Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Often Do Oil Filters Need to Be Replaced?

Oil Filters

Depending on who you ask, you can get a wide variety of answers to the seemingly straightforward question of how often you should replace oil filters in vehicles. Car manufacturers often suggest changing oil filters every other time you have your oil changed. Most parts and oil manufacturers, however, say to replace oil filters with every oil change, which should occur every 3,000 miles or three months (whichever comes first).

Since automobile manufacturers want to present the lowest maintenance costs possible with their products and oil or parts manufacturers make profits on the units they sell, it seems this discrepancy in answers has roots in potential financial gain. So, here are our experienced mechanics’ guidelines for proper oil filter maintenance and replacement:

  • Replace oil filters with every oil change. While we agree with oil companies’ advice to change oil filters when you change the oil, there’s a difference in opinion on how often this should occur. Unless you’re driving an antique vehicle with an almost prehistoric engine system that doesn’t filter debris as efficiently, the 3,000-mile rule is a myth. Every vehicle is a little different, but the average amount of miles to wait is closer to about 7,500. Consult your owner’s manual for the proper oil filter maintenance for your vehicle.

  • If the Service Engine light is on, you may need an oil filter replacement ahead of schedule. While a lot of things can trigger the Service Engine light to come on, it’s a good idea to rule out the simpler potential causes before plunking a lot of money down for diagnostics and repairs. When that light is illuminated, it indicates the engine system isn’t working as well as it should, which can also be accompanied by a lot more grime and debris being in circulation. This can clog your oil filter more quickly than usual.

  • If you regularly drive in more severe conditions, such as in stop-and-go traffic, towing heavy loads, or in extreme temperatures, you may need to replace your oil and oil filter more often. Such conditions cause your engine’s system to work harder, which – in turn – requires more frequent maintenance of its components, including the oil filter.

The oil filter is an important part of your engine system’s operation. It removes grit and grime from your oil, which prevents such contaminants from entering the engine itself when oil circulates and lubricates its parts. Oil filters are relatively inexpensive, which is why most people recommend oil filter replacement with every oil change as a preventative measure.

If there is any doubt as to how often you should change oil filters, feel free to call one of our mechanics for a consultation. He or she will review the needs of your particular vehicle, taking into account any other circumstances that may necessitate more frequent replacement, and make recommendations for optimal maintenance.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222 code means The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable voltage to be produced from the throttle position...
How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...

Related questions

Q: When should I change the engine oil? What is the best oil type for winter and summer?

The engine oil used for summer is typically thicker. Thinner oil in the winter allows it to warm up quicker and lubricate sooner. Thicker oil will take longer to warm up and perform its duties. Your vehicle may only want...

Q: Was a loud tapping noise while accelerating, and then put in new alternator and got oil change, woke up this morning and want st

You need to look at the oil pressure sending unit just above the oil filter to see if it got damaged when changing the oil filter. If it is the sending unit, then replace it since the fuel pressure will...

Q: Smoke coming from engine

Hello. There are two different types of fluid that would cause smoke to come out from the front of your car. If oil is leaking down from the valve cover gasket or oil filter, and onto the exhaust, this will...