Many times when your vehicle is taken in for a repair or when you have it in for an oil change it would make sense to have all of your filters inspected for replacement. There are several different kinds of filters on cars, with each serving a different function. Here is an overview of what they do to protect your car and why they need to be replaced on a regular basis to help keep your vehicle running properly.
Oil filter - This automatically gets replaced whenever you come in for an oil change. The oil filter keeps dirt particles from circulating through your engine and keeps them from settling in your oil pan, which is at the bottom of the engine. If dirt particles are allowed to circulate in your engine, they would cause premature wear on the moving parts in your engine. Why? Because the oil in that pan is pumped throughout the engine to lubricate, clean and cool the moving parts. By getting your oil changed on a regular basis, you will assure yourself that you won’t have any oil filter issues.
Air filter - The simplest explanation of the purpose of an engine air filter is that there are a lot of impurities in the air that can get into the engine if not filtered out (think: tiny specks of dirt, dust, sand, pollen and trash). We are entering pollen season and if you consider every time you drive on a highway or any road, all the gravel and dust and dirt that sprays into the air as your car moves forward, you can see how you wouldn’t want any of that in your engine. The air filter protects your car’s motor from all of that and keeps the engine clean. You don’t need to change it as often as you do your oil, but once a year is typically a good idea.
Fuel filter - For gas engines, the fuel filter is there to keep any impurities that might be in the actual fuel at the service station pump, from getting into your fuel tank. What can happen is that if the fuel filter gets clogged enough, less fuel will reach the engine. In this case, you could find yourself in a bind, where you suddenly don’t have enough or any fuel getting to the engine, and the car simply won’t start or stay started. In addition, it may work out where the fuel pump must work harder, due to the fuel filter being clogged, which can lead to the a shorter lifespan of your fuel pump.
For newer vehicles the manufactures are using the term lifetime fuel filter mainly to reduce the maintenance costs of owning a vehicle. These lifetime fuel filters, in most cases are in the fuel tank and are generally unserviceable and should only be replaced if you have an issue. For many cars, you need to change them every 30,000 miles. Whatever the case, if it’s recommended to you to change the fuel filter, you probably should, or at least not put it off for too long. Although it may vary based on the specific car, generally replacing the fuel filter isn’t overly expensive.
But if it’s recommended that you replace it, you should, so that a clogged fuel filter doesn’t lead to much more expensive problems down the road.
Transmission filter - Most automatic transmissions have a filter that removes contaminants from your transmission fluid. Every automatic transmission pumps high pressure fluid throughout the unit to allow control valves to move fluid flow to different gears which is the shifting process. There are many close tolerances in every transmission where contamination can have a negative effect on the life of the transmission. Being a relatively sealed unit, you are probably wondering how contamination gets into the transmission.
Automatic transmissions use clutch plates to allow for the engagement and disengagement of the gears. These clutch plates produce some level of contamination that needs to be removed. Also, because of the meshing of some of the metal internal components of the transmission some small metal particles are also created. Keeping the transmission fluid clean is essential to maximizing the life of your transmission. Routine maintenance is required on all automatic transmissions. Manufactures vary on the service interval, but a general rule on changing the automatic transmission fluid and filter is every 30,000 – 60,000 miles. Some transmissions are sealed and cannot be serviced. Manual transmissions require fluid change every 15,000 – 30,000 miles. The reason behind changing the transmission fluid is the same reason you change your engine oil. Keeping your transmission fluid changed keeps the lubricating and cooling properties up to manufactures specifications. Keeping the transmission cool is very important because heat is the number one cause for premature transmission failure. So, keep up with the maintenance of your transmission and it will give you many years of problem free service.
Cabin air filter - The good news with regards to your Cabin air filter is, if it’s recommended that you replace it, and you don’t change it immediately, the car will run just fine.
But that means you need to replace it sooner or later. The cabin air filter takes the dust particles and pollen and out of the air that is pumped into your cars ventilation system, making the air you breathe in your car cleaner. A clean filter also allows your air-conditioning to stay cleaner and work more efficiently, another good reason to replace it. Air-conditioning evaporators in the cabin of your car can get contaminated with dirt and pollen from a poorly maintained Cabin air filter. You’ll notice this in the summer when you start your car and get the sour smell from the air vents. It’s generally recommended to change it once a year. Assuming you have one, it’s probably behind your glove compartment and is typically an inexpensive fix. It can be very important for those who have allergies.
If it has been some time since you have replaced any of the filters for your car or notice any performance issues, be sure to visit your local Milex Complete Auto Care to have one of our certified technicians
check your vehicle.