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Oil is the lifeblood of your car engine. Or more precisely, clean oil. If you think about it, you need a fresh, quality filter screening out dirt and debris to keep your engine happy. Put bluntly, filtered oil protects and prolongs the life of your motor.
So, you don’t just want a good filter, you need the best oil filter. That is why we did the research and compiled a list of the 10 best oil filters for your review.
If you are pressed for time, no problem. In summary:
The Royal Purple Extended Life Premium Oil Filter was our best overall pick. It is designed as a premium filter and the specs along with the in-use performance back that claim up.
This filter is more expensive and you should use it with synthetic oil. But the Royal Purple Extended Life Oil Filter is your choice for superior engine protection.
Many products vied for the best of the rest. But the Mobil 1 M1-110 / M1-110A Oil Filter a good balance of features. Plus it comes with a 12 month/20,000 mile guarantee. It will appeal to a large number of drivers.
For those who want value, the Motorcraft FL-910S Oil Filter is affordable and has decent performance specs. This product happens to be the OEM part for Fords. But this oil filter comes in versions for most makes and models.
The following compilation contains the 10 best oil filters for gasoline street-legal engines.
Cost: $$︱Protection: 1 year or 20,000 miles︱Efficiency: 99.6%︱Dirt Capacity: 28 grams
When you think of brand names associated with gasoline and oil, Mobile will probably be one of them. So to no one’s surprise, Mobile also makes oil filters.
This particular filter owns some impressive performance stats. A 99.6% efficiency means great oil filtering. Plus, the filter can hold up to 28 grams of filtered dirt and debris. Twice the amount of some competitors.
You can also choose to use synthetic or conventional oil. In fact, Mobile makes a broad statement. They say this extended performance filter works with ALL oil types and brands.
Mobile also notes that the canister can withstand 9X the normal operating pressure. In other words, it has a strong housing.
A nitrile gasket prevents leaks and allows for easy on and off. It is also selected to provide the extended performance needed for a high mileage filter.
With a strong set of performance specs, and a good brand name, you would expect this oil filter to be expensive. But it is competitively priced and you get a lot of oil filter for the money.
Cost: $$︱Protection: 10,000 miles︱Efficiency: 99%︱Dirt Capacity: 15 grams
PurolatorONE’s rugged design makes a good filter for those who push their cars. You can also use conventional or synthetic oil. Plus, it is rated for city and highway driving, as well as towing. (For heavy towing, you want to step up to the PurolatorBOSS filter.)
The Blue PuroltorONE filter gives you 10,000 miles of protection. Purolator also claims a 99% dirt removal efficiency.
The construction incorporates high density media to remove contaminants. It also features a silicone anti-backflow valve to prevent oil leaks and dry starts. For a tight seal to the engine, a PTFE gasket makes for easy on and off and lasts a long time, too.
The internal end caps are metal. These are stable and solid to provide improved durability.
For the price, you get a well-designed and rugged filter built to protect your engine. The mileage rating is lower than some other filters and you may need to change this filter more often.
Cost: $$︱Protection: 24 month︱Efficiency: 98%
ACDelco is the OEM oil filter found on GM cars. But they also make oil filters for all makes and models.
They start with a strong shell designed to be burst resistant. Even after the oil reaches operating temperature.
The filter media traps particles down to 25 microns. That is about ⅓ the thickness of a human hair.
A nylon center tube is welded to the end plates. This arrangement supports and protects the filter media. This also eliminates the adhesive blocking of filter media found in competing oil filters. That means more filter area.
ACDelco did not publish a dirt capacity. But they do warrant this oil filter for 24 months, with an unlimited mileage. That is a strong guarantee.
So, if you want a solid filter with a long warranty, this product may be your best choice.
Cost: $︱Efficiency: 93%︱Dirt Capacity: 12 grams
Motorcraft is another well-known brand name, and for good reason. They are the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury. So, the filters must filter out carbon, sand, dust, and metal to meet performance standards.
But they also make filters for all makes of cars. And that starts with a steel case machined for a proper fit. The end is also fluted for a good grip during installation and removal. Plus, a coating provides corrosion protection to the housing.
Inside, there is more than just the filter media with well-bonded end caps. There is also a pressure relief valve. This maintains oil flow in extreme cold, or when the filter gets clogged. Plus, it keeps dirty oil from draining back into your engine.
All the materials used have superior heat resistance. Engines do get hot, and this extends the life of the filter. The silicone anti-drainback valve is a good example of this feature.
While this is not the most efficient filter on our list, it is inexpensive. You get a well-built, affordable filter that will definitely qualify as a best buy for many drivers.
Cost: $︱Protection: Change per engine manufacturer’s recommendation
You will spot a Wix decal on many race cars. But if you are not logging laps on the track, they also make a fine filter for your over-the-road vehicles.
This particular spin-on filter touts increased dirt capacity. But they did not publish an actual dirt hold capacity like some of the other manufacturers.
Wix did publish the amount of oil flow and it comes in at 7-9 gallons per minute (“gpm”). Also, the filter media catches particles down to 21 microns.
A rugged shell boasts a 275 psi burst pressure. The specifications did also note that the bypass valve kicks in around 8-11 psi.
They recommend you change your Wix filters per the auto manufacturer recommendations. They do not state a recommended mileage, or months, for their filter.
While WIX touts the test data, users also like this filter for its no nonsense performance. It does its job consistently and has earned a number of fans.
One special note, you may need a special cap wrench to install and remove this product. The top is domed and makes it difficult for some to remove.
Cost: $︱Protection: 10,000︱Efficiency: 99%
Fram has manufactured filters since 1932. It is a well-known name and has a good reputation for making consistent quality oil filters.
This Tough Guard filter continues the company’s heritage. You get 10,000 miles of coverage when using conventional or semi-synthetic oil.
Plus, Fram clearly states that the filter is intended for drivers who push their vehicles. Stop and go driving or towing, no problem. This filter is also meant for use in extreme weather.
A silicone anti-drainback valve prevents dry starts. It does so by keeping a reserve of fresh oil in the filter for when you crank the starter.
The black anti-slip texture on the shell makes for the most unique aspect of this filter. It allows you to securely grip it and makes for quick and easy oil filter changes.
In summary, this is a choice from a manufacturer that only makes filters at a competitive price. If you live in areas with extreme weather or drive aggressively, this oil filter may fit your needs.
Cost: $$︱Protection: per engine manufacturer’s instructions︱Efficiency: “Efficient”︱Dirt Capacity: “High”
You may not have heard of Mann filters before. But if you have a German car the odds are better that you do know them. Mann produced filters for the past 65 years and are used by many German auto manufacturers, such as Volkswagen.
To state the obvious, Germans are known for their solid designs and attention to detail. These Deutschland filters are no exception.
The housing is robust and protected against corrosion. Plus, the shell design provides pressure stability and high pulsation.
Inside, they use a durable filter media and seal rings. Mann is a bit secretive and only says the filter is long lasting and has a large dirt capacity. While there are no test results to back this up, this filter does have many loyal customers.
Also, they do say the filter media is “efficient” and the dirt capacity is “high.” They also claim to filter finer particles than other filters with minimal pressure drop. It would be nice to have data to back that up.
But they do tailor each filter for individual cars/engines to auto the manufacturer specifications. So, every filter model has unique performance data.
Also, they do go out of their way to mention you need to follow your car manufacturer instructions on oil and filter changes.
A silicone anti-drainback valve is used to prevent dry starts. In addition, a PTFE coated bypass valve is included. Interestingly, Mann states that each bypass valve is optimized to the engine/vehicle model it is made for; no one size fits all bypass in their products.
The German engineering and attention to detail show in the customized nature of each filter they make. You will pay a little more for this filter, but it is competitively priced for a well-designed import that is made to meet your car’s specifications.
When you are ready to change your oil, you should install a new oil filter, too. There are a few particulars you may want to know when shopping for one. We have list summarized these below.
The most obvious component of an oil filter is the outer shell or casing. It should be robust and stand up to the pressure and heat of your oil circulation system. If the manufacturer added a form of corrosion protection, that is a plus.
You may also see products where the housing has features to allow for easy installation. Items like anti-slip coatings, special flutes, or lug nuts to simplify the on and off.
Inside the shell, you have the all important filter media. It should be fine enough to filter out dirt and debris down to the range of 20 to 25 microns. Paper, or cellulose, is often used, but it is not that durable. Glass and other synthetic materials are a better choice.
Many manufacturers now blend cellulose, or paper, with synthetic fibers. These do provide better filtering and a longer life compared to the old paper filters.
At each end of the filter media, you have end caps that support the filter and help it to keep its shape. Steel end caps are durable and help prevent warping of the filter.
Also, end caps installed without adhesive avoid blocking. In other words, none of the available filter media gets clogged with excess glue or squeeze out.
If the filter media fills up or gets clogged, no oil can pass. But your oil pump keeps pumping as it has no way of knowing the filter is blocked. You can even build up enough pressure to explode the oil filter.
That is where the bypass valve comes into play. It allows the oil to flow around the blocked filter. By doing so, it prevents damage to the engine, oil pump, and other critical engine parts.
The oil filter manufacturer should note details about their bypass valve. Many manufacturers will publish the pressure at which the bypass valve engages. They also often will note which materials they used to make the bypass.
When you turn your engine off, the oil pump stops operating. That means the oil up in your engine can drain back down into the oil pan on the bottom of your motor.
But this creates an issue when you want to start the car. There is no oil high in the engine to lubricate the parts.
The anti-backdrain valve prevents clean oil from draining out of the filter. This keeps oil in the filter so you have some when you turn the key on. No dry starts means a longer life for your engine.
Most quality filters use a silicone anti-backdrain valve to prevent dry starts.
There are a few pieces of data that can help you identify the best oil filters. We have summarized these in the table below.
|Oil Flow Rate||At least 7 gallons per minute|
|Burst Pressure||Over 250 psi|
|Filter Efficiency||93% good, 98% very good|
|Particle Size||25 microns or smaller|
|Dirt Holding Capacity||Min. of 12 grams|
|Bypass engagement||8 to 17 psi|
The basic answer is every time you change your oil. That is even more true today for two reasons.
First, synthetic oils now can last for 10,000 miles, maybe more. Second, newer cars have reduced the frequent oil changes once needed for older cars. The overall reduction in the number of oil changes means less opportunities to change your filter.
Reusing an old oil filter means you are adding about one quart of dirty oil into the clean replacement oil. So, you contaminate the replacement oil right off the bat.
Also, if you fail to change the filter, it could become blocked. The bypass valve will then kick in. You are then circulating unfiltered, dirty oil through your engine. The damage this can cause is far more expensive than the price of an oil filter.
So, play it safe. Change the oil filter every time you change the oil.
Yes, you can recycle oil filters. So, don’t throw them in the trash. Visit your collection center and recycle your used oil AND your old oil filter.