As vehicle manufacturers look to improve the impact of vehicles and their parts on the environment, cartridge oil filters are becoming more common. For the professional installer, replacing a cartridge oil filter isn’t a difficult job, but there is slightly more risk when compared with the more common spin-on oil filter. Improper installation can lead to leaks and subsequently, engine damage. Vehicle owners understand that changing their engine oil and filter are critical to preserving the life of their vehicle, and many rely on you for this routine service.
You can minimize risk and boost customer satisfaction, by ensuring that all of your installers follow these best practices for cartridge oil filter installations.
Lubricate the O-ring Well
After you’ve drained the vehicle of the oil, replaced the plug and removed the old cartridge filter, it’s time to prepare the new filter for installation. It’s important to work in a well-lit area so that you can clearly see the filter and housing cap. Remove the O-ring from the box and apply a liberal coat of clean oil. Repeat this step if more than one O-ring is required to complete the installation.
Install The O-ring in The Correct Groove
Once you’ve lubricated the O-ring(s), it’s time to install on the housing cap. This is the most critical step of the process, and also where most mistakes are made! The design of some caps makes it easy to misplace the O-ring. Be sure to place the O-ring in the correct groove on the housing cap, as specified by the manufacturer. Examine the O-ring installation by carefully inspecting the cap while rotating it 360 degrees to ensure the new O-ring is placed in the appropriate groove all the way around. When you’ve confirmed that it is installed correctly, you can place the filter into the cap and then insert the cap into the housing.
Torque to Manufacturer’s Specifications
Next, hand tighten the cap — be very careful not to cross-thread it. Once tightened by hand, use a torque wrench to tighten the cap to manufacturer specifications. You can usually find this specification in your vehicle owner’s manual, or printed on the housing cap. Double-check to make sure your oil pan bolt is installed and fill the engine with the manufacturer recommended type and amount of oil. Then, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for completing the oil change.
Check for Leaks Under Pressure
Finally, start the vehicle and check to ensure that there are no leaks around the housing cap and oil pan drain plug. You need to check for leaks with the engine under pressure, so make sure it’s running for at least 45 seconds while you perform the inspection.
Following these best practices will ensure successful cartridge oil filter installation while greatly reducing the risk of mistakes and keep your customers happy. If you’re unsure about anything we’ve discussed here, please take a look at the installation demonstration video we created to assist professional installers.