Best Oil Filter

Best Oil Filter of 2019

Oil filters influence almost every aspect of vehicle performance. They make engines last longer, improve combustion efficiency and even limit tail pipe emissions that harm the environment.

Yet, most people never spend very little time thinking about oil filters. They either buy the cheapest model available or go with whatever their service attendant recommends. That is a mistake.

The best oil filter is a cheap investment ($10 to $15) that has huge rewards over the life of your vehicle. Our top pick is the FRAM Ultra Synthetic Oil Filter.


Our #1 Rated
FRAM Ultra Synthetic
Our #2 Rated
Mobile 1 Extended Performance 
Our #3 Rated
Bosch Premium FILTECH
Our #4 Rated
Purolator ONE 

 

Our #1 Rated – FRAM Ultra Synthetic 

The FRAM Ultra provides the same or better performance as filters costing 50% more. DO NOT confuse the Ultra with what you may hear about cheaper FRAM models. This model is made with top quality components throughout.

Sale
FRAM Ultra Synthetic Oil Filter

Filtering Capability - Best in Class

Dirt Removal Capacity - Excellent

Time Between Changes - Best in Class

Price - Best in Class (for premium)

Construction - Best in Class

Screening out an impressive 99+% of contaminants that are 20 microns or larger (a human hair is ~ 75 microns by comparison), the Ultra will greatly extend the life of your car. As we will discuss later, the Society for Automotive Engineers estimates that this level of screening can extend the life an engine almost 70% versus using 40 micron oil filters.

Best in class filtering ability, matched with the right synthetic oil, delivers performance up to 20,000 miles. Add in nice touches like anti-slip material on the top to make installation easier and silicone (vs rubber) anti-drain back valves, and we have a a lot of value for the money.

Check out this video that shows the internal components and why the Ultra Synthetic is so well made.

Reasons to Buy

  • Best screening performance on the market for under $10
  • Outstanding max performance of 20,000 miles
  • No quality shortcuts on any internal components (filter media, metal caps, valves)
  • Great customer reviews and lots of them
  • Sure grip top is a nice touch that no other top filter offers.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • People who change oil frequently (3,000 – 5,000 miles vs. 10,000 – 20,000 miles) can get “close enough” performance with oil filters that are a few bucks cheaper.

The Ultra is the best synthetic oil filter for the money available today.

If you do not know the right part number for your vehicle’s make and year model, check the manufacturer’s product finder.


Our #2 Rated – Mobile 1 Extended Performance 

If you asked car aficionados about the best oil filter brand, Mobil 1 might very well be the winner. The Mobil 1 Extended Performance is our #2 rated oil filter.

Mobile 1 Extended Performance

Filtering Capability - Excellent

Dirt Removal Capacity - Best in Class

Time Between Changes - Best in Class

Price - 50% price premium to our Top Pick

Construction - Best in Class

The Extended Performance uses a synthetic blend filtering material to screen out 99+% of potential contaminants at 30 microns or larger (80% at 10 microns). Its proprietary design traps and holds more dirt than other oil filters, an impressive 28 grams. This helps ensure your engine runs better and lasts longer.

The Mobil 1 can go 1 year or 20,000 miles before needing to be changed when paired with premium Mobil 1 Annual Protection Oil.

Reasons to Buy

  • Best in class dirt holding capacity of 28 grams (the more dirt the filter holds the less debris that flows back into the engine)
  • Outstanding max performance of 1 year or 20,000 miles
  • No quality shortcuts on any internal components (filter media, metal caps, valves)
  • Great customer reviews.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • While not expensive on an absolute basis, the Mobil 1 costs ~ 50% more than our #1 pick
  • Slightly worse, although still excellent, filtering performance (99% at 30 microns vs 99% at 20 microns for our #1 pick).

A top brand backed by top construction and performance. You will not go wrong with the Mobil 1 Extended Performance.

If you do not know the right part number for your vehicle’s make and year model, check Mobil 1’s product finder.


Our #3 Rated – Bosch Premium FILTECH

If we had to choose a best value, it would definitely be the Bosch Premium FILTECH. It offers most of the performance of our Top 2 picks at 25% to 50% lower cost. Bosch does this by making smart engineering tradeoffs.

Sale
Bosch Premium FILTECH

Filtering Capability - Best in Class

Dirt Removal Capacity - Good

Time Between Changes - Good

Price - Best in Class

Construction - Very Good

The filter media is a combination of lower cost cellulose blended with glass fiber, which is as high end as you can get. This results in 99% filtering of contaminants 20 microns and larger. That is the same performance as our top pick. The anti-drain back valve is silicone (vs. nitrile rubber) which is another smart design choice.

There are tradeoffs with the cheaper price. While filtration is excellent, contaminant holding capacity is only 14 grams, or about half of the Mobil 1. If you plan to change your oil at intervals of 10,000 miles or less, this lower holding capacity may not be an issue depending on where you live and how you drive.

Reasons to Buy

  • Filtering is tied for best in class (99% of contaminants 20 microns or larger)
  • Absolute best price for a top performing oil filter
  • If you change your oil frequently, this is the best value to be had
  • Excellent customer reviews.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • Although not explicitly stated, max life is lower than our top picks (closer to 10,000 than 20,000)
  • Dirt holding capacity is good (14 grams) but a step below our top choices, both in excess of 20 grams
  • No sure grip, anti slip top.

Bosch has a great brand name, and customer feedback on the Bosch Premium FILTECH is outstanding. Drivers on a tight budget, should look no further.

If you do not know the right part number for your vehicle’s make and year model, check Bosch’s product finder.


Our #4 Rated – Purolator ONE 

The Purolator ONE is a step below the company’s flagship product the BOSS (reviewed later). Why is the ONE a top pick? It simply meets the needs of a large majority of drivers at a great price.

Purolator ONE Oil Filter

Filtering Capability - Excellent

Dirt Removal Capacity - Good +

Time Between Changes - Excellent

Price - Excellent

Construction - Very Good

The ONE filters out 99% of most contaminants and traps and holds a respectable 15 grams of dirt and other pollutants. It has a few high end touches like silicone anti-drain back valves/gaskets and metal end caps.

The ONE works with all types of recommended oil and will last for up to 10,000 miles. It is very similar to the Bosch. The ONE has a little bit more holding capacity but costs more as well.

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent price, although ~ 15% more expensive than the Bosch
  • Very good performer at everything (filtering, 10K max life, dirt removal) although not best at anything
  • Great choice for drivers who change their oil more frequently than every 10,000 miles
  • Long history of good customer reviews.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • 1 gram more dirt removal capacity is the only area it outperforms the Bosch for ~15% higher price
  • No sure grip, anti slip top.

The Purolator ONE is a great oil filter and another strong candidate for Best Value.

If you do not know the right part number for your vehicle’s make and year model, check Pure Oil’s product finder.


Best Oil Filter Comparison Table 

Preview
#1 Rated
FRAM XG6607 Ultra Synthetic Spin-On Oil Filter with SureGrip
#2 Rated
Mobil 1 M1-110 / M1-110A Extended Performance Oil Filter
#3 Rated
Bosch 3323 Premium FILTECH Oil Filter
#4 Rated
Purolator PL14610 Blue Single PurolatorONE Advanced Engine Protection Spin On Oil Filter
Title
FRAM XG6607 Ultra Synthetic Spin-On Oil Filter with SureGrip
Mobil 1 M1-110 / M1-110A Extended Performance Oil Filter
Bosch 3323 Premium FILTECH Oil Filter
Purolator PL14610 Blue Single PurolatorONE Advanced Engine Protection Spin On Oil Filter
Filter Media
Dual layered, metal screened synthetic
Synthetic blend
Cellulose and glass fiber blend
High-density synthetic blend media
Filtering Capability
99+% at 20 microns
99+% at 30 microns
99% at 20 microns
99%
Dirt Removal Capacity
n/a
28 grams
14 grams
15 grams
Max Life
20,000 miles
20,000 miles
n/a
10,000 miles
Synthetic Oil Compatabile
Rating
Price
$8.97
$14.99
from $3.71
$7.19
#1 Rated
Preview
FRAM XG6607 Ultra Synthetic Spin-On Oil Filter with SureGrip
Title
FRAM XG6607 Ultra Synthetic Spin-On Oil Filter with SureGrip
Filter Media
Dual layered, metal screened synthetic
Filtering Capability
99+% at 20 microns
Dirt Removal Capacity
n/a
Max Life
20,000 miles
Synthetic Oil Compatabile
Rating
Price
$8.97
#2 Rated
Preview
Mobil 1 M1-110 / M1-110A Extended Performance Oil Filter
Title
Mobil 1 M1-110 / M1-110A Extended Performance Oil Filter
Filter Media
Synthetic blend
Filtering Capability
99+% at 30 microns
Dirt Removal Capacity
28 grams
Max Life
20,000 miles
Synthetic Oil Compatabile
Rating
Price
$14.99
#3 Rated
Preview
Bosch 3323 Premium FILTECH Oil Filter
Title
Bosch 3323 Premium FILTECH Oil Filter
Filter Media
Cellulose and glass fiber blend
Filtering Capability
99% at 20 microns
Dirt Removal Capacity
14 grams
Max Life
n/a
Synthetic Oil Compatabile
Rating
Price
from $3.71
#4 Rated
Preview
Purolator PL14610 Blue Single PurolatorONE Advanced Engine Protection Spin On Oil Filter
Title
Purolator PL14610 Blue Single PurolatorONE Advanced Engine Protection Spin On Oil Filter
Filter Media
High-density synthetic blend media
Filtering Capability
99%
Dirt Removal Capacity
15 grams
Max Life
10,000 miles
Synthetic Oil Compatabile
Rating
Price
$7.19

Reviews of Other Top Oil Filters (Including OEM)

Royal Purple Extended Life 

Royal Purple offers some of the best oil filters on the market.

Best oil filter Royal Purple Line The Royal Purple Extended Life is a true high performance oil filter. The filter media is made from synthetic micro-glass which is the best filtration material available on the market today. It offers 99% filtration efficiency at 25 microns.

Other premium features include heavier construction throughout. The Royal Purple has a thicker gauge metal canister, silicone anti-drain back valves and a reinforced center tube to prevent element collapse. The nitrile rubber gasket is extra thick to reduce torque during installation and removal.

Reasons to Buy

  • Filter media is micro glass, the best material of any filter in our review
  • Like the Fram Ultra, the filter media is backed by a metal screen for better strength and filtration
  • Extra strong materials (canister and gasket) increase durability and useful life.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • Among the most expensive oil filters on the market
  • Similar filtration performance available for 40% cheaper with the FRAM.

Overall, the Royal Purple Extended Life is a top notch oil filter suitable for the best cars and best synthetic oil filters.


K&N Performance Wrench Off 

The K&N Performance Wrench Off is a premium oil filter from a well known supplier of racing accessories since 1969.

K&N wrench off oil filter

Known for its unique “wrench off” top that allows use of box end wrenches. This is a nice feature that we wish other manufacturers would consider.

K&N uses a cellulose synthetic blend media. Filtration is rated at 99% although the exact microns are not specified.

Reasons to Buy

  • Wrench off design is a nice feature that is unique among our top picks
  • Price is in line with similar premium oil filters.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • Doesn’t lead in any performance category for filters in its price point.

The K&N Performance Wrench Off is a very good oil filter. If you are a fan of K&N air filters and other products, you can buy the Performance model with confidence. It’s a perfectly good premium product.

If you do not know the right part number for your vehicle’s make and year model, check K&N’s product finder.


Purolator BOSS

The Purolator BOSS is the big brother to one of our top picks, the Purolator ONE.

Purolator BOSS oil filter deconstructed

This ultra premium oil filter is full synthetic and is made for tough stop and go driving and hauling. It is very much on par with our top pick (see FRAM Oil Filter Review above). It just costs more.

Using its patented 100%, full-synthetic SmartFUSION Technology™ media, the BOSS filters out 99+% of debris. Its dirt filtering capacity is an impressive 27 grams, putting it just shy of the Mobil 1’s 28 grams.

While it may be used with any recommended oil type or viscosity, the BOSS works best with premium and extended performance oils.

Reasons to Buy

  • Top notch components and construction
  • Filtering and dirt removal are at or near best in class
  • Established brand with a strong track record of good customer feedback.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • Dirt removal capacity is 1 gram less than the Mobil 1
  • Max 15,000 miles compared to 20,000 miles for top performers
  • Costs 35+% more than the FRAM Ultra, although ~ 15% more affordable than the Mobil 1.

If you like the Purolator brand, the BOSS is excellent and among the very best oil filters for cars.

If you do not know the right part number for your vehicle’s make and year model, check Pure Oil’s product finder.


AC Delco Professional Engine 

AC Delco Oil Professional Engine Filter

AC Delco is a General Motors Original Equipment brand.  Its Professional Engine Oil Filter is one of the best OEM products on the market today.

Targeted as more of a mainstream, as opposed to an ultra premium, product, the AC Delco uses cellulose fiber for its filter media. It filters a very respectable 98% of contaminants 25 to 30 microns in size. Filter end caps are made out of synthetic materials as opposed to the cardboard seen on traditional products in this price range.

The Professional Engine works with all types of oil including conventional, synthetic blend and full synthetic.

Reasons to Buy

  • As an OEM product, it is made specifically to work with General Motors cars
  • Features some added premium features like synthetic end caps
  • Gets really good customer reviews (93% very satisfied).

Reasons Not to Buy

  • Costs ~30% more than filters with better specs, such as the Bosch
  • Filter media is just cellulose and includes no premium blends.

Many drivers prefer to use OEM replacement parts only. That is not a bad way to go. If you have a GM vehicle, the Professional Engine Oil Filter is an excellent choice.

If you do not know the right part number for your vehicle’s make and year model, check AC Delco’s product finder.


Motorcraft 

Motorcraft Oil Filters are the recommended OEM accessory for Fords, Lincolns and Mercurys.

Motorcraft OEM oil filter

The Motorcraft is a mainstream OEM product. It is not designed to be the ultimate in performance (e.g., 20,000 miles between oil changes), but it is not priced that way either.

It does have upgraded features like ironed steel cases, silicone anti-drain back valves and upgraded pressure release valves.

Reasons to Buy

  • As an OEM product, fit and reliability are guaranteed
  • Receives highest customer reviews of any product we evaluated

Reasons Not to Buy

  • Can get oil filters with better specs, like the Bosch, for roughly the same price.

Overall, the Motorcraft Oil Filter is a very good performer for Ford family vehicles. This product line has been installed on literally hundreds of thousands of vehicles and gets extremely good feedback. Another “can’t go wrong” choice.


Toyota Genuine Parts 

The Toyota Genuine Parts Oil Filter is, not surprisingly, the OEM recommended filter for Toyota cars, SUVs and trucks.

Two Toyota Genuine Parts oil filters

Like most OEM oil filters it has cellulose based filter media with solid filtration performance. Designed for traditional use and change intervals, Toyota oil filters are about providing a solid product at a good price. As long as you are not looking for max performance, these products represent good value.

Reasons to Buy

  • As an OEM product, you know it will work and work well
  • Quality materials (e.g., anti-drain back valve)
  • Tied with the Motorcraft for best customer reviews.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • Can get oil filters with better specs, like the Bosch, for roughly the same price.

If you do not know the right part number for your vehicle’s make and year model, check Toyota’s product finder.


Buyer’s Guide 

What is An Oil Filter?

An oil filter removes contaminants from engine oil to help keep engine oil clean. As oil circulates through an engine it picks up carbon, sand, dust, bits of metal, and silica, much like a river washing trash downstream. Over time these contaminants build up. If not removed, they increase wear and tear and decrease engine operating efficiency.

An oil filter is a canister that houses a center tube and filter material (also called filter media). The bottom of the oil filter is capped by a base plate that holds a rubber O-ring and gasket. This is the part that comes into contact with the engine block.

Best oil filter components

The base plate is threaded and mates with the oil filter assembly on the engine block.

How Does an Oil Filter Work?

Non-electric vehicle engines have oil pumps. These pumps push oil into the filter through perforated holes in the base plate, while pressure valve regulates the amount and force of oil. The dirty oil is forced through the filter material. Clean, or at least cleaner, oil is then pushed back through the center of the filter and re-enters the engine.

Popular Mechanics has a good guide that helps visualize the flow of oil once it enters the oil filter.

Oil flow inside an oil filter

 

Main Types 

Although there are several types of oil filters, for consumers there are two main ones to know.

Primary Oil Filter. Almost all modern cars, SUVs and trucks come installed with primary oil filters. These are also known as “full flow” because 100% of engine oil passes through the oil filter during normal engine operation.

Primary oil filters offer little resistance or restriction. A reason for this is that motor oil becomes thicker in cold temperatures. If these filters were highly restrictive, oil would have problems getting to the engine during cold starts. That would cause engine damage.

However, because they are not highly restrictive, some smaller particles or contaminants will not be blocked by the filter media. This is why you will notice your oil changing color and breaking down over time.

Secondary Oil FilterThese are aptly named. They are literally second oil filters. They must be used in conjunction with a full flow or primary oil filter. Most vehicles do not have them, but they can be installed as an aftermarket accessory. Secondary oil filters are “partial flow” instead of “full flow.” They intake ~ 10% of circulating oil at a time and screen out very small contaminants. They have a high pressure differential meaning oil moves through the secondary filter very slowly allowing excellent filtration.

Main Types of Filter Media

Cellulose Filter Media. Cellulose is made from wood pulp and fiber. It is characterized by having very large fibers especially relative to Synthetic Media (discussed below). As a wood derivative, cellulose is very sensitive to water. Accidental exposure to water will cause the fibers to swell which will further restrict oil flow.

Typical OEM cellulose filters will trap 97.5% of most contaminants 15 to 40 microns in size. To put that in perspective, the human eye has trouble distinguishing things smaller than 40 microns. Filtering performance drops to 72% in the 8 to 10 micron range.

Perhaps cellulose’s biggest advantage is that it is highly cost effective. As a result, it is most commonly found in cheaper oil filters that need to be monitored and changed more frequently.

Synthetic Filter Media. Synthetic media are basically plastics. Made out of non-woven plastics or other synthetics these media offer several advantages. First, they can trap smaller contaminants and hold those contaminants (without letting them re-enter the engine) for more miles. Their capture rate can be as high as 99.5%. They can block contaminants as small as 3 to 5 microns.

Synthetic filter media can also handle higher temperatures and other potential problems like water in your oil. The best oil filters can go 10,000 to 15,000 miles when paired with the right oil.

Note: when we use the term “synthetic filter media” that also includes hybrid synthetic-cellulose media.

Microglass Filter Media. This filter material is made out of glass microfibers and is considered high end. Microglass offers maximum filtration performance. They reportedly filter out 99% of particles 10 microns or bigger and 95% of particles 5 microns or larger. That is outstanding performance. Not surprisingly, they cost more and are relatively rare.

Benefits of the Best Oil Filters

You truly “get what you pay for” with oil filters.

Diagram showing reasons to purchase the best oil filter possible

Engine Longevity. Oil filters that screen more contaminants reduce engine wear. Flat out. The Society of Automotive Engineers states that using a 30 micron vs. 40 micron oil filter can reduce engine wear by up to 50% over the life of a vehicle. Using a 15 micron filtration standard jumps the wear reduction to 70%. That is substantial by anyone’s standard.

Higher Combustion Efficiency. Simply put, your engine will provide more output (power) for the same amount of input (fuel). After a while, most drivers report noticeable increases in engine responsiveness while driving.

Heat Tolerance. Heat is the enemy of all engines. That is why automobiles have warning lights for oil, transmission and engine temperature. At very high temperatures, oil filters can start to break down and not operate effectively. Micro glass oil filters handle heat better than their cellulose cousins.

Environmentally Friendly. Oil filters that do a better job of filtering prevent harmful contaminants from becoming tail pipe emissions. In many cases “going green” means you have to give up something like engine performance. Not here. Better oil filters provide more engine performance AND less emissions.

Less Frequent Oil Changes. Premium oil filters combined with extended performance oil can go 10,000 to 20,000 miles before requiring a change. Cheap oil filters with cellulose filter media often can go only 3,000 miles. Some do not even make it that far as the as the cellulose breaks apart and triggers the bypass valve, effectively shutting down the oil filter and letting dirty oil circulate throughout the engine.

Purchase Considerations

The number one thing by far is to get the right oil filter for your engine.

  • Get the right type of part for your cars make, model and engine type. We say this all the time, but check your owner’s manual. You should be able to find the size and part number on both the oil filter itself and in the manual.
  • Decide what type of filter media you want. Synthetic and micro glass will last longer but cost more up front (especially if you are paying for the mark up at a dealer service station). For us, time is a consideration as well. If you are extremely busy, premium oil paired with the best synthetic oil filter will save you a few trips to the local oil service station.
  • That you “get what you pay for” is a good guide. Cheap oil filters suffer have more failure points. Light gauge metal parts, loose filter media which can shred and circulate through the engine, and poor quality rings or gaskets can all lead to oil filter failure. Pressure valve problems are also more common with poorly made products.

Installation and Maintenance

Oil filters are relatively easy to install and maintain. You just have to keep in mind the most important steps.

How to Install?

For the visual types out there, here is a great manufacturer video that covers the basics well.

The process is pretty straightforward, especially once you have some experience under your belt.

  1. Run your engine for 5 minutes before you start. Oil that is warmed up will drain faster.
  2. If you use a car jack to lift your car, always use jack stands. Never crawl underneath a car that is supported only by a car jack. Car ramps work also work well.
  3. Use a socket wrench (not an adjustable wrench) to remove the oil plug and catch the oil in a pan. It will take several minutes for the oil to fully drain.
  4. Using an oil filter wrench, remove the oil filter and rubber gasket.
  5. Add the new oil filter. Put some oil on the rubber O-ring first and then hand tighten the oil filter. Check to make sure it is sufficiently tight.
  6. Using a funnel add the recommended amount of new oil. This prevents spilling oil on your engine that will collect dirt and grime unless cleaned.
  7. Transfer the old oil from the collection pan into a jug for later recycling.
  8. After the vehicle idles for a bit, stop and check the oil level.

Use the above instructions as a general guide. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions as there may be product specific nuances.

When to Change?

People tend to respond with rules of thumb when asked how often they should change their oil filter. “Every 3,000 miles” is a common response. Generally, those rules work fine.

The correct answer is to change your oil filter before it becomes sufficiently clogged or dirty and starts damaging your engine. How do you know when a change is needed?

The hard way is to wait until you notice problems. If you experience any of the following, it is probably too late:

  • Engine becomes sluggish or sputters
  • Temperature gauge starts rising or pressure gauge begins falling (pressure valve fails)
  • Engine warning light activates
  • Leaks on the ground after parking are easily visible
  • Metallic sounds are noticeable as metal parts grind against each other because of insufficient lubrication
  • Exhaust is smoky or dirty.

Black smoke from car tailpipe

The easy way is to know in advance. Consult both your owner’s manual and the instructions for your motor oil and filter. For some models, BMW states that when using synthetic oil paired with a synthetic oil filter, the expected interval is every 15,000 miles. All you have to do in the interim is monitor your oil level and engine warning lights.

Also, many newer cars have sophisticated monitoring systems. These take into account any problematic issues like extreme heat or dust and provide a warning if early maintenance is required.

Conclusion 

Oil filters may be as vital to the long-term health of your car as any aftermarket auto accessory. Just to revisit a stat discussed earlier, 20 micron filtering versus 40 micron filtering can reduce engine wear by a mind-boggling 70% over the life of your car.

The amazing thing is that you can get that level of performance for literally just a few dollars more than the cost of a cheap oil filter. The fact that you also get more pep from your engine and lower tailpipe emissions make using the best product truly a no brainer.

The leader from our reviews was the FRAM Ultra Synthetic, providing best in class performance for under $10. If you are partial to other brands, Mobil 1 Extended Performance and Bosch Premium FILTECH are outstanding alternatives in their own right.

Sale
FRAM Ultra Synthetic Oil Filter

Filtering Capability - Best in Class

Dirt Removal Capacity - Excellent

Time Between Changes - Best in Class

Price - Best in Class (for high end synthetic)

Construction - Best in Class


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best filter media?

Filter media is the material that screens out contaminants. The best materials for filter media from best to worst are:

  • Micro glass synthetic
  • Full synthetic
  • Synthetic blend
  • Cellulose (paper based).

Additionally, some products have a metal screen on the outside of the filter media to provide added strength and improve filtration. Refer to our Buyer’s Guide for more details.

How often to change my oil filter?

This is easy. Follow the instructions….oil, oil filter and car owner’s manual. Generally speaking the interval can be as short as 3,000 miles on older cars with cellulose based oil filters. Modern cars with better engine tolerances and synthetic oil and oil filters can go 1 year or 20,000 miles, whichever comes first. Today, most modern cars using premium oil average around 10,000 miles.

What are customers biggest complaints when buying oil filters?

Our opinion is that the key offenders leading to bad reviews, in descending order, looks something like this:

  • Leaks after installing / bad gasket or seal
  • Wrong size or fit (note: we included links to product model number finders at the end of each review)
  • Packaging or product damaged during shipping
  • Loose filter media if you shake the filter.

What type of oil can I use with my filter?

Generally speaking, most types of oil filters can handle any grade and viscosity of recommended oil for your car. That means they work with conventional, synthetic blend, high mileage and full synthetic motor oil. You won’t get the complete benefit of a full synthetic oil filter if you use conventional motor oil, but they are usually compatible. Again, always read the instructions.

Where do manufacturers of cheap oil filters cut corners?

Oh, let us count the ways. The biggest issue is not just using cellulose filter media BUT using really bad cellulose filter media. If the media comes apart it can get into your engine and cause problems. Other things to look for are cardboard end caps, thinly made canisters, rubber (vs. silicone) anti-drain back valves, cheap gaskets and low gauge, flimsy base plates.

Is over-pressurization a risk?

It is not a big risk, but it can certainly happen. When subjected to too much pressure oil filters will appear bulging or similarly deformed. If the pressure is great enough, the gasket between the filter and the engine block can blow out. When this happens, the vehicle will lose a lot of oil.

Over-pressurization usually occurs when the oil pressure regulating valve is malfunctioning. The valve either gets stuck in ‘closed position,’ or moves to the ‘open position’ too slowly once the engine has been started. If you suspect you have an issue with your pressure valve, visit your local dealer immediately. The consequences of a faulty valve, if let unaddressed, can be costly indeed.

What is the best oil filter for cars?

Our Buyer’s Guide covers this as well, but we think the “best” needs to score high marks on four dimensions:

  • Price
  • Filtration ability
  • Dirt holding capacity
  • Quality construction (e.g., good quality materials, won’t leak).

The Ultra (#1 rated) scores at or near the top on all of these factors. See our Fram Oil Filter Review above for details. The Mobile 1 (#2 rated) scores best in class, or close, on everything but price. The Bosch (#3 rated) is great on everything but dirt holding capacity, where it is merely very good.

 

Leave a Comment