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You can very easily find yourself an oil filter that fits your car and that is truly useful. But even if you go to a small auto parts store there are more than likely two or more oil filters that might fit. Where is the oil filter comparison? How can you figure out which is the best oil filter for your vehicle? What are the differences? There are lots of questions, but this is an area that even some of the most knowledgeable auto enthusiasts aren’t able to easily explain those differences.
Luckily, you’ve found this article. As Garage Chief experts do in most of our round ups, we are going to start you off with our very own list of the top rated oil filters. In this instance, we have come up with six that we feel are truly top notch and we’ve given you a write up to let you know why we think so.
Of course, we go further than that and have provided you a practical buyer’s guide as well. This will all you to understand a little more of what goes into the best car oil filter, but also can help you select the best choice for your needs.
Best Oil Filter – Our Top Picks Compared
|editors-choice||Best Product||Best Value|
|item-title||Mobil 1 Extended Performance Oil Filter||FRAM Ultra Synthetic Spin-On Oil Filter with Sure Grip||Bosch Premium FILTECH Oil Filter||ACDelco Professional Engine Oil Filter||Mann-Filter Metal-Free Oil Filter||Motorcraft Silicone Valve Oil Filter|
|• Provides long-life performance for today's longer drain intervals|
• Holds double the contaminants compared to other filters
• Withstands nine times normal system operating pressure
|• Long-life silicone anti-drainback valve|
• SureGrip anti-slip texture makes changing FRAM oil filters quick and easy
• Engineered for use with synthetic oil
|• Exclusive FILTECH media technology|
• Silicone anti-drain back valve
• High lubricity gasket design
|• Has a cellulose media that traps particles|
• Has a thermosetting adhesive seal to hold filtering media in place for consistent
• Equipped with superior filter capacity
|• Optimum protection for the engine|
• Consistently high separation efficiency
• High dirt holding capacity of filter elements through high filter surface area
|• Helps protect against engine wear by screening out abrasives|
• Steel cases are “ironed” for a precise fit
• Minimizes the chance of contaminated oil recirculating back
6.8 x 10 x 4.4 inches
3 x 3 x 3.6 inches
3.2 x 3.2 x 3.6 inches
5.6 x 4 x 4 inches
3.9 x 3.9 x 4.1 inches
3.9 x 4 x 4 inches
|editors-choice||Best Product||Best Value|
Top Rated Oil Filter Reviews – Our Recommendations
We have rounded up a list of the top 6 oil filters on the market today. One thing to keep in mind is that we have called out the specific size that we linked to, but that does not mean it is the only size in that line of filters.
As you will notice, we have also tagged out our best product and our best value selection to make them easy to find after you review all of our picks.
Remember, a poor quality oil filter can end up letting dirty oil back into your engine and causing you expensive problems down the line.
Mobil 1 Extended Performance Oil Filter (M1-110)
If you are looking for the outright best oil filter that we have come across then you need look no further than the Mobil 1 Extended Performance Oil Filter. This particular filter is the M1-110 size, but the same Mobil 1 Extended Performance (M1EP) filter is available in a wide range of sizes. In fact the company claims that since it offers both spin on and cartridge models in this line of filter about 97% of the cars currently on the road should be covered with this line of filters.
As far as how long this one lasts, we are sure that you’ll be impressed. In fact this filter can hold about double the amount of dirt and grim as other filters, it sports a whopping 28.0 grams of capacity. While they don’t say exactly what their filter media is they do state that it is a blend of advanced synthetic fibers. The set up also features the ability to stand up to much higher pressures than most other oil filters, helping to extend its useful life.
This filter will set you back about $15 which is a pretty good deal for this level of performance. It is designed to work with any style of engine oil on the market so you don’t need to worry if you are running a synthetic or even a full synthetic in your car.
Bosch Premium FILTECH Oil Filter (3330)
Just because you are looking to save money doesn’t mean you can’t get an oil filter that performs well. The Bosch Premium FILTECH Oil Filter line is a great place to look for a low-price filter with high-quality performance.
It is designed to fit and perform just as well as the OEM model, but with models coming in at right around ~$6 you are sure to save a chunk of change. This one is the 3330 model, but they offer a wide selection and with the Amazon My Garage tool you’ll be able to easily find the one that fits your car.
One extra perk of this set up is that you have the option of ordering a wrench. While this kicks the cost up to a touch over $25 it means that if this is your first time changing out an oil filter than you don’t have to worry about the wrench you picked up not fitting and then be concerned that you don’t have a good fit.
This filter adds a high glass content into their woven media to ensure that the filter can remove 99% of the contaminants in your oil. It has a 14 gram capacity for removing foreign debris.
FRAM Ultra Synthetic Spin-On Oil Filter with Sure Grip (XG4967)
If you are running a synthetic oil you should take a look at some of the filters that are particularly made to work with those synthetic oils. The best oil filter for synthetic oil that we have come across is the FRAM Ultra Synthetic Spin-On Filter. While this model is the XG4967 there are a range so with a little bit of looking you’ll be able to find just the right model to fit your vehicle.
One of the features we love is that FRAM added their Sure Grip coating to the one end of the filter. This ensures that even if your hands have some oil, which they undoubtedly will end up with, you’ll be able to get a good grip on the filter as you are installing or removing it.
This one comes in at just under ~$8, but FRAM offers a full family of oil filters. The Extra Guard is their standard filter, made to be matched with conventional oil, and should go for about 5,000 miles. The next step up is the Tough Guard, this one is formulated to work with both higher end conventional as well as synthetic blends and they claim will go for 10,000 miles.
They also offer a High Mileage option that has been built to work high mileage oils and is targeted to cars with 75,000 miles or more on them. The Ultra Synthetic is made to last you for 20,000 miles.
ACDelco Professional Engine Oil Filter (PF2232)
You won’t want to miss out on looking into the ACDelco Professional Engine Oil Filter. This particular model is the PF2232, but as we have mentioned above there are a wide range of sizes meaning that with the help of Amazon’s tool you’ll be able to track down the one that is just the right size for whatever you are driving. This one can be installed with a regular sized oil filter wrench. Additionally it can work well with either conventional or synthetic oil.
The company claims that it sports a thermosetting adhesive seal to hold the unspecified filter media in place. This adds to their claim that it can stand up to five times the pressure of other oil filters, giving it a longer useable life span.
And while we are talking about how it filters, the cellulose media will apparently trap particles that are as small as even one third of a human hair, so even the littlest particles can’t escape this filter. You will likely find that this offering from ACDelco performs at the same level as the OEM option that your dealer would install, but at a mere $9 (or so), you’ll find quite a bit of cost saving going this route instead.
Mann-Filter Metal-Free Oil Filter (HU 925/4 X)
Many people, particularly in the USA, might not be familiar with the cartridge style oil filters that are used in some cars. For many they are only used to the spin on style filter that has dominated our list, but there are other styles out there. Now if you have nearly given up finding a good aftermarket cartridge style filter, there is no need to return once again to your dealer. You will want to take a look at the Mann-Filter Metal-Free Oil Filter. This particular model is the HU 925/4 X, but again they make a range to fit different cars.
If you are not familiar with the cartridge type filter, there is no outer metal casing as you’d find in a spin on style. This one is popped into place. This set up not only comes with the filter, but also another O ring and a copper washer for your oil pan drain plug.
The pleated structure of this style of filter allows the whole surface area to work for you for the whole life of the filter. At just over $7 dollars or so, getting one is a good deal, but there is also an option to order a pack of two. This makes sense if you want to keep a supply in stock.
Motorcraft Silicone Valve Oil Filter (FL820S)
If you are looking for an oil filter that was built to last, you’ll want to consider the Motorcraft Silicone Valve Oil filter. This model is the FL820S, but with the help of the Amazon My Garage tool, you’ll be able to track down the one to fit your make and model with no problem. Just the outside casing of this one has been put through their “ironing” process to insure a nice tight fit, has a fluted edge to assist with both installation and removal and has been painted to resist rust and wear.
At just over $3 this is one that you won’t feel bad even if you replace it ever 3,000 miles. As Motorcraft is a part of the Ford Corporation, these are what the company would recommend you use in any of the Ford, Lincolns or Mercuries that you might have in your garage. This filter also sports a pressure relief valve to help insure that dirty oil doesn’t make its way back into your engine.
Helping You Pick the Best Oil Filter
In order to give you more information on how to select the best oil filter we’ve provided a buyer’s guide. We’ll go over not only the basics of what a filter is and why you need to keep yours fresh, but also cover how to swap out to a new one and even where the best place to purchase one is.
What is Oil Filter and How it Work?
At its very base an oil filter is just like any other kind of filter. It works to remove unwanted items. In the case of the oil filter there are some very particular particles that you want to remove. Primarily these include tiny metal pieces, dirt and by products from combustion, such as water, acid and soot.
These particles need to be removed to keep your engine running smoothly. If you were to not filter your engine oil these extra particles could scrap up various parts of your engine and you would find that the oil would not perform as well.
Construction of Oil Filters
The outside of all oil filters are just a sealed metal container. On the end that mates to your car there will be a large threaded hole surrounded by a ring of smaller holes. Additionally, there will be some sort of gasket to help ensure a secure fit with your car.
The other end of the filter may be just round, might feature indents to help an adapter on a wrench fit or might even be coated with a paint to give you a better grip on it.
Inside your oil filter there is some sort of filter material. Normally this is a synthetic fiber, something similar to polyester. Engine oil enters through the ring of smaller holds and the pressure in the system pushes it through this filter media.
While the oil is able to pass through the media will be sized to not allow other things, like dirt or metal, to pass through. The oil then flows through the center of the filter, having been cleaned, and passes through the main hole back into the car to keep doing its job.
The difference when it comes to a high quality and lower quality oil filters is generally two-fold. In some cases, you will have a difference in the filter media itself. The problem is that most companies don’t put what filter media they use so it is hard to judge those differences.
The second difference is the number of folds in the filter media. Sometimes it will be called pleats or just surface area, but what it comes down to is more of the filter media itself. As there is more media that the oil is passed through there are more and more opportunities for the filter to remove unwanted particles from your oil.
There have been studies published on the performance of various oil filters, like this one, but the short story is that in general, you will find that a higher quality oil filter will in most cases end up weighing more than the cheap option. Some of that is because of the some low grade filters use a light gauge metal, but a chunk of that will be the extra filter material that is packed into the same size of an oil filter.
Why Do I Need to Change My Oil Filter?
Eventually one of two things will happen to your filter, or more specifically the filter media located within your oil filter. One is that the filter media can get clogged up with the particles that it is filtering out. The second is that the filter media itself can tear.
In the first case, as more and more of the filter media becomes clogged with the stuff that the media is filtering, there ends up being less room for the oil to make its way through. This means that the oil is merely getting stuck not cleaned. The overall result is that less clean oil makes it back into your car and you start running into the same kinds of problems that you would if your overall oil level was low.
In the second case, which can sometimes be brought on by the first, as the blocked oil increases the pressure, the filter media becomes ripped. Since the oil will travel the path of least resistance, a majority of the oil will flow through the hole instead of the filter media. This means that the oil is not getting filtered at all, so your unwanted gunk is just staying in your oil.
When Should I Change My Oil Filter?
You could always routinely use very small cameras to do a visual inspection inside your oil filter and then keep meticulous notes as to how your filter media is doing and then when you reached a determined threshold of “used-ness” change out your filter. But that is an awful lot of work and there is a much easier way. Simply change your oil filter when you change your oil. If you were to take your oil to a dealer or mechanic for an oil change they would end up changing out the filter with the oil.
But how often should you be swapping out that oil. Some people would tell you that for conventional oil you should swap out your oil every 3,000 miles. Other people will say that you can push it all the way to 5,000 miles. This really is a personal preference but generally these two numbers seems to cover the majority of people.
Most oil filters tend to have more ability in terms of usable miles than a conventional oil has in it. If you are really serious about getting all of the money you can out of your filter you could offset changing out your filter from when you change your oil. However, seeing as how once you remove your oil filter a good amount of oil will drain if you haven’t already drained your oil, any saving will most likely be lost.
The answers change when you are dealing with synthetic options though. Many people will tell you that if you are using a synthetic oil you can let your oil changes go all the way to every 7,000 miles. But if you put in a full synthetic oil you may even be able to go all the way to 10,000 miles. That is great, but then again if you are working with a synthetic or a full synthetic you may want to make sure that you are using an oil filter that is designed for use with synthetic oils.
Don’t Forget to Fit it to Your Car!
Oil filters much like just about every other thing in your car comes in different sizes. It is important to go with the one that correctly fits your car. There are a number of different dimensions that can mean an oil filter will actually do its job for your vehicle. Some of them are as simple as fitting in the space that your car’s designer left for it. Others are more along the lines of properly mating up and ensuring a good tight fit when they are attached to your car.
There are a number of ways to make sure that you get the right size of oil filter for your particular ride. You can look in your car’s manual and should be able to locate the correct size of oil filter as well as how often your car company thinks that you should change it. Now, your car company might say that you should only purchase your oil filter from them and pay for them to install it.
There are any number of other sights that will help guide you through what size will fit your particular car. Amazon has a “My Garage” system in which you can load your car or cars and then as you browse oil filters and other equipment will let you know if that given piece will fit your car.
It is important to remember that most oil filters are available in a range of sizes so while one that you pull up may not fit you should be able to find another size to work with your vehicle.
How to Change Oil Filter?
Changing an oil filter is not a hard task and with a little bit of know-how and the right tools most anyone should be able accomplish this automotive task. There are a few things that you want to make sure that you have on hand before you start.
Perhaps the most important thing that you’ll want to have is an oil filter that will fit. We’ve gone over that above. You will also need to make sure that you can get to the oil filter on your car. In some situations it can be reached from under the hood but in most cases you’ll need to access it from under the vehicle. Depending on how high your car is you might be able to get under and do the job with the tires under the ground. In most cases you’ll need some way to raise your vehicle up and keep it stable. If you are in the market we have covered both jacks and jacks stands.
As far as tools there are only a few that are required. The first is a wrench or socket that fits the plug to your oil tank. The other tool that you require is one to loosen and tighten the oil filter itself. There are some adapters for socket wrenches that go on the end of the filter. There are others that tighten around the filter. For an alternative, there are some strap wrenches that can be used as well.
You’ll also need to consider how often to change your oil filter. The standard wisdom is to change your filter when you change your oil. This can vary based on what your oil change frequency is, but it is a good rule to follow. Especially since removing your oil filter will end up draining your oil, so having the oil drained is a good start.
As mentioned you’ll want to drain the oil out of your car. The next step is use your selected wrench to loosen and then remove the old filter. Even with your car’s oil drained you’ll still find some oil in the filter when you remove it, so be careful which way you tip it.
Finally, you’ll put the new filter on and tighten it down. You will want to make sure that you don’t over tighten your new filter. Now that your filter is on make sure the plug is back in the oil tank and then refill your car’s oil.
Best Oil Filter Brand
As with anything in the garage you will end up finding that there are some brands that naturally float to the top of the pile. While these are not the only people that make a good quality oil filter they are some names that if you see on an option you can feel more at ease with.
Mobil 1 Oil Filters
Mobil 1 is a rather well known company when it comes to engine oil, they have a number of sponsored ties to NASCAR. It is no surprise that they make a quality engine oil filter. Overall the company is the same that owns the Mobil and Exxon gas stations so overall they probably have been providing at least something for your car.
Bosch Oil Filters
Bosch is a German owned company and is actually a part of a much larger business enterprise. Yes, they may be the same company that puts out power tools and other gadgets, but in this case we are looking
at Bosch Auto Parts. They make a wide range of pieces for your car ranging from oil filters to spark plugs.
Fram Oil Filters
If you walk into most any auto parts store in the US you are likely to find some sort of Fram filter. They make a huge range of air and oil filters and most likely you have purchase or used one at some point. They have a large enough selection that they probably even cover some oddities in the automotive world.
Mann Oil Filters
Mann filters come under the Mann Hummel company. While it may not be as well-known as some of the other companies that we have highlighted here they still are putting out top notch filters. They are
more of a European based company than one based or selling to the States.
Motorcraft Oil Filters
Motorcraft is owned by the Ford Motor Company. Now this undoubtedly means that if you drive a Ford or one of the other brands owned by the company you are covered. However, they make a full range of parts for any number of cars.
Best Oil Filters on the Market
When looking to purchase the best oil filter on the market you’ll want to make sure that it fits. This causes some people to go to their dealer and let them take care of it. Of course, this will work but it may be one of the more expensive options.
Another choice is to go to an auto parts store. They will have a book or a device to look up the right size of filter then go through the shelves to see if they have it there. That can work, but you will still have to page through to find the right listing for your car then search the shelves.
Finally, you can go with an online source like Amazon. They have a “My Garage” feature that let’s you fill in some information about your cars then their system can inform you if pieces, such as the oil filter you are looking at, will fit. Then you simply click order and it arrives at your door. This gives you access to a massive selection and often times the best price of parts.
When it comes to price, there can be a bit of a range. There are a number of options that can be from between 5 and 10 dollars. There are also options that can go for $20 or more in some places.
When you are doing your own oil change that involves an oil filter change one of the most important things that you will want to know is that you have one that fits your car. Then you will want to ensure that it is properly tightened down.
An over tightened filter can cause damage. The problem is that an under tightened oil can come loose with the vibrations of driving. If that happens you’ll rather quickly lose all your oil and you’ll have all sorts of issues. Many times people will dip there finger their old oil and wipe the gasket of their new filter to help ensure a good tight seal.
Best Oil Filter – The Bottom Line
With that you should have everything that you need to track down the best oil filter for your particular vehicle. We started off with our oil filter comparison, showing you six of the top ranked oil filters available today.
Overall the best in our eyes was the Mobil 1 Extended Performance Oil Filter. This is one that can work with either conventional or synthetic oils so it has you covered on both fronts. It was built to last a long time, so you might want to pair it with a longer lasting synthetic oil.
Of course, we couldn’t just leave you at that. We also went through our buyer’s guide. We covered not only how your filter should work but also some of the features to look for when making your own selection.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to get the right size for your vehicle. Even if the overall shape is right a miss match in the connection could cause the filter to come loose and you might find yourself draining oil.
That about wraps it up, but finally we’d like to hear from you. Are there any points about our selection that you might want to share with our readers? If so please leave a comment in the section below.
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