Ask a mechanic when the best time to change a vehicle's oil filter is and the answer will vary based on:

  • The make and model of the car
  • The vehicle's age
  • The driving conditions the car is exposed to

The best time to change an oil filter depends on several factors, but following certain guidelines ensures it's replaced at proper intervals, benefitting your engine and vehicle's overall health.

In the following post, Richmond Ford West provides a list of best practices for servicing and replacing oil filters to assist Ashland, Short Pump, and Glen Allen drivers with proper vehicle maintenance.

We also explain what oil filters do for your engine, signs of a clogged filter, and why it's important to replace oil filters regularly. 

What's an Oil Filter?

An oil filter is a crucial component to your engine's operating system, and like motor oil, it must be changed at regular intervals to ensure your vehicle runs properly.

Motor oil accumulates grit and grime while circulating through an engine, and oil filters remove this dirt to ensure an engine receives the lubrication it needs. These contaminants clog the filter if it isn't replaced, which creates dirty, corrosive motor oil that damages an engine's moving parts if left untreated.

When Should I Change My Oil Filter?

A clogged oil filter could affect your engine's performance, efficiency, and lifespan. If an oil filter goes unchanged for too long, your vehicle may demonstrate the following five symptoms:

  • Metallic sounds coming from your engine
  • Black, dirty exhaust
  • Car smells like burning oil
  • Sputtering
  • Drop in oil pressure

Not sure when it's time to change your oil filter? You can avoid these symptoms and keep your engine running smoothly by following the guidelines for maintaining and replacing oil filters below.

1. Get a new oil filter with every oil change.

Most vehicles require an oil change every three to six months. Some manufacturers recommend replacing the filter with every other oil change, and doing so with each appointment prevents it from clogging prematurely.

2. If the Check Engine light appears on your dashboard, your oil filter may need to be replaced.

Every vehicle is equipped with a set of dashboard lights that communicate important information about its performance to the driver, including features in use and potential mechanical malfunctions. Many issues could trigger the Check Engine light, some of which are more serious than others. 

Before scheduling expensive engine diagnostics, check your oil filter. It may be more clogged than usual, and changing it might be all your engine needs.

3. Change your oil filter frequently if you drive in harsh conditions.

Stop-and-go traffic patterns, extreme temperatures, and heavy-duty towing force your engine to work harder, which take a toll on your oil filter. If you drive in these conditions on a regular basis, your oil filter will require more regular maintenance. 

Change Your Oil Filter at Richmond Ford West

Regularly changing your motor oil and oil filter keeps your vehicle running properly for as long as possible. If you live near Ashland, Glen Allen, or Short Pump and need to change your oil filter, schedule a service appointment at Richmond Ford West.


Richmond Ford West

10751 West Broad Street
Directions Glen Allen, VA 23060

  • Sales: (804) 474-0571
  • Service: (804) 474-0573
  • Parts: 804-273-1581


  • Monday 7am-6pm
  • Tuesday 7am-6pm
  • Wednesday 7am-6pm
  • Thursday 7am-6pm
  • Friday 7am-6pm
  • Saturday 7:30am-5pm
  • Sunday Closed

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