Car enthusiasts and mechanics alike share some common bits and pieces of knowledge that help vehicles remain ‘alive’ for years to come. The inner workings of any internal combustion engine keep true to some universal rules, and an essential one is: lubrication, lubrication, lubrication.

Choosing the right oil for your engine is one decision worth considering carefully, before going for a long drive. However, it pays to ask: what about the oil filter? These vital components of your car ensure optimal lubrication and cooling of the engine, which is why you want to be sure that the oil filter you are using is of high quality and durable.

The first lesson should be: there is no “one size fits all”, when it comes to oil filters, but rest assured that the market will provide you with plenty of options to make the best decision for you car. In the meantime, let’s focus on acquiring the proper knowledge in order to make sure your favorite car will run for miles and miles.

Oil Filter Buyer Guide

Oil Filter Buyer Guide

Tim Mossholder / unsplash.com

How Does An Oil Filter Work?

For those of you who hated the anatomy class in school, we apologize, but it would be fair to compare the oil filter with your kidneys. These relatively rarely thought about components are vital for your car, and their purpose is to prevent debris, particulates, and metal shards from entering your engine and putting your vehicle to rest.

Motor oil enters the oil filter through a few little holes, passes through the filter media and returns to the engine. That’s why you need the best oil filters and you need to change them regularly.

Replacing the Oil Filter

replacing the oil filter

AMSOIL

Official recommendation from vehicle manufacturers should always be considered, but the safest way to go about it is to change the oil filter whenever you change the oil itself – since you will be draining the used oil anyway.

In terms of miles, you should change the oil in your engine somewhere between 3,000 miles and 10,000 miles, but that also depends on driving style and environment – do you particularly drive your car in the city, whilst in an urban environment? That would mean you should consider changing your oil at 5,000 miles.

Not remembering when you last changed your oil or oil filter should be reason enough to go about doing so – as quickly as possible. It’s always recommended to get your regular services done by a professional, at a recognized dealer, thus ensuring the vehicle’s service history will be legitimate and the warranty remains valid.

Types of Oil Filters

Types of Oil Filters

ACDelco

With such a diverse market, it feels only natural for vehicles to use different types of oil filters, and the most frequently encountered are:

  • Canister oil filters – a pre-made steel canister, tightened onto the engine, that do not require you to drain the oil before changing it.
  • Spin-on oil filters – a canister with a paper filter element inside, which enquire minimal tools to replace – a quick DYI job.

Obviously, there are other types of oil filters as well, but that’s beside the point.

What’s interesting is that, some manufacturers will fit a second oil filter to the car. While the main one filters dirt, debris, and contaminants, the second unit is designed to collect small number of contaminants that the primary filter might have missed.

The Right Oil Filter

The Right Oil Filter

FRAM

With so many options, it can be prove difficult to narrow down your choices and buy the ideal filter for your car. Here are some tips that might help point you in the right direction.

  • Filter Type – what if you need a specific kind of filter? As long as you have a little general knowledge and ask a few specialized mechanics, you’ll have no trouble finding the correct option.
  • Filter Size –you will need to know what size your oil filter has to be in order for the vehicle to work properly. Please check your vehicle’s current oil filter, or take a look at your vehicle’s manual – knowing your vehicle’s make, model, and year is a must if you plan on purchasing a new oil filter.
  • Oil Filter Finder – considering the previous statement, an online tool might just be the best and fastest solution available in our effort to find the proper oil filter.

Oil Filter Failure

Engine Oil Warning Light

Engine Oil Warning Light / europlusautomotive.com

There are some symptoms, some hard to miss signs that any driver should pay attention to – signs that might point towards your filter failing.

  • Engine Light – if dirty oil starts circulating in the engine or contaminants build up within, the Low Engine Oil Light will come on – in some cases a Low Oil Pressure Light will do the same.
  • Noticeable Leaks – if you notice oil leaking from your vehicle, this may happen because a failing oil filter has no capability to adapt to temperature changes anymore.
  • Overheating – oil filter failure is one of the many possible reasons an engine might overheat, one reason you should be careful of. If the filter loses its capability to prevent contaminants from building, this will wear out the engine. Feel free to go for an overall check-up if this happens.

How to Replace the Oil Filter

How to Replace the Oil Filter

Replacing the Oil Filter / championautoparts.com

First of all: please change your own oil filter only if you’re sure of what you’re doing. Causing more problems or hurting yourselves will not solve anything. Second, changing your oil filter can only be done when the vehicle is stationary and off. The engine should be a bit warm and turned off.

Sure, it might also be a good idea to have you wear protective gloves and coveralls during the job, and even make use of a mask and goggles for extra protection. 

The rest, is all a matter of somewhat mediocre mechanical skills and knowledge that will have you running your car once more in no time at all. Whatever you do, do not allow any oil to enter the drains; it is destructive to the eco-systems that depend on fresh water.

Once everything is over and done, start the engine and listen for any abnormal sounds. Use the dipstick to check the oil level and if it is not between the indicated minimum and maximum levels, it might need adjusting – too little, add more; too much, it’s down to draining the oil once more.

Without further ado, let’s mention the biggest oil filter brands on the market and offer you a short list of cash-worthy products for you to choose from.

Bosch Oil Filters

Bosch Oil Filters

Bosch Oil Filters

Bosch was founded in Stuttgart, Germany, by Robert Bosch. Originally focused on delivering the first commercial development of the spark plug, the company is now one of the biggest names in the automotive field and a top option when it comes to oil filters.

Bosch is a leading manufacturer of auto parts and their oil filters meet the OEM requirements, having proven to be highly efficient over the years when it comes to protecting the engine.

They produce all sorts of oil filters for various car brands. In general, the brand’s products feature a metal bypass string and an anti-drain back silicone valve. Sure, the fact that these filters also feature a pre-lubricated gasket might have something to do with their popularity levels.

Considering the company’s well-proven 99% efficient oil filters, it should not come as a surprise why most people chose Bosch products.

View Prices on Amazon

Purolator Oil Filters

Purolator Oil Filters

Purolator Oil Filters

Purolator – “pure oil later” – is a Canadian company known for delivering top-notch oil filters for synthetic oils. With products manufactured in the US, this company has been around for over 90 years.

By collaborating with Mann+Hummel, this oil filter brand ensures its customers of nothing but the best filtration products around. Offering more than 2,000 options, Purolator will easily deliver you a compatible oil filter for your vehicle.

Reliable, as well as affordable, the oil filters bearing the company’s logo will last for as many as 10,000 miles thanks to the use of high-density media that ensures an optimal flow of oil.

View Prices on Amazon

K&N Oil Filters

K&N Oil Filters

K&N Oil Filters

In 1969, Ken Johnson and Norm McDonald founded a company focused on manufacturing motorcycles and motorcycle components. Nowadays, true enthusiasts know the company for its involvement in designing high-performance components and for its involvement with a factory race team.

Based in California, the company also has production sites in England, the Netherlands, and China. They produce air filters, oil filters, cold air intake systems, and high-quality aftermarket designs that usually receive quite a lot of attention.

K&N oil filters are quite efficient and some of the best options available – how does 99% efficiency sound like? Sturdy and built to last, these oil filters will work better for conventional or blended oils; leave synthetic choices to other companies.

Did we mention these are an easy fit? We did say K&N was focused on performance, speed and efficiency.

View Prices on Amazon

Mobil 1 Oil Filters

Mobil 1 Oil Filters

Mobil 1 Oil Filters

Yet another familiar name has made it onto our list, renowned brand Mobil 1 has been known to deliver quality engine oils, which is why the trusted motor oil has been used by many manufacturers even when new cars leave the assembly plant.

Did you know that Mobil 1 developed the world’s first synthetic motor oil? Throughout automotive history and development efforts, this company has often been associated with motorsport.

However, the company is also known for protecting vehicle engines with the aid of their own oil filters. High efficiency and durability is what most people are looking for in an oil filter, which is where the team over at Mobil 1 comes in. Their oil filters brag about 99.6% efficiency, that’s why the company is associated with some one of the best oil filters out there.

Mobil 1 oil filters can last up to 15,000 miles even with synthetic oils, which is no small thing. Testament to the company’s quality products is their collaboration with Champions Laboratory Inc., a name that has established a reputation as a top filtration equipment manufacturer.

View Prices on Amazon

Motorcraft Oil Filters

Motorcraft Oil Filters

Motorcraft Oil Filters

Car brands like Mercury, Lincoln, and Ford are known for releasing some impressive vehicles “into the wild”. However, most of you are probably not aware of the fact that Motorcraft oil filters were chosen by the aforementioned car manufacturers and others, as their OEM choices – Original Equipment Manufacturer.

Motorcraft is nowadays Ford’s partner for aftermarket parts, which is why customers can rest assured that all Motorcraft-designed components, including oil filters, have been made to OEM standards.

This oil filter brand is one of the trusted suppliers of oil filters. Well designed and affordable, these products are supplied by Purolator – the manufacturer of Motorcraft oil filters.

Based in North Carolina, this company promises 93% efficiency for its oil affordable and high-quality filters, which are said to protect your engine from contaminants like carbon, sand, and metal bits.

View Prices on Amazon

AMSOIL Oil Filters

AMSOIL Oil Filters

AMSOIL Oil Filters

As you may have noticed by now, there are various brands active when it comes to the filtration industry, offering lots of different automotive oil filters. For instance, AMSOIL has been around since 1972, playing the very same game and being quite good at it.

This company has been mostly focused on premium oil filters for years know, with each unit produced from the best materials. These very effective filters ensure up to 98.7% filtration, which is why drivers know for sure that only clean oil lubricates their engine.

According to official word, AMSOIL oil filters are expected as many as 15,000 miles and, as with any other oil filter, you should change it after 1 year of usage – whether you drive for that many miles or not.

Yet again, Champions Laboratory Inc. joined in and delivered high-quality oil filters for the company. Although AMSOIL filters may seem a bit pricy, you should not let that discourage you from putting their high-quality products to the test.

View Prices on Amsoil

Fram Oil Filters

Fram Oil Filters

Fram Oil Filters

Responsible for making the modern oil filter, this oil filter brand was founded back in 1932 by Frederick Franklin and T. Edward Aldham – hence the odd name. Credited with producing one of the first easy-to-replace oil filters, the company is still keeping at it and is known for delivering some of the best oil filters on the market.

A famous name today, FRAM can easily be recognized thanks to the iconic and attractive orange finishing. However, the fact that the company develops top-quality filters should really help it stand out from a crowd.

With plenty of oil filter choices on offer, regardless of what car you are driving, FRAM oil filters possess a proprietary filter media that allows them to achieve a high efficiency when it comes to keeping tour engine’s oil pure.

Better yet, drivers require little automotive skills and repair knowledge before installing the brand’s oil filters. Also affordable, these filters – manufactured by the Crowne Group LLC subsidiary – were designed for daily drivers and those of you who are bent on frequent maintenance.

View Prices on Amazon

Baldwin Oil Filters

Baldwin Oil Filter

Baldwin Oil Filters

One of the most recognized names when it comes to heavy-duty oil filters, Baldwin is known for providing consumers with top-notch and highly efficient oil filters. Baldwin filters appear friendly to high-performance engines and heavy-duty applications, such as trucks.

One of the most desirable options on the market, or at least one of your top 5 choices each time you need a new oil filter, Baldwin designs filters that allow a good flow of oil and up to 85.44% efficiency.

Durable, yet affordable, these oil filters come manufactured by Parker Engine Mobile Aftermarket Division, an innovative company that keeps on improving upon its own designs – although they bear the Baldwin logo.

View Prices on Amazon

Royal Purple Oil Filters

Royal Purple Oil Filters

Royal Purple Oil Filters

In 1986, John Williams founded Royal Purple, with the name choice based around 0n funny story. It seems that a customer said that he had never seen purple oil before, and that gave Williams an idea. The company is focused on producing synthetic engine oils, among other things – yes, oil filters are also on the list.

In 2004, Royal Purple acquired a trademark to be the only company permitted to sell lubricants in purple containers – I bet you are smiling now. Meanwhile, things are serious, with the brand developing oil filters that filter 25-micron contaminants at a 99% filtration efficiency.

As a subsidiary of Calumet Specialty Products Partners, the brand is known for delivering high-quality products – please note, we are dealing with efficient oil filters, not ones meant to be sturdy and durable.

Available at an affordable price, these products should be on your shopping list – at least once in your car’s lifetime.

View Prices on Amazon

ACDelco Oil Filters

ACDelco Oil Filters

ACDelco Oil Filters

Albert Champion, a Frenchman who set up business in America, had investors backing up his spark plug manufacturing company – Champion Ignition Company. However, that first business ended badly; this is why he set up another company.

The AC Spark Plug Company was backed by Buick and ended up being called ACDelco – well, actually, the United Delco Division merged with the AC Spark Plug Division before the aforementioned name was born.

General Motors owns Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac – just in case you were not aware of that by now. However, we are quite sure you did not know about the fact that General Motors is also ACDelco’s parent company. As such, owners of GM-based vehicles might consider their options carefully before making a choice and check out ACDelco’s range.

The brand only manufacture high-quality oil filters, promising optimum performance. Are you ready to experience something beyond what you expect in oil filters, in terms of design, fit, and features?

View Prices on Amazon

MANN Oil Filters

MANN Oil Filters

MANN Oil Filters

This company is focused on getting the very best out of every engine, which translates into optimum filtration. Whether you’re a workshop mechanic doing annual vehicle services or a simple man passionate about cars and DYI jobs, the best engine oil filters will put a smile on your face.. That’s what MANN is all about.

With over 70 years worth of experience, this brand is known for designing and engineering filtration solutions that meet any demands. Frictionless functionality, optimal performance – this is what these oil filters promise, while extracting residue and impurities.

Offering an extensive product range that supports a variety of older engines, MANN is one of the world’s leading produces of filters – regardless of manufacturers – all made to OEM specifications.

One of the best examples of quality work, the company’s oil filters show high build quality and high capabilities of holding dirt, contaminants, and particulates. Based around a metal-free construction, these oil filters won’t produce ash when disposed of.

Who could say ‘no’ to clean components, optimum operation and long-lasting engines?

View Prices on Amazon

Wix Oil Filters

Wix Oil Filters 

Wix Oil Filters

Founded in Gastonia, North Carolina, back in 1939, Wix is a brand that became popular once it came up with a spin-on oil filter design. Having quickly become the standard across the entire industry, the company started grossing impressive revenues.

Nowadays, Wix produces over 210 million filters each year, bragging about a very large product range and an impressive presence on the automotive aftermarket. Are you in need of oil, fuel, and air filters? Wix has got you covered.

This is a brand known for several effective products, including an extensive oil filter line that covers a wide variety of options and car models. Whether you are driving a mid-sized sedan, a truck, or something more lightweight, this manufacturer should is well worth considering before making a purchase.

Keen on delivering premium quality, thanks to the use of synthetic materials, the company allows customers to enjoy up to 99% efficiency. The Wix name has been around for 80 years now, and the company’s supplier is Mann+Hummel – a very familiar name and global market leader in the filtration industry.

Did we mention that these affordable oil filters are manufactured in the US?

View Prices on Amazon

Oil Filters FAQs

Oil Filters FAQs

Royal Purple

Q: Is there a significant difference between oil filter of different names?

Yes, and no. Motor oil producers would suggest that any oil filter would work just fine. In theory, any oil filter brand should provide products that should keep potentially unwanted particles from reaching the engine. However, different brands have varying oil filters and experienced drivers and mechanics have been known to hint towards one brand or other that does the job better.

Q: What happens if you use a cheap oil filter?

As with any other products, cheap oil filters will quickly prove inefficient, due to the poorly chose materials used in their construction. Most daily-drivers would benefit from a fairly-priced oil filter, which will deliver great value in the long run.

Q: How many miles will an oil filter last for?

There are excellent options on the market that promise 10,000 to 25,000 miles, if you plan on going for premium products. Nevertheless, we recommend you change your car’s oil filter with every oil change.