The best protection your engine has against premature wearing of the internal components is the Pontiac oil filter. This has a paper element in its interior that the oil flows through. When the oil exits this component, it travels directly to the moving parts in the engine. The oil filter on your Pontiac can be found on the lower portion of the motor near the sump of the engine on the exterior. It is fed oil from the oil pump that retrieves the oil from the sump in the lower portion of the oil pan. The particulates that the oil filter removes from the oil have an internal origin to them. They are the carbon particles that are being produced in the combustion chamber in your Pontiac engine. If these tiny particulates are not removed and are permitted to become concentrated in the oil, the lubricating properties of the oil will be diminished significantly. The time period for this buildup of carbon particles to the point that it will fill the paper element in your Pontiac oil filter is near the 3,000 to 5,000 mile mark (depending on the oil). After that point, the flow of oil through the filter will begin to diminish. When it reaches a predetermined amount, a check valve will close in the oil filter and this engine component will then be in a bypass mode. The reason for the bypass mode is to help protect the engine as much as possible even if the owner of the Pontiac is negligent in taking care of their engine by not replacing the oil filter when it is necessary. When the filter is in the bypass mode oil will still be flowing to the internal components of the engine providing limited lubrication. The carbon deposits are also damaging the bearings and other moving parts at the same time.