Keeping Contaminants Contained Every mechanical component of today's cars, trucks and SUVs has one common enemy: dirt. Whether produced internally by the combustion process, or brought in from outside, dirt is the number one cause of engine breakdown. Effective filtration plays a key role in preventing unnecessary wear and premature failure. Modem filters are more effective than ever when it comes to preventing damage to the engine, fuel system and automatic transmission. However, they are only effective when replaced on a regular basis.
Although they are the most often replaced part on a vehicle, there are times when some oil filters can be a pain to replace. Removing a spin on oil filter when changing oil is supposed to be an easy job: just unscrew the old filter, catch the oil that dribbles out and screw on and hand tighten a new filter. As many of you know, what normally should take no more than 30 seconds or so often takes much, much longer because of the filter's location.
A lot of filters are mounted where they're extremely difficult to reach even when the vehicle is up on a lift. On many applications, filter accessibility is a joke because the oil filter is mounted on the wrong side of the engine hidden above or behind a cross member, steering rack, FWD half shaft, brackets, hoses, motor mounts, engine accessories, exhaust pipes and anything else some engineer could hang in the way to make assembly easier at the factory. It makes you wonder if they forgot that the filter is supposed to be replaced periodically for preventative maintenance.
To make matters worse, the filter may refuse to turn when you put your wrench on it. If the last mechanic who changed the filter screwed it on like a lug nut, you're going to have a problem taking it off, which is why filter manufacturers recommend that you "hand tighten only." All that's usually needed is about 3/4 to one full turn after the filter gasket makes contact with the adapter or filter mount on the engine. The filter gasket also should be lightly coated with a little oil to provide lubrication. Installing a filter with a dry gasket can make it much harder to remove next time.
Oil filters differ from one another in several ways. For example, one difference is flow resistance or the drop in oil pressure that occurs across the filter. Less is better as long as it doesn't sacrifice too much efficiency. Resistance increases over time as accumulated dirt and debris build up, so the filter needs to be changed periodically.
Mercedes Benz Oil Filters
On the above photo at left is a poor quality oil filter, which got sucked to cone shape due to poor material choice and manufacturing. At right there is your original manufacturer of the proper oil filter, which is made by Mann & Hummel in Germany. You can see the difference.
Note: The oil filter does not remove moisture, acids or sludge, which is why oil must be changed at the same time the filter is changed. There is little sense in running old, dirty oil through a fresh filter.
Capacity, the amount of contamination a filter can bold before it clogs, also differs from filter to filter. Some filters can hold more dirt than others, but efficiency, the measure of the filter's ability to trap contaminants, generally-works against capacity.
The more dirt filtered out in one pass, the higher the filter efficiency, however, it also means, the filter will clog up faster. Therefore the best thing to do it tio follow your cars user's guide recommendation, even for oil filter replacement.