The do's and don'ts of oil filter maintenance

Oil filter maintenance do’s and don’ts

After talking with our cast of oil filter experts, including: Russ Bretell, training and technical sales manager for Cummins Filtration; John Gaither, director of heavy-duty design engineering for Luber-finer; Edward Covington, vice president of global quality for Wix Filters; and Veli Kalayci, manager of engine liquid products for Donaldson, we compiled the biggest “do’s and don’ts” in terms of oil maintenance to ensure you’re keeping your oil and filter effective for proper drain intervals.


  • Chose appropriate oil specification and rating, viscosity and base oil type;
  • Know the condition of a vehicle before considering extending the interval;
  • Use premium filtration products to ensures the correct balance of efficiency for small contaminant removal, capacity to hold the contaminant for the desired service interval and cold flow ability to ensure the oil continually passes through the filter.
  • Conduct regular fluid analysis;
  • Determine whether the length of the previous interval was too long or too short;
  • Learn to clean the port and catch the sample after a few ounces of oil has passed through;
  • Keep filter inventory properly rotated—first-in, first-out from inventory;
  • Always ensure the filter is installed according to the filter installation instructions for the specific application; and
  • Stay current with filter part number recommendations through the electronic catalog data.


  • Extend drains without doing an oil analysis;
  • Remove a filter from the box or protective wrap until you are ready for installation;
  • Use a filter not cataloged for the specific application;
  • Assume all oils are correct for all engines; some new oils may not be backward compatible; and
  • Neglect other maintenance just because the engine oil interval has increased.

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