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What's A GM Cartridge Oil Filter And How Do I Replace It?

The oil filter is an important part of any GM engine and should be regularly changed. In most cars the oil filter should be changed at every oil change. You should know what type of oil filter your car uses because they often need replacement. There are a few different types of oil filters. The major types are spin-on filters and cartridge filters. Many GM vehicles use a cartridge oil filter.

What Is A Cartridge Filter And How Does It Work?

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The cartridge filter design has been used for decades by many manufacturers and is found on many cars. A replaceable “cartridge” sits inside a plastic or metal housing. This cartridge acts as the filtering media for your engine oil and keeps your oil clean. Cartridge filters are often less messy to replace than similar spin-off filters. You can learn more about how engine oil is filtered here.

What Is The Difference Between A Cartridge And Spin-Off Filter?

With a cartridge filter, you replace the inner filtering media at every replacement. With a spin off filter you replace the filter and its housing during replacement. While both designs are popular, the cartridge design offers a few benefits. They are cheaper to produce and are far more ecologically friendly than a spin-off filter.

How Do I Know Which Oil Filter Design My GM Uses?

One of the easiest ways to tell which design your vehicle uses is to look at the oil filter in your vehicle. It is about the size of a can of soda. If it is painted and has a brand name on it, it is a spin-off filter. If the filter looks like it is made of aluminum and has no branding, it is more likely a cartridge filter.

How Do I Replace An Oil Cartridge Filter?

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When changing the oil in your GM vehicle you should make sure to always change the filter at the same time. To replace an oil filter cartridge you should: 

  1. Find the oil cartridge filter housing. Typically it will be on the lower half of the engine. Your owners manual will show the location. 
  2. Once the engine has been drained of oil use a wrench to remove the oil cartridge housing cap
  3. Carefully remove the cap. It will hold the filter on the end, and the filter will still have some oil in it.
  4. Remove the cartridge filter from the cap and replace the filter with a new one. 
  5. Carefully slide the filter back into the housing and be sure the cap is closed tight with a wrench.

Should I Use OEM Filters Or Aftermarket Filters In My GM?

Many filters are produced and sold by aftermarket firms. But, they may not always meet OEM specifications. You can learn more about OEM and aftermarket filters in this article. It is a safer bet to replace the oil filter with an OEM filter. At GMPC, our filters are priced very competitively with aftermarket filters.