Best Oil Filter 2021 • 7 Oil Filters Reviews
Every vehicle requires an oil filter as it plays the vital role of cleaning oil to prevent damage and erosion of the engine. It is essential to purchase a high quality oil filter as it has a significant effect on the life of your car's engine. We have evaluated and done a review of different available oil filter brands available in the market to give you the most informative guide to identifying the best oil filter for your car.
Oil Filter Leaderboard 2021
What is an Oil Filter?
Most people can’t tell how an oil filter works, but everyone knows the importance of having the best quality oil filter. An oil filter as suggested by its name is the part of your vehicle’s engine that filters the oil.
The filter prevents unwanted contaminants such as metal chips and dirt from getting into your car’s engine. The metal debris produced by the engine while running can damage the engine if allowed to circulate the system again.
How Oil Filters Work
The operations of the oil filter may sound straight forward, but understanding the essential parts that make this gadget will give you the best insight. Below is an overview of these components for a better understanding.
The gasket is the entry and exit parts of the oil filter. The gasket /taping plate has a large centre hole that is surrounded by smaller perforations. The entry point of the oil is always through the small holes found on the outer part of the tapping plate, and it exits through the large centre hole. The centre whole also connects the filter to the engine.
This part is the filter component of the oil filter. It is made up of very tiny cellulose and synthetic fibres that trap contaminants before the oil gets into the engine.
Anti-drain back valve
This is the valve that prevents oil backflow from the engine to the filter when a vehicle is not running.
Oil is most likely to turn thick at low temperature thus making it difficult to pass through the oil filter system. The relieve valve’s function is to allow some unfiltered oil into the engine for lubrication function until when oil is heated enough to pass through the oil filter usually.
Center steel tube
This is the passage point of filtered oil back into the engine.
Both sides of the filter medium has an end disk made of metal or fibre material. The function of these disks is to prevent unfiltered oil from getting into the engine through the centre steel tube. The discs are firmly attached to the tapping plate by thin pieces of metals known as retainers.
Oil Filter Types
If you own a car, it’s important to understand and check reviews for the different types of oil filters available in the market to make an informed decision when making a purchase.
There are a lot of oil filters to choose from mostly dictated by your car’s engine type, its manufacturer and the size of the engine. Most cars also come with a user manual that gives clear instructions about the matter. You can as well get the information from online sellers’ reviews as well as store attendant.
Primary oil filters
Primary oil filters are the most common oil filters installed by car engine manufacturers. These filters as referred to as full flow filter because they filter 100% of the oil in the engine.
Secondary oil filters
These oil filters are also known as bypass filters. They act as a compliment to the primary oil filters and only filter 1%-10% of the motor oil. They work independently to help the primary filters in eliminating additional contaminants thus giving car owners the advantage of less motor oil replacements.
These filters are also known as centrifugal oil filters. Users prefer spinner filters because they use a spinning motion to trap unwanted contaminants in motor oil. This filter type is made up of two sections, a housing chamber and a membrane. One can re-use the house chamber can be, but you have to replace the media when clogged. This filter type also has a base gasket whose function is to prevent oil from leaking. The base gasket is not durable; hence it should be replaced approximately every three months.
Car owners should always use an oil filter recommended by the original manufacturer.
Thermal Chamber Oil Filters
This type of oil filter has two functions; they first destroy contaminants by raising the temperature and also get rid of motor oil impurities through filtration. Most users avoid this oil filter type because it consumes a lot of electricity when refining motor oil which leads to lower fuel efficiency.
Magnetic Oil filters
These oil filters are among the best in eliminating metallic impurities from motor oil. Another advantage is that they can just be cleaned when clogged instead of replacing them. The disadvantage of using magnetic filters is that they can’t eliminate dust particles.
Conventional oil filters
Another Variable in oil filters that you should consider when making a purchase decision is the media or membrane. The media is the part that eliminates motor oil contaminants as it circulates the filter.
Cellulose filter media
Disposable oil filters have cellulose filter media. This media can keep out particles with an average size of 8 to 10 microns and clean up to 40% of the oil. The advisable replacement duration of cellulose media is 3,000 miles.
Synthetic filter media
Most reviews have confirmed that most quality oil filters have this type of filter media. This media will effectively remove 50% of particles with a size range of 20 to 40 microns and 24% for particles with a variety of 6 to 10 microns. Replacement should be done after every 5,000 to 7,000 miles.
Micro glass filter media
Premium quality oil filters have a metal media known as micro glass.
Selecting the Best Oil Filter
Before any purchase, it is always advisable to take your time to review all the factors that you should put into consideration. The amount of money you pay for an oil filter should go hand in hand with the service you should get from the gadget.
One of the best sources of information about products is online reviews as people who have used the product give their comments in the review section. The internet has a lot of expert reviews about products which can help you make an informed purchasing decision. An outcome that is rated the best in most reviews is most likely to be of best quality than those ranked at the bottom of these reviews.
It is, however, advisable to go through several reviews and compare their products ranking before making a buying decision. Below are some of the essential factors you have to consider when choosing the best oil filter.
Design and Fabrication Integrity
Dirt holding capacity
This is the Number of contaminants that a filter can hold at a given time before its efficiency is affected. Dirt holding capacity will provide you with clues about the service life of an oil filter.
A filter with good dirt holding capacity is best for users who want to avoid regular oil filter changes and those who drive on dusty roads.
Unfortunately, most manufacturers and reviews do not release data about their products dirt holding capacity. Most consumers only have one alternative of changing the filters before utilising their full holding capability.
This refers to the differential pressure lost from the installation of the filter. The filter media’s surface area and porosity are the major influencers of pressure loss. Most oil filter manufacturers know the importance of this characteristic; therefore, they design them to meet regular service.
Particle capture efficiency
This is determined by how the filtration mechanism of a filter media is useful in extracting and retaining contaminants from motor oil.
One should also consider the environment in which they intend to use the filter as well as the characteristics of the system into which it will work.
How to Personally Test and Identify Defects before Buying an Oil Filter
You are performing a personal test before a purchase is one way of ensuring that you get the best oil filter for your vehicle. Most oil filters look alike when we are researching reviews over the internet or when physically comparing at a store but a small difference can have a high impact on the quality of the filter or its compatibility with your car’s engine.
Below are some of the simple physical factors you can check to identify best whether an oil filter is defective.
The materials used to make an oil filter greatly influences its quality. Light materials such as plastic and cardboard cannot withstand conditions such as changing thermal cycles, extreme temperatures and vibrations.
Pleat density and support
Filter Media Side-Seam
Observe accurately how the seam appears where pleats join each other. Avoid filters with openings, cracks, or gaps that can allow oil and particles flow.
Check on whether the bypass seat is an elastomer soft-seat or a hard-seat. Hard seat valves are not the best because they can allow small regular bypass flow that will eventually affect the capture efficiency of the filter. One should also take note of the flapper valve of the anti-drain back and the surface it seats on.
You should also check the end-cap to determine whether it is full of adhesive. The Adhesive should also not wick up into the filter media in a manner that will interfere with the seal between the media and the filter’s end-cap.
A strong burst resistant steel canister is a good indicator of quality. The best oil filter should also have a flexible anti-drain back valve which will assist in avoiding back-pressure in cold temperatures.
Oil filter Test Standards
A lot of consumer tests and reviews have been done to estimate the performance of different oil filters available in the market and help consumers choose the best product. The primary objective of these tests is to evaluate quality indicators such as collapse strength, single-pass efficiency, multi-pass efficiency, pressure flow profile, hot oil durability, impulse-fatigue, vibration, fabrication integrity and burst pressure. These factors should match with the SAE and ISO standards covering oil filter tests.
It is mandatory for all motor vehicle oil filters to undergo an SAE test to be considered compliant with the specifications of the manufacturer of the vehicle. The Society of Automotive Engineers has made available two tests for oil filters. These tests are the SAE HS806 and SAE J1858.
The other oil filter test standard is the SAE J1858. This test was created to cover for the shortfalls of the SAE HS806. This test uses beta ratio testing and is optional for manufacturers who feel that the SAE HS806 is not enough. This testing procedure is a multiple pass test which counts the amount and size of particles entering and leaving the filter. Multiple pass testing is the best method of testing oil filters, as it works in the same way as the filter in a vehicle.
The fact that these tests are done for motor vehicle manufacturers, not consumers makes it difficult for consumers to obtain this information. The filter manufacturers have the right to keep the filtering tests and reviews data proprietary which is the typical approach they use.
Done Consumer Tests
For this section, we will review the recent comparison of the BMW M54 oil filter. The company did the test on three OEM filters made for the BMW M54 engine. The brands were Hengst, Mahle and Mann, all made in Western Europe and of high quality.
All the filters in the review had accessories such as a drain plug crush washer and an O-ring for the oil filter housing cap. Both the Mann and Mahle had a similar O-ring while the one for Hengst oil filter was white in colour, smoother and of the best quality. A white O-ring is mostly preferred because one can see well how it sits on the housing cap of the oil filter.
The Mann filter has caps made from hard urethane foam while that of Mahle and Hengst use plastic. The gasket for Mahle and Hengst looks better than that of Mann, but Mahle has a little rougher one. No oil was getting through the gasket for all oil filter brands during the comparison review. The best seam among the three brands is the one for Hengst located on the outside of the filter.
In the findings section of the review, Hengst was the best followed by Mahle and Mann took the third position.
Top 10 Best Oil Filter Brands
The quality of an oil filter affects the user’s car engine life. An inferior quality oil filter will allow contaminants into the engine giving it a chance to quit on you. That is why you should buy the best oil filter if you want your vehicle’s engine to keep running for a long time. We have looked at different oil filter manufacturers and done our review and here is a list of the best ten that you can entrust to do the job.
- MOBIL 1
- ROYAL PURPLE
On the other side, most reviews have found this oil filter a bit expensive than a lot of other oil filters available in the market. This filter may not be the best pick for budget purchasers who don’t have high-performance vehicles because other filters can do the job in almost the same way.
Mobile 1 oil products have been popular in the industry over the years, and their oil filter also ranks high in most reviews. This filter boasts of stronger filtering ability compared to its competitors. We can attribute its undefeated filtering capability to its spin-on and cartridge filter.
Another exciting factor is that it uses synthetic blend fibre media giving it a contaminant suspending efficiency rate of 99.6%. This oil filter also has a larger size that enables it to filter up to 28 grams of foreign particles before replacement. It is a good pick as it will best fit today’s vehicles which are designed to go for a long time without oil changes.
This filter is ranked among the best because it has an advanced synthetic fibre filtration media that enables it to filter all sizes of contaminant particles. This filter will not only extend its life but will also protect your engine from wearing out fast. Its micro-glass filter media enable optimal suspension of dirt particles with an average size of 25 microns with 99% filtration efficiency.
The thick material used to make this filter’s shell makes it sturdy hence protecting it from most hazards as well as keeping it intact when installing in hard reach areas. This product also has a metal end cap to keep it sealed and a silicone anti-drain back valve to prevent dry starts by avoiding oil backflow when the vehicle is not running.
The Bosch Company has kept its reputation of producing high-quality auto parts at pocket-friendly prices. The Bosch oil filter is always reviewed as a low budget product that gets the job done. This filter eliminates even the smallest contaminants and uses the same technology as many other high price filters.
With 42% of its area reserved for filtering, this filter gives filtering priority than most of the other oil filters available in the market. The filter also has a steel plate and housing to avoid oil leaks and enhance proper fitting in the engine.
This filter can be a perfect match for vehicles that are GM products. It will give you better results compared to the original OEM filters that come with GM vehicles. The ACDelco filter has a 98% filtering efficiency for contaminants with an average size of 25 microns.
What we liked about this filter is the way they have designed its seal. The filter has a heat seal meaning that you will no longer worry about leaks when you screw it tight and heat the engine. The only shortcoming is that the filter is a little bulky making the installation work tougher.
Mann filters are mainly made to work on most BMW engines. They have a metal-free filter to provide the best protection to the engine and to make the system element friendly. The manufacturer will also provide all the tools needed to install this filter best. They have designed their pleat in a manner that allows more filtering surface area which enables them to hold a high amount of contaminants. The ability to store high capacities of impurities is an indicator that this filter can go for a long time before replacement.
This product is easy to dispose of and environmentally friendly because it is made of one material. Users should note that this product is complicated to install. Hence they should consider procuring the services of a trained mechanic during installation.
Motorcraft oil filters are made to meet the high quality standards of the Ford Brand. The gadget is of a higher quality than the original oil filters that come with new ford trucks. The design of this particular oil filter best matches the diesel-powered engines, and it can fit in most ford diesel engines as well as other brands.
One reason to like this product and rate it among the best in this review is the fact that it has a built-in pressure relief valve. This valve best ensures that oil is always flowing into the engine even when the weather is cold. You will also get a one year warranty when you purchase this product.
Fram is one of the companies that have contributed a lot in replacement oil filters production. Fram is one of the best filters that will keep dirt and debris out of your engine. The reason why we choose this filter was its shelve price which fits an average car owner whose intention is to buy a simple filter that will give the best results.
Given that the filter is for regular production cars, users should be aware that the filter cannot serve for more than 5000 miles and cannot work best for motor oils that have a synthetic blend nature.
We had to add an OEM oil filter into our review list, and this product from Toyota best fits that position. Being one of the leading brands in motor vehicle manufacturing, Toyota has always produced top-rated oil filters that come with new cars. Selecting the best OEM vehicle part leaves you with no doubt on whether the piece will be compatible with your vehicle.
Buying an oil filter is a significant investment which requires the buyer to be sure about compatibility and quality. With that in mind, there is no doubt that this OEM car oil filter will work best in filtering contaminants from your Toyota motor engine oil.
One of the best oil filters that can give you a 99% contaminants filtration success is the Purolator. This filter is designed to be sturdy to provide users with an easy time during installation. It is also made in different sizes to increase the possibility of fitting in a large number of vehicle models.
The fact that the filter gives an excellent service compared to its price inspires us to rate it among the best. Car owners can also use the filter for longer-term oils such as synthetic oils which is a rare feature for oil filters under this price range. The performance of the Purolator is very high, but it sells at the price range of lower quality oil filters.
Signs of When to Replace Your Oil Filter
There are times when we are not sure about the exact date when we should replace the oil filter and the only thing that can inform us sign their failure. A broken oil filter will always give signs that the car is not running as smoothly as before.
Awaiting these signs is a dangerous move because most oil filters will allow unfiltered oil into the engine for engine safety reasons. The unfiltered oil will later cause more harm to the engine over time. Below are some of the visible signs.
Something must be wrong if your vehicle’s oil is leaking. Oil leaks mostly happen when failing oil filters cannot cope with changing temperatures. This phenomenon leads to a system burst in most oil filters. The bursts allow oil to flow back to the oil pan where it leaks. Oil leaks will lead to low oil pressure in the engine, and the engine starts to fail.
Overheating of the Engine
Overheating of the engine can be caused by many different issues among them the oil filter failure. The excess heat is as a result of contaminants that build up in the engine and prevent heat conductivity when unfiltered oil is allowed to flow into the engine.
The Engine Light Being on
When the oil filter is faulty and dirty oil start flowing into the engine, the contaminants within the dirty oil build up in the engine and begin to cause malfunctions. The malfunctions will, in turn, trigger the low oil light found in most cars. Some cars also have a light to indicate low oil pressure, and when any of these lights turn on, users should investigate their oil filters for problems. Always replace failing oil filters should with brand new filters.
How to install an oil filter correctly
It is essential to know how to correctly install an oil filter although most of the times, we leave the job to a mechanic. We will explain the process in seven simple steps.
First, you have to heat the oil inside the engine by turning the engine on for a few minutes and wait for the indicator to move. The engine is supposed to run for a few minutes to avoid overheating the oil because it will be hazardous to drain it. The other preparation is to ensure that your car is in a stationary position.
Keeping a vehicle at a fixed position can be done by applying the parking brake and putting a rock behind each wheel. The last step in preparation is wearing protective clothing such as apron and safety glasses.
Draining the Used Motor Oil
Start by identifying the oil pan and drain plug located at the under part of the vehicle. Some vehicles don’t have enough space to slide beneath requiring the use of a jack to lift them. Before opening the oil plug, place a container under it to collect the oil.
After identifying the drain plug, use a wrench to loosen the oil plug by turning it in a counterclockwise direction. The best way to speed up the process is by allowing some air into the cartridge. The air will get in when you unscrew the oil cap found on the top of the engine. You can replace the oil plug at the bottom after draining all the oil.
Removing the Old Filter and Cleaning the Area
Another step before installing a new filter is to pull out the old oil filter using a wrench. Check whether the gasket from the removed filter has been left behind as gaskets sometimes get stuck on the mounting surface. Use a clean rag to wipe out dust from the engine base and ensure that it is free from any foreign materials. This step helps in eliminating contaminants that may easily get into the new filter.
Actual Oil Filter Installation
You should take this as the core business. The next step should be installing the new filter, but you should make sure that you have lightly lubricated it by applying fresh oil on the rubber seals.
Adding New Motor Oil
The final step will be to pour the new oil up to the necessary capacity. First, you have to find out which engine oil best match for your car. Most car user manual will provide information about the best oil grade and amount. After making sure that you have the right oil, loosen the oil filler cap and pour the oil into the tank using a funnel to avoid spillage.
One can run the engine after finishing ensuring that there are no leaks. If there are no leaks, the best thing to do is to leave the engine to rest for a few minutes for the oil to subdue.
Check the Oil Levels
You can best check the capacity of the oil using the dipstick. Start by removing the dipstick, wipe it off and insert it again. Remove it and ensure that it is at full mark and dispose of the used filter properly.
Clean up any Spills and Recycle the Used Oil
Now that you have completed the work clean up any spills and pour the old motor oil into a container. Place the old filter into a plastic bag. You can best dispose of the old motor oil by taking it to the service station from where recycling firms will collect it.
After how long should one replace their filter?
Mostly, these filters should be replaced when changing the engine oil, but it is advisable to refer to the instructions given by the specific oil filter manufacturer. The replacement also depends on the condition of the roads where you mostly drive your car.
Why can’t oil filters last forever?
All oil filters regardless of their quality will eventually get clogged after some time. The filtered dirt clogs the filtration system thus affecting the integrity of the oil filter.
What’s the function of oil filters in a car?
Oil filters trap contaminants from passing through together with oil into the engine. Filtration will protect the engine from the risk of wearing out.
What are the most common oil contaminants?
It is with no doubt that your engine’s life will be affected by the quality of the oil filter you use and how regularly you replace the oil. This article has tackled a lot about oil filters, from what they are and how they work to their anatomy.
We have also given a purchasing guide and a review of the top 10 oil filter brands and consumer tests. We hope that you have learned something useful from the article about this component.