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Can You Change Oil Filter Without Changing Oil?: Things You Must Know

Oil changing is not a hard job to do. A person who knows the technique can easily do the job in a short time. But you need to know the way to change the oil. There are some crucial things to study while changing engine oil. An oil filter is one of them. Mostly people use to change the oil filter while changing the oil. 

But what if you need to change the oil filter before changing the oil? Can you change oil filter without changing oil? The answer is affirmative. You can change the filter without changing the engine oil. In the article, you can get a clear idea about this.

How to change the oil filter

What is an oil filter? 

An oil filter is a small filter that helps remove contaminants from the car’s engine oil. We all know the importance of clean engine oil. After a time, engine oil starts to get filthy. It starts to have millions of small particles in the oil. The work of an oil filter is to help clean the filthy materials from the oil. 

Where is the oil filter located?

The location of the oil filter may vary from car to car. Mostly it is attached to the engine block. Look right, left, or down parts of the engine. Try to find black, blue, orange, or white metal cylindrical-shaped parts. That is the engine oil filter.

How do oil filters work?

The working method of an oil filter is not so difficult. The oil filter has a metal Can on the outside that comes with a gasket to keep it tightly sealed against the engine’s contact surface. Some synthetic fiber filters inside the Can and these fibers run the filtration process. 

The oil pump of the engine directly moves oil into the filter. The dirty oil is passed through the filter media. After refining, it backs through the central hole and re-enters the engine. This is how an oil filter works. 

How much oil does an oil filter hold?

It depends on the size of the filter. The amount isn’t that much. Again, most filters hold around half a quart of oil. The extensive filters can keep around one quart. It can support more if it’s for a truck or heavy engine.

Can you change oil filter without changing oil?

Yes, you can replace oil filter without draining engine oil. In ordinary times, people use to change oil filters while changing the oil. But sometimes oil filter needs to be changed before changing the oil. 

Changing the oil filter can be a solution for this. It won’t do any harm to your engine. So, don’t be afraid to change oil filter without changing the engine oil.

When do I need to change the oil filter?

Mostly, you should change the engine oil after passing two oil cycles. But if you find any problem, you can change it before the cycle ends. If your car runs 3,000-mile cycles, 6,000 miles can be the right time to change the oil filter. 

You can change oil without a filter after 3,000 miles cycle. But if you can change the oil filter after every oil change, that will be more helpful and healthy for your car.

What happens if you don’t change the oil filter?

No indicator, light, or device shows the condition of the oil filter. The oil filter is an eternally sealed metal part, so checking it or performing any visual checkup is impossible. You cannot even notice what’s going on in the oil filter. Even you cannot detect the impact of a clogged oil filter. But a dirty oil filter can do a lot of harm to your engine. 

Over time, the oil filter collects more and more carbon dust and contaminated particles. After getting clogged by these particles, the oil filter stops working. Some problems may occur when you don’t perform any filter change. Such as,

Loss of oil pressure: Old oil filter may cause loss of oil pressure, leading to less lubrication and heating of the engine.

Internal damage: Less lubrication means more friction between the engine parts. Besides, contaminated particles help to decay parts also. That causes internal engine damage.

Lack of lubrication: Less oil pressure causes a lack of lubrication. Proper lubrication is fundamental to running the engine properly. So, it will damage your engine.

How to change the oil filter?

Locate where the oil filter is. The location of the oil filter may vary from the car. Find a cylinder-shaped metal can attached to the engine side. After locating the oil filter, loosen the oil cap. That can help to do the job smoothly. 

Take a perfect size wrench, or you can unscrew the oil filter with your bare hand also. Take a new oil filter. Lubricate the gasket with fresh motor oil. Dip your finger in motor oil and rub it on the base of the new oil filter. It is for ensuring no leakage.

Start screwing the oil filter. After screwing some time, you can feel the oil filter is started to attach to the engine block. Keep a gentle pressure while screwing. When you think that it’s connected, tighten the filter. Your oil filter has changed now. 

How to remove an oil filter without a tool?

Tools make your job easier. But it is not impossible to change the oil filter without a tool. To remove the oil filter, you can use a rugged grip, sandpaper, hammer, screwdriver, etc. Hold the oil filter tightly. 

If you can use sandpaper, you can have a proper grip. Turn the oil filter on against the locking position. After giving some pressure, the oil filter will start to loosen.

Things to consider:

Do not try to change the filter immediately after driving the car. Give some time to rest the oil in the oil pan. After cooling down, you can change the engine oil. Do not make any hard strokes with any tool. That parts can be sensitive. A hard stroke can damage engine parts. Try to be gentle while changing the oil filter.


Changing the engine oil filter is not a hard job if you know the process. If you miss changing the oil filter while changing the oil or due to any problem. If you need to change the oil filter before ending the oil cycle, you need to know the way to change the filter. 

But some questions may arise in your mind, like, can you change oil filter without changing oil? You may think that any problem with the engine or the oil cycle can occur. But honestly, it is safe to change the oil filter without changing the oil. 

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