If your engine is experiencing performance issues, there may be a concern with your engine’s oil filter. The oil filter is a critical engine component that keeps your oil clean from external pollutants.  

Dirt and debris accumulate in the oil filter over time, leading to a clogged oil filter. This clogged oil filter can cause unwanted particles to enter in your oil. External contaminants can also enter your oil if you use the incorrect size oil filter. 

In this post, we will look at some of the symptoms that you are using a clogged or a bad oil filter. 

What happens if I put the Bad oil filter? 

Make sure you get the correct oil filter for your vehicle. The seals will not close properly if your oil filter is the wrong size.  

This can result in a variety of problems in your engine, including an oil leak and a drop in oil pressure. The incorrect oil filter will result in more dirt and debris in the engine oil over time. However, there’s nothing wrong with using an expired oil filter kept in storage, as oil filters don’t have a particular expiry date.

Let’s look at some of the symptoms of a wrong oil filter. 

Symptoms of a Bad Oil Filter 

Decrease in engine performance  

If you’re having problems with your engine’s performance, it cannot be easy to pinpoint the root cause. Check your oil filter because this could be a sign of a faulty oil filter. A faulty oil filter is to blame for various problems in your vehicle. 

The engine may make a metallic rattling sound, leading to poor fuel economy. This is due to blocked oil filters causing your engine parts to work harder, resulting in increased oil consumption. Vibrations in your car might be caused by friction in metal parts due to clogged oil filters. 

Burning oil 

If you smell burning oil coming from your engine or vents, it could mean that your oil filter is damaged. Another sign of a faulty oil filter is gray or blue smoke from the engine exhaust. Typically, smoke from your engine exhaust signals that oil is being burned in your engine. 

It has been observed that if the oil filter is of the incorrect size or is not properly placed, oil might leak into other engine components, resulting in oil burn due to heat. 

Overheated engine 

Engine overheating is another symptom of a clogged oil filter. If the oil filter becomes blocked, more dirt and debris will enter the engine oil. This will cause the oil flow in the engine to slow down. As a result, the engine components will receive less oil for lubrication, resulting in increased friction. 

Your engine is most likely overheated. If you notice that your engine hood is too hot, steam is flowing out of the engine, or the temperature is too high, check the engine dashboard. If your engine is overheating, ensure your oil filter is in good working order. 

Low oil pressure 

A clogged oil filter can result in a decrease in oil pressure. External pollutants mix with the engine oil when the oil filter is old and hasn’t been cleaned in a long time. This can cause oil flow to be restricted and variable pressure over the filter system and bypass valve. This led to a decrease in oil pressure. 

If you observe a low oil pressure warning light on your dashboard, it could mean that your oil filter is damaged. 

How to Choose the Right Oil Filter for Your Car?

Choosing the appropriate oil filter is essential for the longevity and performance of your engine. Keep the following considerations in mind. 

  1. Make sure the oil filter is of the correct size; visit a professional to determine the right one for your vehicle. Ensure you don’t overtighten the oil filter in your car when installing it.
  2. Examine the oil filter’s dirt-holding capacity. The dirt retention capacity of an off-road vehicle oil filter differs from that of a standard car. 
  3. The oil filter should be built to function with your engine’s oil pressure flow. In addition, the design and manufacture should be appropriate for your engine type. 

FAQ’s on Bad Oil Filter Symptoms

If your oil filter is clogged, dirt and debris will accumulate in your engine oil, leading to friction in engine parts.

As a result of the increased resistance in engine parts, the engine's heat and oil requirements may increase. This can cause an increase in engine oil pressure.

No, you should always seek your vehicle's correct oil filter size. This is because external impurities will not be stopped using a larger oil filter.

Any other oil filter that may fit in your engine may have a different flow rate or bypass valve, causing the oil filter to operate poorly with your engine.


If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, get your oil filter changed as soon as possible. It is suggested that you change your oil filter every time you change your oil.  

This is because the oil filter gets damaged over time and can cause malfunction.  You should also be cautious of the correct size of your oil filter. If your oil filter is too old or even of the wrong size, replace it with a new one that is the correct size. 

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