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Oil Filter, Caps & Related

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Oil Filter, Caps & Related

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What are the Oil Filter, and Caps and Where are They Located?

The oil filter helps keep the oil that circulates through your engine clean.  Many cars use an all-in-one filter assembly that simply twists into place underneath the engine. Some use paper cartridge filters. These filters go into a permanent housing that is sealed off by a cap. The cap is usually made of plastic, but might be made of aluminum in some cases. The cap helps to keep the oil filter - and the oil - in place. It twists off to allow you to change the filter during an oil change. The oil filter cap will have a bolt-head-like fitting where a socket can be attached to loosen or tighten it. 

The oil filler cap seals off the valve cover, where you can add oil for the engine. This palm-sized cap is usually labeled with the words "engine oil" or with a picture of an old-timey oil can. You twist off this cap to change or fill your oil. An oil filler cap also prevents contaminants, such as dirt, debris, fluids, etc., from getting into the engine (when in place of course). Running your vehicle without one of these covers could allow these types of contaminants into the engine which may cause some damage to things. The cap is most often made of plastic, but, in some cases is made of aluminum. Some caps have a ratcheting mechanism inside to prevent you from over-tightening the cap. 

How do I Know if my Oil Filter or Caps Need to be Replaced?

Your oil filter needs to be replaced periodically so that it doesn't get clogged up.  A cleaner filter will naturally do a better job at filtering contaminants out of your oil.  The lifespan of your oil filter can vary from one filter, and one car to another.  We recommend at least checking your filter whenever you change your oil. 

You might find that you have to replace your oil filter cap or oil filler cap at some point if it becomes damaged or starts leaking. 

Oil filter caps can develop leaks. They can get cracked over time, through exposure to road debris, or through poor maintenance practices. Over-tightening an oil filter housing cap can result in cracks, or can break off the socket mounting point. This will of course lead to leaks. The cap also has an O-ring sealing it to the housing and that can wear out or tear over time as well. Loss of oil can contribute to engine overheating and, if it's allowed to go on too long, engine seizing. If you suspect your oil filter cap is leaking, check visually for oil under the filter, or cracks in the cap. 

Over-tightening an oil filter cap can also result in the cap becoming stuck and hard to remove. When you are tightening your filter cap, tighten it to the manufacturer's recommended torque, no more, no less. This torque rating is usually stamped right onto the cap. If it's not, check your owner's manual. 

Oil filler caps, like oil filter caps, can develop leaks or they can become stuck. The cap can become loose or cracked and start to leak oil. The cap has a gasket to keep it sealed to the valve cover. This gasket can also wear out and start to leak. Since there are moving, oil-coated parts underneath the cap, a leaking cap can "spit" droplets of oil all over the engine bay. If you notice sprayed oil under your hood, then you might have a bad oil filler cap. The droplets of oil might also burn up if they land on hot engine parts. If you can smell smoke coming from the engine bay, then you probably have an oil leak. Leaks need to be taken care of quickly, because a lack of oil can contribute to overheating, or if it gets too far gone, engine seizing. 

The cap might also become stuck or hard to remove. Dirt may mix with oil to form sludge that sticks the cap to the valve cover. Cleaning the cap with a cloth whenever you change the oil helps to prevent this. If the cap ratchets, the ratchet mechanism may break down. Then, you can turn the top part of the cap without the part threaded into the valve cover ever loosening. You won't be able to get the cap off, which will make oil changes difficult. If you have a narrow-tipped funnel, you might be able to add oil through your dipstick tube. Of course, you'll save yourself trouble down the line if you just replace the fill cap. 

Can I Replace an Oil Filter or Oil Cap Myself?

Replacing an oil filter or the oil filter cap is quite easy. Normally you would take it off and put it back on as part of a standard oil change. This is also when you are most likely to notice (or perhaps even cause) an oil filter problem. You'll just have to twist off the cap, replace the oil filter if this is part of an oil change, and twist on the new cap. If the cap is stuck on, then this might be easier said than done. A strap wrench, sometimes known as an oil filter wrench, can be a big help in removing a stuck oil filter cap. If that doesn't work, you may have to remove the entire oil filter housing from the engine and then remove the cap on a bench. 

Note that some oil is going to spill out when you take the cap off. Be sure to have a drain pan ready. It would be wise to drain the oil, from the oil pan, beforehand. This will necessitate refilling the oil, so you'll probably end up doing a complete oil change to replace this part. 

Replacing an oil cap is one of the easiest things you can do for your engine. You just have to twist the cap off, and twist the new one on, just like you would do to change the oil. What if the cap is stuck, though? A cloth rag can help you get a better grip on a stuck cap. You might also use a wrench or pliers to grab the cap. You do risk breaking the cap if you're too forceful, so be cautious. If you have a stuck ratcheting cap, you can pry the top off with a flat blade screwdriver, and grab hold of the lower portion with pliers to twist it out. 

Need an Oil Filter, Filter Cap or Oil Filler Cap Replacement?

An oil leak is one of the most, if not the most, common automobile problems there is. Automobiles need oil to operate properly as a loss of oil can contribute to the engine overheating. If it is allowed to continue for a long period of time, engine seizing will also result. Therefore it's important to identify the cause of the leak quickly. A damaged oil filler or oil filter cap are two possible reasons why you might be experiencing an oil leak. If you determine that one of these is the cause, you will want to replace the cover as soon as possible to prevent any issues. Luckily, here at 1A Auto, we carry a large selection of aftermarket oil filler caps and oil filter housing caps for many makes and models, and at great prices.

We also make shopping for a replacement oil filter housing cap, as well as engine oil filler caps, for your car, truck, SUV, or van easy - we're here to help you select the right parts for your vehicle! Call our customer service toll free at 888-844-3393 if you have any questions about our aftermarket oil filter and oil fill caps, warranty, compatibility or to purchase, or you can buy online.

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