Changing filters regularly is essential for your equipment to perform its best. Recommended intervals for filter changes vary between 250 and 500 hours. It can be tempting to select a bargain filter brand, but an inferior filter can make a big difference in the long term health of your equipment. Saving a few dollars on a filter is just not worth the damage that can be caused to your equipment by an inferior filter.
Here are the basics of filters.
Why are filters used?
Filters are used to keep fuel, oil and hydraulic fluids clean as they circulate throughout your machine’s systems, lubricating the parts and dispersing heat. There are fuel filters, engine oil filters, transmission filters and hydraulic fuel filters.
Why are filters important?
Small particles from component wear and dirt are picked up by oil and hydraulic fluids as they flow through the equipment. If these contaminants are not separated from the fluids, they could cause tremendous damage to a machine. Using the correct filters will actually help maximize machine performance and extend the life of your machine.
A filter should capture contaminants and dirt effectively and perform well during the entire interval between filter changes.
What affects a filter’s performance?
There are three components of a filter that are important.
- The filter media
The fluids pass through filter material or media where contaminants are trapped. Naturally, what the filter media is made of is important. The material must be strong enough to last through the interval between changes. So, it must be tough and not fall apart during its lifetime.
- Filter construction
The filter must be constructed so that it traps extremely fine particles but doesn’t get clogged and become ineffective. Inadequate capacity in a filter will trigger the bypass valve to open too early, and unfiltered fluids will enter the system.
- Filter canister
The filter canister should be strong enough to avoid collapse under high pressure. Collapsing would permit unfiltered fluids to flow through the system.
Before you buy a filter
Ask your parts representative whether the filter you plan to purchase meets the equipment manufacturer’s requirements.