The crush washer is one of the most important parts to keep track of during an oil change. It is sometimes only noticed when you have already gone to remove the filter, but you don’t have a replacement handy.
So do oil filters come with a crush washer?
Oil filters are very unlikely to come with a crush washer but these can be purchased easily and cheaply at any auto parts store. It’s worth picking up some spares when you’re considering an oil change.
We’ll look at why crush washers are so important and how to use them the best. We’ll also look at how to properly install a crush washer as well as some tips about oil changes.
Will I Get A Crush Washer With An Oil Filter?
Oil filters are unlikely to come with a crush washer as crush washers are needed for the drain plug. However, when you are doing an oil change, it is common practice to also change the oil filter. This means that you will need to also pick up a crush washer.
Crush washers do come standard with several makes and models of vehicle but not all.
Crush washers, or metal sealing washers, are generally used to seal fluids such as oil and fuel. Often made from copper or aluminum, these are soft alloys that compress easily upon tightening their respective bolt or nut.
This allows a much tighter, durable seal than a usual washer.
However, the process of tightening does result in a crushed washer being crushed. This means it is not reusable and a replacement will be needed when you next change the oil filter. Crush washers are very cheap so you can buy a whole pack for very little cost.
Given the importance of a crush washer to the continued good functioning of your vehicle, it’s not something you should skimp on.
Some vehicles don’t have a crush washer but a standard washer, and this is fine to be reused. Keep in mind that it is very common for the washer to come off when you remove the drain plug while doing an oil change.
Check in your oil pan for any washers that might have slipped in, it happens very easily with the stream of oil gushing out.
Check out this YouTube video on crush washers and how to fit them.
Do You Need A New Crush Washer For An Oil Change?
Crush washers provide a tight seal that is very important for your vehicle. If your drain plug is designed to take a crush washer, not replacing it will likely lead to oil leaks, as well as potentially causing issues with oil pressure.
You may notice that after an oil change that your drain plug is fine without the crush washer as there are no leaks. However, the hot and cold changes to the metal as well as pressure from driving are likely to cause it to leak.
Does A K&N Oil Filter Come With A Crush Washer?
K&N oil filters will not come with a crush washer. If you’re picking up your oil filter from an auto parts store for an oil change, you’ll likely need to pick up the oil, filter, and crush washer in the one shop.
Are Crush Washers Important?
Crush washers are not strictly necessary for all vehicles, but for those that are supposed to have a crush washer, it should not be neglected.
Crush washers are designed to work best 1/4 to 1 1/4 turns from the point where it cannot be tightened by hand anymore. This means you will get the optimal pressure on the crush washer to get the seal, without damaging other components like the drain plug.
It’s not a good idea to use more than one crush washer. Ideally, use a torque wrench to make sure you get the right pressure on it, and it’s best to have a few crush washers spare in case you overtighten the first one.
In a pinch, a crush washer can be reused depending on its condition, but only should be reused once. If you notice that the washer still has a lot of travel in it, in the sense that it can still be crushed more to create a proper seal, there’s likely not an issue reusing it.
However, if you reuse a crush washer, just be careful not to attempt to crush it too hard to get a seal, otherwise, you may strip the threads in the oil pan. This can turn into a huge, expensive issue so be careful with the tightening process.
As an engine heats up, it causes metal expansion followed by contraction. This will cause even perfectly torqued fasteners to loosen. On top of this, crush washers will also sometimes feature a rubber surface to aid with vibration minimization.
While it may seem unlikely that a vehicle needs a crush washer, keep in mind that the vehicle was likely stress tested with a washer. Removing it could cause issues because if for example, you lose the drain plug on a running engine, that engine is destroyed.
Copper crush washers will be the best bet unless the manufacturer says otherwise. Aluminum is a slightly harder substance and so may not compress and seal as well.
If you forget to put the crush washer on, it’s worth redoing it even if you may waste some oil.
- One technique is to get another drain plug and crush washer ready, and then plug it in while removing the old drain plug. Some oil will likely escape so you’ll need to check levels.
You can try and elevate the vehicle in a way so that the oil collects away from the drain plug so that not as much oil leaks out when trying this.