What Is It?

An oil filter is a car part that serves to remove contaminants and particles of dirt from engine oil and lubricating oil. They are used in different types of motor vehicles and are installed in internal combustion engines, as well as hydraulic systems. Oil filters are crucial for having engine protected against wearing. How do they work? The outer part of the filter (a metal can) is pressed against engine’s mating surface. The base of the can is perforated, and inside there’s filter material (as a rule, synthetic fiber is used) that cleans engine oil. Filtered oil goes back into the engine through the central passage.

Types of Oil Filters

Different car models require various types of oil filters (they differ by construction, filter material and the principle of work). They can be divided into the following categories:

  • Primary oil filters clean 100% of the engine oil and have minor flow restrictions.
  • Secondary oil filters process 1-10% of engine oil to clear it from extra contaminants and work independently from the primary filters. They are used to change oil filter less frequently.
  • The conventional oil filter is a type of secondary filters that contains cellulose membranes and removes smaller particles of contaminants.
  • Thermal chamber oil filters both clean motor oil and heat it up so that contaminants in the engine oil could be destroyed. They work by consuming electricity, which is why such filters aren’t recommended for cars with low fuel efficiency.
  • Spinner filters consist of a membrane and a housing chamber and serve to ‘trap’ oil contaminants and prevent leaking.
  • Magnetic oil filters are basically used to get rid of metallic particles from the motor oil, while they’re inefficient against dust and dirt. If you use it, you don’t need to perform oil and filter change – just clean the filter regularly.

Product comparison table: best oil filter

 

FRAM XG7317

Bosch Premium oil filter combines natural and synthetic media for better cleaning

Bosch 3330

MANN filter can work with any type of media and is suitable for all oils

Mann-Filter W 719/45

Mobil 1 features a synthetic blend media for removing majority of contaminants

Mobil 1 M1-110

Pack of 5 Honda oil filters is a very cost-efficient option

Honda 15400-PLM-A01

Toyota filters can be used in all models of car engines

Toyota  04152-YZZA1

Racers and motorcyclists choose K&N oil filters

 Honda Powersports

Media Synthetic Mixed (natural & synthetic) Varies Synthetic blend Synthetic Mixed (synthetic and cellulose) Synthetic with uniform pleats
Type of oil Synthetic All Lube oils, hydraulic oils, and coolants All All All High-quality synthetic oil
Installation parts Basic with SureGrip anti-slip texture Double-locked rolled seam Basic with bypass and non-return valve Standard with silicone anti-drain back valve Basic filter without extra devices Genuine OEM – direct fit, comes with O-ring Comes as a genuine part, but without O-ring
Durability up to 20,000 miles 12,000 miles Works perfectly for the first 3,000 – 3,500 miles 10,000 miles and more About 7,500 miles 5,000 miles 10,000 miles and more
Warranty 6 months 1 year 12 months from the installation of the part Manufacturer’s warranty 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year
Efficiency Removes 99% of dirt Removes 30% more dirt than usual filters Removes up to 99% of dirt 99.6% dirt removing capacity

70% of particles smaller than 30 microns, and 85% of particles 45 microns and larger

Up to 99% of dirt Up to 99% of dirt
Frequency of replacement After 15,000 miles After 10,000 miles 1 year, or 10,000 miles (recommended by car manufacturers). Every 10-15,000 miles After 5,000 – 7,500 miles After 5,000 with synthetic oil, 10,000 miles with other oils Ideally – after 5,000 miles
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Fast Facts

An oil filter and parts for installation

  1. Filters in different car models differ dramatically: a filer in a racecar is not the same as a device in a passenger’s car. The same applies to the vehicles of different age and purpose.
  2. Traditional oil filters in a passenger car engine, oil is charged through the filter pad that’s a part of the engine block. Oil circulates via small perforation on the outer cover of the filter and goes back to the engine via the threaded hole under the pointer.
  3. Oil filters serve to protect engine parts (valvetrain, camshaft and connecting rods) from contaminants which cause wearing and damage. These parts are expensive, so the choice of the oil filter is crucial.
  4. In case the membrane of the filter clogs, producers include a fail-proof bypass valve that redirects motor oil around the membrane so that the engine was still lubricated.
  5. Microglass filter media is used in the vast majority of top-notch oil filters and can retain particles of contaminants that are 10 times smaller than the ones filtered by cellulose fiber.

How We Chose Oil Filters

In order to create this Top-7, we read hundreds of oil filter reviews and consumer reports and thoroughly examined oil filter ratings on different independent websites, which helped us to reveal the most worthy models. To perform oil filter comparison, we took into consideration the most important item characteristics: material, durability, warranty, price, and compatibility with different car models.

TOP7 Oil Filters

Read every oil filter review to figure out the most suitable option for your car that fits your requirements and budget.

FRAM XG7317 Ultra Synthetic Spin-On Oil Filter with Sure Grip

FRAM oil filter comes with dual-layer media from cellulose and synthetic materials, as well as a metal screen. It retains about 99% of dirt particles and features an anti-drain valve that holds oil and guarantees a trouble-free start-up with engine protection up to 15,000 miles. FRAM oil filter guide claims this device is designed for being used with synthetic oil only.

Pros:

  • According to FRAM oil filter reviews, this model preserves excellent performance and ensures protection up to 15,000-20,000 miles.
  • Features Sure Grip coating that eases installation and removal preventing slipping.
  • Relatively cheap.

Cons:

  • Medium quality: some buyers claim they’ve received defective filters.

Bosch 3330 Premium FILTECH Oil Filter

Bosch oil filter is made with FILTECH media technology (e.g. combines natural and synthetic media) that allows removing more contaminants ensuring outstanding protection. Anti-drain back valve is made of silicone, which prevents leaking and bad fit, as well as reliable steel base plates. The gasket is properly lubricated for easy removal and installation.

Pros:

  • Double-locked seam prevents leaking.
  • Has a thicker media than conventional analogs, e.g. filters better.

Cons:

  • Larger and heavier than usual filters, so it may not be suitable for some engines.
  • While some Bosch oil filter reviews mentioned using this model in lawn mowers, it is NOT designed for anything except cars.
MANN filter can work with any type of media and is suitable for all oils

Mann-Filter W 719/45 Spin-on Oil Filter

What makes Mann one of the best oil filter brands is the fact that models come with various filter media. It ensures optimal separation of dirt particles while preserving a high holding capacity. Housing is reliable and protected against corrosion: it has a high pulsation and pressure stability. Bypass valves ensure tight closing without leaking, while non-return valve prevents pressure spikes.

Pros:

  • Can be used with different types of oils (lubes, hydraulic oils, etc.);
  • Versatile model fits many cylinder engines of cars of different brands.

Cons:

Although it’s supposed to be replaced after every 10,000 miles passed, some drivers recommend performing Mann oil filter change more regularly.

Mobil 1 features a synthetic blend media for removing majority of contaminants

Mobil 1 M1-110 Extended Performance Oil Filter

Mobil 1 oil filter is created to trap and keep more dirt than any other filter. The model is available in different variations: both cartridge and spin-on oil filters, which makes it suitable for 97% of vehicles. Besides, it can clean any motor oil (Mobil 1 Oils are recommended). Advanced synthetic blend media ensures removal of 99,6% of contaminants, and has an overall capacity of 28 grams holding double as many contaminants as any other filter. Mobil 1 oil filter helps to avoid dry starts by preventing internal leaking with the help of a silicone anti-drain back valve.

Pros:

  • works well with any oil type;
  • compatible with the majority of vehicles;
  • pretty low oil filter price;
  • withstands nine times higher operating pressure than many other filters.

Cons:

according to oil filter reviews, it shouldn’t be used with any Subaru model (can easily damage the engine, even if it fits well).

Pack of 5 Honda oil filters is a very cost-efficient option

Honda 15400-PLM-A01 Oil Filters Case of 5

If you’re looking for genuine parts for your Honda, consider ordering a pack of Honda oil filter (they come as cases of 3 and 5 filters). It contains a synthetic media and is suitable for filtering all types of oil. A01 model is preferred by the vast majority of Honda drivers because it’s versatile and fits different engines well. Pack of 5 filters is a very cost-efficient solution that saves both your time and money.

Pros:

  • versatile and efficient;
  • compatible with all Honda engines;
  • pretty cheap offer (considering the cost of a single item).

Cons:

  • drain plug washer is not included – it should be ordered separately.
Toyota filters can be used in all models of car engines

Toyota Genuine Parts 04152-YZZA1 Oil Filter

Toyota oil filter is a genuine Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) part that fits many Toyota vehicles ideally. The manufacturer guarantees exceptional quality and effectiveness of the parts and gives a one-year guarantee. Although the filter is supposed to be used with other Toyota filter products, it can also be combined with other filter brands. Since it’s a genuine part, it has a direct fit, but you will need a special device to install or replace it.

Pros:

  • removes up to 99% of dirt particles;
  • compatible with most Toyota engines and filters of other brands;
  • cheap
  • genuine quality.

Cons:

  • needs to be replaced pretty often (about 5.000 miles);
  • replacement process will be a mess if you don’t use special instruments.
Racers and motorcyclists choose K&N oil filters

K&N KN-113 Honda Powersports High-Performance Oil Filter

K&N oil filter is created to be used in racing cars and average motorcycles to ensure the best quality of filtration. It can be called the best oil filter for synthetic oil so far: this model traps and keeps the smallest contaminants even at very high oil flow speed. The filter is covered by manufacturer’s warranty, so no defects in materials will be present. If you follow manufacturer’s recommendations concerning filter change, you’ll definitely ensure flawless work of this part.

Pros:

  • suitable for the vast majority of racing cars and motorcycles;
  • high-quality media has uniform pleats;
  • perfect for high oil flow rates.

Cons:

  • does not fit all Honda models, so it’s not the same as OEM parts;
  • according to K&N oil filter reviews, it could be more convenient, if it came with a gasket and an O-ring.

Which oil filter do I need?

First and foremost, it depends on the type of oil you use – synthetic, or natural, or blended. Besides, you should check the whether an oil filter fits the engine of your car (this information can be found on manufacturer’s website, or you can ask other users).

Maintenance of Oil Filters, and How Often to Change Oil Filter

To ensure stable and safe work of an oil filter, you need to make sure it isn’t clogged with contaminants. Therefore, you need to know how often to change oil filter of this or that model. Some filters are better to be changed after passing 5,000 – 7,000 miles, while others can be replaced at longer intervals. If you don’t use your car frequently or don’t go at long distances, the oil filter should be replaced at least once a year.

How to change oil filter? You need simply to disconnect it from the engine and pour some new oil in it, then install a new filter and fix it firmly to avoid leaking. How to remove a stuck oil filter? For this purpose, you need to use a device to fix the filter and turn it (make sure you have enough space for it in the engine compartment.

Summary

After analyzing these seven superb oil filters, we’ve come to the conclusion that Mann and Mobil 1 are the most convenient and versatile models that can fit different car engines while being non-expensive. When searching for an oil filter, make sure it’s suitable for the type of oil you use, as well as your car.

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