comes, you’ll have no excuse to forget!

The Average Cost of Changing the Engine Filter

Drivers need to know the average cost of changing the oil filter when asking how often they should change it.

Of course, the cost depends on many things. For example, if you change the oil and the oil filter yourself, you could save yourself a few bucks. However, you’ll lose a few hours of your time. 

If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t try to tackle this one on your own, especially on newer cars. 

Old vehicles, say maybe before the 2000, were designed so that the driver could do their own maintenance if the tools and space were available. Today, everything is covered up and has a digital sensor attached. One wrong move and your car will be headed straight to the junkyard.

If you go the DIY route, you should budget somewhere between $20 and $70 (for parts). You may have to visit the auto parts store to find what you need, and depending on the make, model, of year, that could be a challenge in and of itself. As a rule, we only recommend DIY to mechanics.

Most drivers rely on professionals to change the car’s oil and oil filter. Some specials offer oil changes for $30! That’s pretty good, but sometimes the service isn’t thorough. To make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, check out the fine print and online customer reviews.

If you’ve got the funds for it, a dealership oil change is a supreme service that keeps the car stay on the road for years to come. They leave no point unturned in their inspections, and all of the tools and staff are excellent. For many drivers, the upgraded service is entirely worth the cost.

Another aspect that impacts the bottom line is the type of oil used in the vehicle. Conventional oil is cheaper, but it’s now reserved for the nation’s oldest vehicles. Full synthetic options offer something cleaner and more efficient (but often more expensive). 

Ask the mechanic which suits your engine best.

There are also specialty oils for certain types of cars, like vehicles that have more than 75,000 miles on them. These vehicles require oil that’s different.

And, of course, when mechanics changes the oil, they have to do the filter, too!

The Perks of Changing the Engine Oil and Filter

How often should I change the oil my oil filter? 

It’s a question we’ve now been asking ourselves for generations! The best part is the answer changes over time. Back in the day, 3000 miles was the rapid response. Today’s mechanics debate the topic, ultimately shrugging it off, “it depends.”

Here are some tips to make sure the oil filter swap is a worthwhile task:

  • Don’t be cheap when taking care of your car. Pay a licensed mechanic to do the work. Invest in premium parts. If you can’t afford this, then call a junkyard, and start over with a newer car that requires less of you.
  • Insist that the oil filter is changed with the oil.
  • Remember to refer to the manufacturer recommendations in determining how often to change the oil and the filter. Use the same guidelines to know which oil to put in the engine and which filter to install.

The best part about changing the oil filter is knowing that the oil flowing through the engine is clean and without impurities. The car just runs better this way!

Additionally, you will get more miles out of the car, increasing its value.

The Final Say on Replacing Oil Filters

You should change your oil filter when you change your oil, somewhere between 3,000 to 6,000 miles, depending on the car. If you don’t drive that much within six months, let that mark be your oil change date.

Just stick to the plan! 

Follow the regular maintenance schedule and don’t second guess it. 

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