How an oil filter works

Oil filters are very crucial to any vehicle as they assist the engine in a number of ways. First, it bridges the gap between the cylinder walls and the piston ring, transfers heat therefore cooling the engine, and most importantly, filters out impurities. Contaminants can be both organic and inorganic and often get sucked into the engine while it is running. Luckily, oil filters prevents the engine oil from saturating from these combustion byproducts.

The best oil filter contains several essential parts that allows it to protect the engine system. Knowing the functions of these parts will help you get a clear understanding of how this device works. These parts include;

  • Tapping gasket

Engine oil gets in and out of the oil filter from here. It consist of a hole at center that is surrounded by small holes. Engine oil goes in through the smaller holes that are at the edge of the tapping gasket and leaves through the hole at the center.

  • Anti-drain back valve

This one looks like a flap and comes as a valve that prevents engine oil from leaking into the oil filter when the vehicle is not in motion.

  • Filter membrane

This is where the actual filtration takes place. This medium is made of microscopic synthetic and cellulose fibers that actually trap the impurities in the oil before it reaches the engine. In an attempt to increase its efficiency, it is pleated.

  • Center steel tubes

This is where the refined oil passes back to the engine.

  • Relief valve

In most cases when the temperatures are low, engine oil gets very dense and thick and cannot therefore pass through the filter membrane. This valve permits some small amount of unrefined oil to get to the engine in order to fulfill the need of lubrication. Once the engine starts, it produces heat which warms up the oil making it less dense. This means it can pass through the filter as it is supposed to.

  • End discs

These are situated on both sides of the filter membrane and help keep the unrefined oil from getting to the steel tube and reaching the engine.

How an oil filter works

In summary, here’s how an oil filter works. An oil filter is simply a metal can on the outside. It is held tightly against the surface of the engine by a sealing gasket. Inside the sealing gasket is a tapping plate that is perforated with many small holes. At the middle of this gasket lies a central hole which mates with the filter on the engine. A filter membrane is found inside the can that is usually made of cellulose fibers. The engine’s pump takes the oil to the filter, where it gets into the perforations of the tapping gasket. The unfiltered oil then passes through the filter membrane and exits through the central hole after which it re-enters the engine as clean oil.

Wrap up

Having an oil filter can save you a great deal of money and knowing how it works can help you ensure that the filter is working efficiently and effectively. In recent times, engines can run up to 10,000 miles without needing an oil change. Oil filters are not only designed to trap impurities but also keep the refined and unrefined oil in their separate and proper sections. Knowing the features found in a filter and what they do can help you decide which filter is best fitted for your vehicle.

Finally, remember to check out this detailed guide on the best oil filter for synthetic oil on Autoptical.

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