Dear Tom and Ray: I found a larger oil filter for my car with the same exact specs, except for the length. The larger one is about 1.5 inches longer. With the extra size and more oil capacity, is there any reason not to use the larger one? My car usually takes a Purolator PSL14670. The bigger one is a PSL30001. Thanks. – Larry
Ray: I don’t really recommend it, Larry.
Tom: We do that for some customers’ cars at the garage, at their request. There’s never anything wrong with the filter that comes with the car; it’s designed to do the job. But with a larger filter, where everything else is equal, you’ll filter a little more oil per minute, and some people think that helps the engine over time.
Ray: You’ll increase your oil capacity by a very small amount, so you’ll have to add more oil when you refill the crankcase. But if you pay attention to the “Full” mark on the dipstick, that’s not a problem.
Tom: But there are two potential dangers I can think of. One is that your new, larger oil filter does not filter to the same specifications as the OEM part (Original Equipment Manufacturer … the part that came with the car). A lot of filters look the same, but just because it looks the same and screws onto your engine block, that doesn’t mean it’ll do what the manufacturer requires it to do.
Ray: The other danger is that on some cars, the filter is in a place where if you make it longer, it can get hit by road debris. That’s a potential disaster. If something on the road were to strike the filter and tear it open, you’d lose all your oil in a matter of seconds, and your engine likely would be toast.
Tom: So if you’re uncertain about any of these things, we suggest that you stick with the manufacturer’s recommendation for the oil filter. That’s 100 percent adequate, and is guaranteed to do the job.
Ray: But if you’re a hobbyist or tinkerer or it’s Saturday and you already cleaned the barbecue grill twice, and you know what you’re doing, you can try this, Larry.
Tom: You might want to wait until the car is out of warranty first, though. Just in case.
Dear Tom and Ray: Longtime fan and avid listener. I have a 44-year-old two-seat Jaguar E-type sports car. When we were young, we often rode around with three people in the front. I have searched and cannot find any info regarding if that is legal in my home state of Massachusetts. Any idea? – David
Ray: Well, even if it were legal, I wouldn’t let you pick ME up!
Tom: It’s actually not allowed, David. By federal law, any car manufactured after July 1, 1966, must have one seat belt per seat. And only one person is allowed to use each seat belt (I never knew we had an epidemic of seat-belt sharing back then).
Ray: Pretty much every state now has a law requiring that every person traveling in a car must be wearing the seat belt that corresponds to his or her seat.
Tom: I think the only holdout is your neighbor to the north, David: New Hampshire (state motto: Live Free and Then Die By Getting Projected Through Your Windshield).
Ray: If your car had been pre-July 1966, and had never HAD seat belts to begin with, you’d be exempt, and you’d be free to endanger the life of that middle-seat passenger.
Tom: So if you want to drive around with three people, it sounds like you’ll have to buy a second 44-year-old Jaguar E-Type and lash the bumpers together. Which might not be a bad idea, because that doubles your odds on any given day that at least one of them will start. Drive safely, David.
What’s the best way to warm up your engine in the morning? Find out by ordering Tom and Ray’s pamphlet “Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car Without Even Knowing It!” Send $4.75 (check or money order) to Ruin, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.
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