Types of Oil Filters

Types of Oil Filters

The oil filter in your car keeps waste, metal particles, and other contaminates from entering your engine.

As a result, the oil filter eventually becomes clogged – so make sure to replace it frequently. 

However, there are many types of oil filters. 

Oil Filters: Two Types

There are many types of oil filters available on the market. 

Generally speaking, you can classify these filters into two categories:

  • Primary Oil Filter
  • Secondary Oil Filter

Let’s take a look:

1. Primary Oil Filter

Car manufacturers typically use a full flow filtration system, incorporating a primary oil filter known as a full flow filter.

It is called a full flow filter because, unlike filters that only filter some of your car’s motor oil, it can remove contaminants from all your car’s oil.

In colder climates, it’s worthwhile to use a full flow filter.


Cold temperatures can thicken your oil, and many filters restrict oil flow, making filtration difficult. The engine can be severely damaged by this.

In addition, the primary oil filter provides engine protection by letting your motor oil pass through the engine more easily than other types of filters, even when thickened during cold weather.

Here are some primary filter or full flow filter types.

Two Primary Oil Filter Types

These types of oil filters will keep your engine oil clean and will protect your car from engine wear:

a) Cartridge Oil Filter

In some cases, an eco oil filter is also referred to as a cartridge oil filter.

In many cases, this type of full flow filter has no metal parts and can be easily recycled. Cartridge oil filters are also preferred because they are easy to use. In addition, if your cartridge filter is upright, your mechanic can usually inspect it without removing your engine oil.

b) Spin-On Oil Filter

Oil spin-on filters are another type of full flow filter.

In contrast with cartridge oil filters, this primary filter type is not eco-friendly. A spin-on oil filter consists of a steel canister paired with a paper filter element. It is a great choice for people who wish to do their own fuel filter replacement since it’s easy to replace and doesn’t require any complex tools.

The primary filter types are now known, so let’s talk about the secondary filter types.

2. Secondary Oil Filter

An oil filter that is second in line is a secondary oil filter. Full flow filters are used to support them in your car.

A car engine’s secondary filter cleans less than 10% of the oil used in the engine and removes contaminants that the primary filter might have missed.

Additional engine protection, as well as extending oil life, is easily achieved with a secondary oil filter.

An oil bypass filter is another name for a secondary oil filter. 

However, they are entirely different from bypass valves.

How do bypass valves work?

Bypass valves are pressure relief valves designed to open when the oil thickens or when the oil filter is clogged. The opening allows oil flow to bypass the oil filter via a center tube, protecting the engine.

Note: The secondary oil filter works independently of the primary oil filter. It is always possible to have one installed later on if your car doesn’t have one.

Here are the two types of secondary filters that support your primary filter.

Two Secondary Oil Filter Types

The following are the most common types of secondary oil filters (or bypass filters):

a) Spinner Oil Filter

Spinner filters are sometimes called centrifugal oil filters. This secondary oil filter uses centrifugal force to trap contaminants in your motor oil.

Here’s an interesting fact: 

Several spinner oil filters produce 2,000 times more force than gravity. Because of this, the bypass filter in your motor oil can remove even the smallest contaminants.

Filter housing chambers and membranes (filter medium) are generally found in spinner filters. Whenever the filtration media becomes clogged, your mechanic will only have to replace the filter media, and the filter housing chamber remains in good condition.

The gasket at the base of the spinner filter is also an important component. Designed to keep oil from leaking, it prevents leaks.

The spinner fuel filter isn’t the most durable, so when you go to your mechanic for an oil and fuel filter change, ask him to check the base gasket as well.

b) Magnetic Oil Filter

Magnetic oil filters are secondary filters that support full flow filters.

Although this secondary filter can remove metallic contaminants from oil, it isn’t able to hold much dirt or grime. 

Magnet oil filters do not need to be replaced like other engine oil filters. Keep your engine running smoothly by getting your magnetic oil filter cleaned regularly by a professional mechanic.

Here are some common questions that you may have regarding engine oil filters now that you know the types of oil filters.

Three Engine Oil Filter FAQs

Here are some FAQs that will help you understand engine oil filters better:

1. What Makes Up An Engine Oil Filter?

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Engine oil filters consist of these components:

  • Tapping plate: An oil filter element that allows motor oil to enter and leave the filter.
  • Filter material: Designed to pick up dirt and gunk from contaminated oil using synthetic fibers. A pleated filter material improves filtration.
  • Anti-drainback valve: When your car isn’t running, this valve functions as a door that closes to prevent motor oil from leaking into the oil filter.
  • Relief valve: During cold weather, this valve releases a small amount of unfiltered oil (adding to the total volume of oil) to maintain your engine’s performance. 
  • End discs: The car oil filter has two end discs on each end that prevent unfiltered oil from leaking from the filter into the engine.

2. What Is A Thermal Chamber Oil Filter?

In terms of engine protection, a thermal chamber oil filter works in two ways.

To remove contaminants from motor oil, it is filtered.

Additionally, the heater raises the temperature of the oil to refine and destroy contaminants.

3. What Are The Different Types Of Filter Media

Inside oil filters are various materials (filter media). 

By filtering your motor oil, you will remove contaminants.

Filter media typically consist of:

  • Cellulose Filter Media: This type of filter media can be found in most disposable oil filters. The cellulose filter media can trap particles as small as 8-10 microns in size and can filter up to 40% of your motor oil.
  • Synthetic Oil Filter Media: Synthetic oil filter media can remove 50% of particles of size 20-40 microns and 24% of particles of size 8-10 microns. Typically, you will find this filtration media in higher-quality engine oil filters.
  • Microglass Filter Media: In high-end fuel filters, microglass filter media is most likely used. The filtration media is extremely fine, much finer than cellulose fibers, which makes engine oil filtration extremely efficient. 

Final word

The oil filters in your vehicle are important components that you should maintain. To maintain your engine’s protection from contaminated oil, you should change them or the filter element (if separable).

Getting the oil filter changed in your car is as easy as consulting your owner’s manual or searching through Autotiresolutions. A mobile repair and maintenance shop, they offer upfront cost estimates, convenient online booking, and competitive pricing.


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