As your engine runs, dirt gets into the oil. Oil sludge can also start to build up. Fortunately, motor oil contains detergents that clean the engine and gather up contaminates. The oil circulates through the oil filter where clumps of dirt and sludge are captured. An oil filter can eventually get clogged up – so much so that oil cannot flow freely through the filter material. Of course, you don’t want to starve your engine of oil, so a valve opens in the oil filter allowing oil to bypass the filter material. This keeps your engine lubricated, but dirty oil is circulating through the system.
Back in the day of 3-month, 3,000-mile oil changes, this was only a problem if you forgot to change your oil on schedule. Modern vehicles, however, typically have much longer recommended oil change intervals. 5,000, 10,000, and even 15,000-mile intervals are common. Of course, you need to use the manufacturer recommended type and grade of oil – but you also need to use a higher capacity oil filter.
A standard capacity oil filter could go into bypass mode many months and several thousands of miles before the recommended oil change interval. Your engine would not be fully protected.
Many motorists are choosing to upgrade to synthetic oil for better protection and to increase their oil change interval. This is a great idea. But also remember you need an oil filter that has a higher capacity to match.
Talk with your Service Advisor about your oil change intervals and how you use your vehicle. He will help you choose the right oil for your needs and will make sure that your new oil filter is compatible with the performance of your oil.