Your vehicle is a finely tuned machine. At least, it starts that way. When a vehicle drives off of the lot, it’s generally considered to be in pristine condition. However, for every mile that it travels down the road, it gathers debris.  So the real question is, what does oil filter do?

You might consider a white cotton ball rolling down the street and what it would look like after a few miles. If you said filthy, you’d be right. If you’ve ever wondered how many air filters are in a car, the answer is, generally, two. There is an engine oil air filter and a cabin air filter.

Your oil filter is just one of several filters for car that remove contaminants and, effectively, allow your vehicle to breathe. It keeps things clean, if not pristine. Ignoring your oil filter as those miles add up will lead to decreased performance and could lead to much worse. There are three key symptoms to look for when trying to determine if the oil filter is clogged.

Poor Performance

A clean oil filter ensures purity, which is what your vehicle needs. It’s like when you’re told that food is the fuel that helps your body run efficiently and keep you healthy. Oil, gasoline and other fluids do the same for your vehicle.

The oil filter removes contaminants that might’ve seeped into the oil before it sends that oil circulating through the engine, where it lubricates parts and collects heat. When the filter isn’t releasing the proper amount of oil into the engine, the vehicle will sputter. It won’t accelerate as well as it normally would and you’ll feel this lag.

Low Oil Pressure

A clogged filter will result in low oil pressure, which increases the amount of friction that occurs between the parts of the engine, resulting in a steep decline of engine performance. To keep driving when your car is experiencing low oil pressure will ultimately damage the engine. Experts say that you’ve got about two weeks or 500 miles after the oil light comes on before you risk serious harm to the engine.

Dirty Exhaust

A clogged oil filter will lead to noticeable problems in the exhaust system. The exhaust that’s coming from your vehicle might be black or dirty. When this occurs, you will smell the oil burning as it passes into the tailpipe. Both are signs that the oil is not going to the engine, where it belongs, but, rather, is being re-routed to the exhaust channel, where it doesn’t belong. A dirty, smelly exhaust is your vehicle telling you to change the oil filter quickly.

Keep Those Oil Filters Clean

A clogged oil filter negatively impacts your vehicle and the longer it remains clogged, the worse the situation becomes. Remember that your vehicle will give you all sorts of signs throughout its life, and you’re better served when you can recognize the signs of bad oil filters. Visit an online auto parts store today, or walk on into your local store to pick up a new oil filter today and keep your vehicle running smoothly tomorrow.