Protect Your Car With The Best Oil Filter
Maintain your engine by picking the right oil filters.
Updated October 27, 2018
Oil filters are a crucial aspect to your vehicle’s maintenance. They help to keep your motor running reliably and smoothly at all times. Many people choose to perform their own oil changes to save money and maintain control of the quality. That’s why it’s imperative that you pick the best oil filter when changing your oil. After all, if you don’t take care of your engine, your vehicle is sure to fail on you down the road. We’ve put together this extensive review of the best oil filter options currently available to make the selection easier for you.
What is an Oil Filter?
Oil filters are one of the essential aspects of maintaining a car. It essentially filters out all the contaminants and small particles from your oil. It’s your engine’s first line of defense against any impurities. With your oil filter, the engine would wear out due to all the damage. Consider your oil filter operates much as your kidneys do on your body.
The oil filter contains many parts, including the filter medium, tapping plate, pleats center, anti-drain back valve, relief valve, steel tub, retainer, and end disc. The primary media filters particles that are as small as 25 to 30 microns. Then, the secondary media prevents particles as little as 5 to 10 microns from passing through. Longer filters are better because there are more contaminants filtered in the process.
Types of Oil Filters
There are a bunch of varying types of oil filters, so it’s crucial you pick the best oil filter for your vehicle.
Mechanical Oil Filter
The filtering media in this product uses bulk materials such as pleated fiber paper or cotton waste. Then, the contaminants are suspended. As the dirt gets filtered out, the oil flow slows down due to the build-up of substances in the filter. They need to be replaced often.
Spin-On and Cartridge Oil Filter
At first, oil filters featured a cartridge construction. This supplied a permanent housing with a replaceable media. Then, the spin-on assembly was unveiled. This features a self-contained housing with a component that’s replaceable. There are numerous products used for filtering out harmful elements, but now they tend to step away from the traditional materials such as cellulose, fiber paper, and cardboard.
Magnetic Oil Filter
These use electromagnets to suspend the particles separate from the oil flow. The best thing about having this type of filter is that you only have to clean the filter. While this makes oil changes easy, there might be some harmful effects of the filtering component.
Sedimentation Oil Filter
This is also referred to as a gravity bed oil filter. That’s because it allows the contaminants which are heavier than the oil to be suspended through the use of gravity.
Centrifugal Oil Filter
This filter operates like the sedimentation construction, but through a centrifuge design instead of with gravity. The oil flows through the housing into a drum rotor. This features two nozzles that allow the oil to settle. Then, the drum begins to rotate. The oil easily passes through to the motor, but the contaminants get stuck. Because of the design, it’s important they are cleaned regularly.
HE (High-Efficiency) Oil Filter
This works like a bypass filter which uses longer draining intervals. Because of the pore size, the engine wear is reduced.
Oil Filter Brands
It’s never wise to purchase your oil filter from brands which aren’t reputable. We favor five brands in particular if you need to know who’s trustworthy. Mobil 1 oil filters have been around longer than most companies and are known for their affordable filters. They average an efficiency of 99.6%, which is plenty for most vehicles. In addition, they utilize an aluminum canister to withstand maximum operating pressures.
Fram is the ideal brand if you’re operating on a budget because they’re some of the cheapest, yet still reliable filters on the market. The efficiency rating of these runs about 95%. A popular brand among performance enthusiasts is Royal Purple. They’re similar in design to the Mobil 1, but feature a thicker shell for maximum durability and to tolerate high pressures. The efficiency is 99% and they’ll filter out particles as tiny as 25 microns.
The Motorcraft oil filters use an innovative design that utilizes multi-pass efficiency. It filters out dust, metal bits, abrasives, and carbon with ease. They even have pressure relief valves to ensure that the oil supply is uniform even during colder temperatures. In addition, they feature a steel casing construction to prevent rust and corrosion.
ACDelco oil filters have a rating of 98% and collect particles as small as 25 to 30 microns because of the filtering nets. With their aluminum shell and thermosetting seal, these have a high tolerance and offer superior performance no matter what the weather is.
Choosing the Best Oil Filter for Your Vehicle
When you set out to purchase the best oil filter, it helps if you know what to look for.
Type of Filter
You need to know what kind of filter your vehicle runs. If you choose the wrong one, it might not attach properly. This leads to leaking. Turn to your owner’s manual or local parts store to figure out what’s best for your car’s needs. Many locations feature an oil filter lookup so you can find the model perfect for you.
Oil filters feature different filtration media. Most of them come with either synthetic materials, micro glass, or cellulose. The cellulose construction suspends the contaminants that are 8 to 10 microns in size and cleans anywhere through 40% of the oil. These need to be replaced most often.
Most high-quality oil filters use synthetic media. That removes 50% of particles from 20 to 40 microns in size plus 24% of the microns ranging from 8 to 10 microns.
Micro glass, on the other hand, is the preferred media for the highest line of oil filters. That’s because they produce less oil flow restriction, so you don’t need to change them that often.
An oil filter’s capacity refers to the ability it has to hold the contaminants. This number is determined by the media used combined with the quality of build. The higher the capacity, the longer you’ll go between filter changes, which saves you money and time.
Most of the filters have capacities that hold at least 10 grams. If you reach capacity, the unfiltered oil passes through seamlessly which is why you need to replace them as recommended.
You want an oil filter constructed from the best materials to ensure it holds up to high pressure and remains durable. The best oil filters are built from aluminum or steel instead of plastic.
Easy to Install
You need to be able to replace your oil filter by yourself, without help from anyone. This is true whether you’re a mechanic or simple home user. With that said, not every design is easy to install which is why you must consider the flexibility before making a purchase. Watch the housing design, weight, and size of the filter you seek to purchase.
How Often Should I Replace the Oil Filter?
This is a common question that doesn’t have a straightforward answer. Just like your oil needs to be changed regularly, the filter must be maintained as well. Your oil filter works to keep you running smoothly, so you must take care of it. Otherwise, you’ll allow contaminants to build-up and make their way into your engine. Most people change their filter every time they perform an oil change. Most of the time, this occurs every 3 to 6 months but depends on the vehicle you own and the type of oil you use.
Signs Your Oil Filter is Failing
Most times you can’t tell that your oil filter is about to fail until your engine doesn’t run as smoothly. Many filters have a safety feature that allows the unfiltered oil to circulate when it doesn’t work properly. That’s because having contaminated oil is better than having none. Even still, there are some clear symptoms your car will express to get your attention when the oil filter needs to be changed.
- Your engine light might turn on.
- Oil begins leaking from your vehicle due to the lack of capability.
- Engine starts to overheat.
The Ten Best Oil Filters Reviewed
Here are our picks for the ten best oil filters. Remember to make sure you get the one that fits your car’s engine.
WIX Filters – 51348 Spin-On Lube Filter
This spin-on filter utilizes a pleated paper construction to filter out debris and dirt from the oil. What most people like about this style of filter is the ease of installation. They also don’t require much maintenance. While they aren’t as cheap as a Fram filter, they’re on the inexpensive side, but also feature high customer ratings.
The filter comes with a mounting plate, gasket, inner element tube, and center tube. The best part about these is that you don’t even need an oil filter wrench for installation or removal.
Purolator PL14610 PurolatorONE Oil Filter
While these are priced comparably to the lower-priced filters, they have something extra going for them. This is a top-ranked filter when evaluating based on the SAE filtration test. They last for 10,000 miles and promise 99% dirt removal.
There’s a silicone anti-drainback valve which lasts longer compared to a convention nitrile. This protects you from oil leaks and dry starts. In addition, this design features metal end caps which offer integrity and stability for wear resistance. The long-lasting, durable PTFE-coated design is also simple to remove and install.
FRAM PH7317 Extra Guard Passenger Car Spin-On Oil Filter
At some of the lowest prices on the market, FRAM is a leader for people that want to stick to their budget and protect their engine. You’ll be able to get one of these filters for about half the price as a Royal Purple or Mobil 1 filter.
They also feature 95% efficiency, so it isn’t as good as many of the others. If you change your oil every 5,000 miles, you should be able to use these filters without an issue.
ACDelco PF2232 Professional Engine Oil Filter
If you want a reasonably priced option that protects your engine with an efficiency rating of up to 98%, the ACDelco line is a great place to start. It’s effective at removing debris as tiny as 30 microns. While the aluminum shell isn’t quite as durable as some others, there’s plenty of durability for the average user. In addition, it has a thermosetting adhesive seal to prevent leaks.
ACDelco Professional is compatible with 97% of vehicles, so you should have no trouble getting the one that fits your needs. ACDelco is used by many professional shops, so you know you’re getting a high-quality filter for your vehicle with this option.
Bosch 3330 Premium FILTECH Oil Filter
Bosch makes almost every engine component you might need, so it makes sense to trust them with your oil filter. This one uses their patented FILTECH screen which achieves virtually flawless efficiency. The aluminum shell paired with a steel base plate prevents warpage from the high pressure and heat.
The silicone anti-drain-back valve helps to prevent you from dry starts. The company recommends using Castrol motor oil in conjunction with this filter for the best results. In addition, you can expect easy removal even though there’s a high lubricity gasket design that provides a tighter seal.
Royal Purple 341777 Extended Life Filter
This Royal Purple filter is the cream of the crop, providing superior protection for performance engines. This extended life filter uses micro-glass which removes debris down to 25 microns. It’s rated at 99% efficiency, so you know your engine is safe.
The aluminum shell is extra thick to add durability. In addition, it comes with an anti-drain-back-valve that’s made with silicone and helps to prevent dry starting. We especially like the metal end-caps which provide a positive seal plus the heavy-gauge steel back that offers higher burst strength.
Mobil 1 M1-110 Extended Performance Oil Filter
This is always one of the best oil filters to purchase because of the advanced synthetic fiber construction that removes contaminants at a 99.6% efficiency rating. The aluminum canister is also sturdy and holds up under 615 PSI worth of pressure.
There’s also an anti-drain-back valve which prevents dry starts. When compared to many other filters, this one holds 28 grams of capacity, which is about double.
Motorcraft FL820S Silicone Valve Oil Filter
Here’s another budget-friendly option for you to consider when looking for the best oil filters. Use this filter to reduce dirt and debris in your standard engines. Even though it features a low price, it still comes with the silicone anti-drain back so you don’t experience dry starts.
The pressure relief valve prevents oil from circulating back, which is helpful in cooler weather. The steel case also provides you with a precise fit and it will hold up to 12 grams, which is sufficient for your 5,000-mile oil change schedule.
K&N HP-1008 Performance Wrench-Off Oil Filter
If you need the best oil filters for your SUV, truck, or car, then K&N is another fabulous option. They’re not overly priced but feature many high-performance aspects. The heavy-duty construction withstands even the most extreme conditions plus traps 99% of contaminants.
With the 1-inch nut, filter removal is simple. In addition, they feature the anti-drain back valve which eliminates any dry starts. It’s the ideal solution for those that need to stick to a budget but still want a high-quality oil filter.
Mann-Filter HU 816 X Metal-Free Oil Filter
If you need a BMW oil filter, the Mann is the best way to go. It comes with everything you need and contains a specially designed pleat formation for additional filtering. This high capacity filter stores the impurities it removes from your oil.
Because of the design, this filter is also easily recyclable, which makes it ideal for anyone that cares about the environment. The downside is that these are a little more complicated to put on than most filters. That isn’t because of the construction, but mainly just because of the BMW setup. If you aren’t sure how to get one of these on properly, it’s best to consult with a trained mechanic instead.
Now that we’ve discussed all the best oil filters on the market and how they work, it’s time to pick the one that’s right for you. Make sure you choose the appropriate size because the ones we listed above were simply examples. Invest in a high-quality brand if you don’t want to change your filter as often. Otherwise, you can stick to a budget option for your standard oil change maintenance. Keep your engine running smoothly by changing the oil filter often. Your car will thank you by running longer without the need of as many major repairs.