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Every automobile in production besides electric vehicles runs off of a combustion engine that requires oil and gasoline. Over time, sludge and grime will begin to develop in your engine, so it’s important to do routine maintenance checks to avoid significant performance issues and eventually, damage.
The purpose of an oil filter is to help slow this process down by removing contaminants from your engine oil so that it can lubricate your vehicle’s engine properly.
Virtually all engines that run on gasoline require an oil filter however the exact type of filter that your engine requires will be different based on its operational makeup and build.
Every oil filter in production is made using different materials and designs which makes their effectiveness at removing contaminants such as dirt and grime either more or less efficient depending on the type of engine your vehicle has.
There are 6 main types of filters available on the market today, and before purchasing one for your vehicle you need to know the differences between them.
As a basic rule, oil filters should be changed at least every 3,000 miles or every 3 months, whichever comes first. One thing to keep in mind is that when you change your engine oil, you need to change the filter also as the residual build-up in the filter will impact the new oil’s ability to lubricant your engine resulting in a decline in performance.
Below, we’re going to go over all of the key details that you need to know about engine oil filters so that you will be able to prolong the operational efficiency of your vehicle. To begin, we’re going to give you our top recommendations for the best oil filters currently on the market.
Our Top Car Oil Filter Recommendations
- Motorcraft FL820S Silicone Valve Oil Filter: Best If You Experience Backflow In Your Engine
- Bosch 3330 Premium Filtech Oil Filter: Offers Great Protection From Excess Dirt and Grime
- Mobil 1 M1-110 Extended Performance Oil Filter: Offers Enhanced Protection
- Toyota Genuine Parts 90915-YZZF2 Oil Filter: Very Effective at Removing Contaminants
- Mann-Filter HU 925/4 X Metal-Free Oil Filter: Offers A High Dirt Holding Capacity
- Fram XG7317 Ultra Spin-On Oil Filter with Sure-Grip: Most Durable
- Royal Purple 10-2867 Oil Filter: Prevents Leaks
- K&N HP-1003 Performance Wrench-Off Oil Filter: Best Overall
All of the recommendations in this section will range in material type, the specific vehicles they work with best, and how long they last. Prior to you purchasing a new engine oil filter you will want to ensure that it’s compatible with your vehicle. Take your time to read all of the specifications of each oil filter recommendation so you can make sure you purchase the right filter.
#1 Motorcraft FL820S Silicone Valve Oil Filter
The Motorcraft FL820S Silicone Valve Oil Filter is made using steel cases and an anti-drain back valve which helps sustain the proper flow of oil throughout your engine.
This oil filter also has a pressure relief valve which is useful if you experience backflow in your engine, it also resists fatigue failure which helps to sustain the functionality and operation of the filter over time.
With this particular oil filter, you don’t have to worry about contaminated oil recirculating into your engine, ensuring prolonged operation and efficiency.
#2 Bosch 3330 Premium Filtech Oil Filter
The Bosch 3330 Premium Filtech Oil Filter uses a proprietary technology known as FILTECH which helps to screen out even more contaminants from your oil providing great protection from excess dirt and grime.
This particular oil filter comes with strong steel housings and base plates which helps to stop the warpage and lose fitting. The technology also works to help prevent oil leaks, it also features a highly lubricated gasket which provides you with a tight seal that is still easy to remove.
The 3330 filter even has a double-locked rolled seam which creates a leak-free canister, you’ll also find a silicone anti-drain back valve that maintains a fluid and clean supply of oil when you start your vehicle.
#3 Mobil 1 M1-110 Extended Performance Oil Filter
The Mobil 1 M1-110 Extended Performance Oil Filter has a 99.6% multi-pass efficiency rating and uses an advanced synthetic fiber blend media which prolongs performance.
This oil filter has a maximum capacity of 28.0 grams which means that it can hold more contaminants without the need for being replaced frequently. This particular oil filter can handle up to nine times the normal operating system pressure which gives you enhanced protection for up to 615 psi.
The M1-110 prevents dry starts in your engine by removing internal leakage during engine shutdown. This is accomplished by way of a silicone anti-drain back valve; the result is great operational efficiency and increased airflow to your engine.
The Toyota Genuine Parts 90915-YZZF2 Oil Filter has a direct fit and is very effective at removing contaminants from your oil. This particular oil filter is recommended for Toyota motors and is compatible with all Toyota motor oil products.
This filter can also be used other motor oil products which makes it very versatile, it has a very high engine efficiency rating which results in longer and better performance.
The Mann-Filter HU 925/4 X Metal-Free Oil Filter provides optimum protection for your engine and it has a high contaminant filtration rate to ensure that your engine is always operating at maximum efficiency.
This oil filter has a high dirt holding capacity of filtered contaminants due to its high filter surface area. The filter also uses pleat structuring which means that the entire surface area is used to remove contaminants from your oil on a consistent basis.
The Fram XG7317 Ultra Spin-On Oil Filter with Sure Grip has been proven to provide high-efficiency contamination removal for up to 15,000 miles.
This particular oil filter was designed to work with synthetic oil specifically, the media on this filter is made from a synthetic blend and it’s backed by a metal screen that provides uniform pleating.
The filter provides optimum oil flow efficiency and it is very durable, it’s made from a long-lasting silicone anti-drain back valve which ensures that no contaminated oil makes its way back into your engine. You will also find a SureGrip anti-slip texture which makes it easy and effortless for you to change the FRAM oil filter. (Check out our full Fram Oil Filter Review here.)
The Royal Purple 10-2867 Oil Filter comes with a 100% synthetic micro-glass media which provides enhanced particle removal. This filter has a 99% contamination filtration rate at about 25 microns which ensures that your engine will operate at maximum efficiency for prolonged periods of time.
This oil filter has a heavy-duty rubber base gasket which prevents any leaks from happening due to its leak-free seal design. You will also find an ultra-strength filter housing that is able to handle higher burst strength when compared to other oil filter types on the market.
The 10-2867 is also packing a high-performance silicone anti-drain back valve which eliminates the possibility of a dry start.
The K&N HP-1003 Performance Wrench-Off Oil Filter was designed to fit a wide variety of vehicle types such as trucks, ATVs, motorcycles, cars, and more. This filter comes with a resin-impregnated media filter that removes up to 99% of potentially harmful contaminants from your oil.
This filter also comes with a 1 inch exposed nut that is designed for easy removal of the filter when it’s time to be changed. The filter has an integrated anti-drain back valve that prevents dry starts and it also prevents oil from going back into the crankcase when your engine is shut down.
The filter is made using heavy-duty construction which helps to resist damage and wear over prolonged periods of time.
All of these oil filters will help you maintain a high-performing engine without having to worry about performance hiccups. Always check the configuration and oil filter compatibility of your vehicle before making a decision to ensure that you choose the right option for your engine model.
Features to Look for in a Car oil Filter
As you can tell from the recommendations above, there are several different features and components that make every oil filter unique. Depending on your particular vehicle model, engine configuration, and the type of oil you use, certain filters will be compatible with your vehicle while others will not.
To help you obtain maximum engine performance and efficiency while keeping contaminants from reaching your valves’ interior, read all of the key features you need to look out for below.
As you may know already, car engine oil comes in various blends and chemical compositions. The two main types of oil are synthetic oil and conventional oil, not all oil filters are compatible with both oil types and many require that you use a specific oil to avoid any serious operational issues.
Before buying a new oil filter for your vehicle, you need to make sure that it’s compatible with the specific type of oil that your engine uses.
Oil filters use what is known as a media to properly filter out all contaminants and dirt from your oil prior to it reaching your engine. The media used in every oil filter will be designed to work with a specific type of oil blend for maximum filtration efficiency.
Oil Filter Compatibility
Another important factor to consider when choosing an oil filter is the design compatibility with your vehicle. Oil filters are made with certain specifications and dimensions, which means that in order for an oil filter to work it obviously has to fit within your specific vehicle make and model.
Oftentimes, you can look at a chart provided by your car manufacturer that will outline the exact oil filter types that are compatible with your car or truck. Alternatively, you may also be able to look at what oil filters are compatible with the specific type of engine in your vehicle.
Oil filters are changed according to how many miles you’ve traveled on them during a given period of time. Every oil filter comes with a pre-set mileage level which will let you know how many miles you’ll be able to travel on it before it needs to be changed.
The most common mileage that many oil filters offer is around 5,000 miles, higher-performing oil filters can be rated for about 6,000 miles up to 20,000 miles. Know how many miles your selected oil filter is rated for prior to purchasing it so that you will know when to change it.
These are some of the main features that you need to look for when choosing the right oil filter for your vehicle. Make sure that you take all of these different aspects into consideration prior to purchasing an oil filter for your vehicle so that you won’t experience any issues during installation or replacement.
It is incredibly annoying to buy an oil filter and spend an hour trying to get it on your car or truck just to realize that it isn’t the right filter for your vehicle.
Types of Oil Filters
Mechanical Oil Filters
Mechanical filters work by using a primary element that is made out of a bulk amount of material such as cotton waste or pleated filter paper. The contaminants contained in your engine oil are then trapped inside of the material where it is then sequestered and suspended.
These trapped contaminants are essentially held in the filter over time as it remains in use until the flow of oil through your engine is slowly restricted. Once a mechanical filter traps a certain amount of dirt, it must be replaced.
Magnetic Oil Filters
Magnetic filters are designed with a permanent magnet inside of them which captures ferromagnetic particles contained in engine oil. One of the major benefits of using a magnetic filter is that to maintain its operation all you have to do is clean the trapped dirt from the surface of the magnet.
Vehicles with automatic transmissions oftentimes have a magnet in the fluid pan which serves the purpose of sequestering magnet particles to prolong the life of the media used in the oil filter.
Centrifugal Oil Filters
Centrifugal oil filters work by using a rotary design that removes contaminants by way of using centrifugal force instead of gravity. Pressurized oil is routed into the center of the housing as it passes through to the drum rotor where it spins on a seal and bearing.
The rotary has two integrated jet nozzles that transfer a stream of oil to the inner housing which rotates the drum in return. The remaining oil then slides to the bottom of the housing wall where oil contaminants become stuck to the housing wall.
Once this happens, you need to clean the housing because if not the drum will not be able to rotate which will result in recirculated oil going back into your engine.
High-Efficiency Oil Filters
High-efficiency oil filters are essential bypass filters that are designed to provide you with extended oil drain intervals. HE filters come with pore sizes of up to 3 micrometers which helps to reduce the rate of wear that your engine experiences over time. HE filters have been proven to increase drain intervals up to 5-10 times.
Cartridge & Spin-on Oil Filters
Cartridge & Spin-on oil filters are the oldest type of oil filter. They contain a permanent housing unit that comes with a replaceable oil filter. The housing of the cartridge is fastened directly to the engine block or it is connected remotely using supply and return pipes which connect it to the engine.
These are also the main type of oil filters available on the market today as they provide a simple and easy way for you to replace your oil filter without dealing with too much of a mess.
Sedimentation Oil Filters
Sedimentation filters are also known as gravity bed filters and they separate contaminants from your oil by allowing particles heavier than the oil to settle near the bottom. The containments in your oil then settle towards the bottom of a certain container under the influence of gravity.
You’ll find oil filters of all types available on the market, each of them comes with their own set of benefits and disadvantages depending on the model and make of your vehicle.
What is the best oil filter to buy?
There is no set oil filter that is “better” or considered to be the “best” one, that decision will rely on a variety of factors including how many miles you want to get out of your chosen filter, the type of engine in your vehicle, your vehicle’s compatibility with different types of oil filters, the type of oil you use in your car, and more.
If you’re unsure about which type of oil filter is best for your needs, you should consider seeking the help of a professional automotive technician who will be able to give you detailed information about which oil filters are compatible with your vehicle.
This is the best way to ensure that you’re installing the most efficient and effective oil filter on your vehicle according to your driving demands and the specific needs of your car.
With that being said, our go-to oil filter is a high-performance one. It is hard to go wrong with K&N, and we can confidently recommend the K&N HP-1003 Performance Wrench-Off Oil Filter. It is versatile and provides high performance for many types of vehicles.
FAQ’s About Car Oil Filters
Debris can and will make its way into your engine oil over time while you’re driving on the road consistently. Because of this dirt accumulation, your oil will lose its viscosity over time meaning that it will start to become thinner and thinner.
This can lead to debris being carried into your engine along with your oil which can cause serious performance issues over time. Oil filters help to separate these contaminants from your oil allowing it to maintain its viscosity while also blocking any debris from making its way into your engine.
There is a wide range of particles that can make their way into your engine oil, some of the most common types include metal debris, dirt fragments, and other sorts of grime created while driving on the road.
Every oil filter will come with a pre-determined mileage level such as 5,000 miles, 7,000 miles, etc. These mileage stamps indicate when you should change your oil filter so read the instructions of your selected filter in order to know when it’s time to replace it.
Alternatively, a good rule of thumb is that you should change your oil filter each time you replace your car engine oil to ensure no leftover build-up impacts the new oil’s ability to flow.
Car oil filters are very important when it comes to sustaining the proper functionality and operation of your vehicle. Before you go out and purchase a new oil filter for your car, make sure that you read over all of the sections we’ve included in this article so that you will be able to make the right decision according to your specific vehicle’s needs.
As long as you take the time to study the specs of your selected oil filter before purchasing it and confirming it’s combability with your vehicle, you should have no problem sustaining the operational performance of your engine for years to come.