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Oil and fuel filters: all you need to know

6th September 2023

Most motorist are aware their vehicle has oil and fuel filters, though not everyone knows what they are and what they do. Our guide helps you distinguish between the two, helping you to understand all there is.  

What is an oil filter?

An oil filter is a device that is part of your vehicle's engine, its job is to filter the oil. This is crucial to the smooth running of your engine. This includes removing impurities or contaminants from your engine oil which can cause vital parts of your car to wear out faster.  

How do oil filters work?  

When hard substances such as specks of dirt or gravel get into the vehicle’s oil stream, the oil filter filters through it. This is done by locking in particles, so that the quality of oil is better than the oil entering the filter to reduce any impurities and improve engine life. This also helps to maintain efficiency and performance.  

What is a fuel filter? 

A fuel filter is a critical part of your vehicle as it protects your engine from impurities and debris that can cause damage, which can cause unnecessary wear and tear on engine components. A fuel filter may also be known as a petrol filter or diesel filter, depending on whether your vehicle is petrol or diesel. 

How do fuel filters work?

Fuel filters work by screening out rust and dirt particles from the fuel, stopping them from entering the engine and causing damage. Fuel filters differ, depending on whether your vehicle is petrol or diesel. 

A petrol filter is more refined and contains less particle contaminants overall, though the petrol filter helps to catch anything that could mix into the fuel from the tank when refilling.  

A diesel filter is less refined and tends to have more contaminants. Bacteria, dirt and water needs to be filtered out before any diesel can be burned efficiently. 

When should oil and fuel filters be replaced?

Depending on the make and model of your car, the service intervals will differ. That’s why we recommend looking at your vehicle's service schedule to be sure.   

Though most petrol filters will require changing every 30,000 to 40,000 miles, and most diesel filters will require replacing every 10,000 to 25,000 miles. Oil filters will generally need to be changed every 3 to 6 months.  


If you think your vehicle is due an oil change, book in for a car service at your local Merityre branch to check your fuel and oil filters. Alternatively, contact our specialist team today.