What Oil Filter Do I Need

What Oil Filter Do I Need?

The oil filter in your car plays a crucial role in removing contaminants from the oil. Oil that is clean and in good condition helps your engine perform better as well as protect it against engine wear.

In most vehicles, there is just one oil filter. 

The secondary filter of some may be separate. The phenomenon is more common in diesel engines since they produce more combustion contaminants.

Depending on the size and brand you choose, your oil filter will range in quality from good to best. 

How important is it to choose a particular engine oil filter?  

Depending on the situation. 

Tips for making a decision:

Tip 1: Driving Style 

Oil filters with higher quality may be more appropriate for stop-and-go traffic – to cope with traffic jams that often cause more oil pressure variations than constant driving. Bypass valves on wrong filters can crack too frequently, allowing unfiltered oil into the engine.

Filters designed for vehicles driven to the max would be high-performance. Additionally, if you’re racing, you’d want a filter designed to handle those light oils. 

Tip 2: Is Bigger Filter Better

Even if a larger filter fits your engine threads, that doesn’t mean it will work better. Filter media, bypass valves, and flow rates may not be suitable. 

Make sure you use the right filter for engine oil filtration, as the wrong filter will have the opposite effect.

Tip 3: Engine Oil Filter

A reputable, upper-end filter brand (like a Fram oil filter or one from Motorcraft) might be a good idea if you’re on extended oil change intervals or if you use synthetic oil. 

The premium filters will keep oil clean during long intervals between oil changes, or keep synthetic oil clean for longer. In general, the better the quality of the oil filter, the better its filtration efficiency. 

In contrast, if your car engine uses conventional oil and you stick to a regular filter and oil change schedule, the best filters are not necessary.

Tip 4: Synthetic Oil Filters 

Synthetic oil doesn’t need an oil filter – don’t mix them up. 

In synthetic oil filters, the “synthetic” refers to its filter media. Synthetic media is used instead of traditional pleated paper. 

Generally, synthetic media are better at trapping small particles for longer periods of time. This means you can put more miles on your engine oil before you need to change it. 

Consider synthetic oil filters that provide 10,000 mile protection and around 98% filtration efficiency. Taking this together with synthetic oil (rather than conventional oil) results in a combination that’ll go quite a distance.

The oil filter selector now knows how to help you choose the right one. 

Next, let’s discuss some other oil filter properties that may also affect your decision.

What To Consider When Choosing An Engine Oil Filter

The following are four basic characteristics of oil filters that affect their performance, whether they are for gasoline or diesel engines:

1. Size And Capture Efficiency

Particles that escape your air filter (like airborne sand and dust) will enter your lubrication system and eventually end up in the oil. 

Economy-grade oil filters typically have a capture efficiency of 95% at 40 microns. With one pass of the oil filter, the oil filter will remove 95% of the particles larger than 40 microns. Under 40 microns, little to no performance is achieved for the remaining 5%.

There are premium oil filters that achieve filtration efficiency of around 95% at a micron of ten, and these can cost over $10.

The interesting thing is that about 80% of typical road dust is less than 25 microns, so investing in a premium oil filter might not be a bad idea, since smaller particles can cause increased engine wear. 

2. Dirt-Holding Capacity 

A clogged oil filter triggers its bypass valve, so the engine cannot run out of oil if the filter is blocked. 

By looking at the oil filter dirt-holding capacity, we can estimate the time it will last before being bypassed. Particularly important is this if you plan on draining your oil for an extended period of time without changing your midpoint filter, or if you drive in dusty environments.

Due to their tendency to produce more soot, diesel engine oil filters are usually larger and have a higher holding capacity than gasoline engine oil filters. 

The majority of oil filter brands do not specify the dirt-holding capacity, so you’ll have to rely on changing the filter at the recommended interval.

3. Pressure-Flow Profile 

The oil pressure gauge will show an increase in pressure as dirt accumulates until the bypass cracking pressure is breached. 

Frequently, internal bypass valves on oil filters crack between 10-12 psid (pressure differential), permitting oil flow.

There isn’t a commonly available profile for pressure-flow on aftermarket oil filters. However, you do not need to worry as oil filters will function within the limits of normal operation. 

4. Design And Fabrication Integrity

In addition to their filtration media, automotive filters do more than just protect against the elements. Automotive filters need to be constructed, designed, and constructed with great attention to detail. Before oil filters are sold, they can’t be tested for performance or structural integrity. 

As a result, a good oil filter will have the following features:

  • Canister is strong and burst-resistant
  • Normally operating, non-weep bypass valve
  • Flexible anti-drainback valve that avoids oil back-pressure at cold temperatures
  • Supportable pleated filter element (filter media) with tightly sealed seams 

Next, let’s see how a high-capacity oil filter works and why it might benefit your engine oil. 

A High-Efficiency Oil Filter Might be a Better Option 

Engine wear is caused by particles between 5 and 20 microns in size. 

The more contaminants your oil filter keeps out of your lubrication system, the more efficient you’ll be and the longer your engine will last. Generally, high-efficiency oil filters will capture particles smaller than 10 microns. 

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) reports extensive engine oil testing that:

  • Filtration between 40- and 30-microns can reduce engine wear by as much as 50%. 
  • In addition, switching from a 40-micron oil filter to a 15-micron one can reduce engine wear by as much as 70%.  

Just be aware that a lower micron efficiency number will mean a higher cost. Are the costlier filters worth it if you regularly change your engine oil?

However, there are some situations in which using a high-capture efficiency filter makes sense. 

Does a High-Capture Efficiency Oil Filter Make Sense for me? 

Suppose a premium oil filter captures 98% of contaminants at 10 microns. 

Listed below are some scenarios when you might consider using it:

a) Draining schedule extended

The use of a premium oil filter can extend the life of your oil by protecting it from small particles accumulation if your driving habits and environmental conditions require extended oil drains. To get the most from your oil filter, combine it with synthetic oil.

b) Cold Cranks Extreme

Temperatures below freezing thicken oil and place high demands on oil filters. 

Oil filters with higher quality are less likely to collapse during cold starts and may have an oil bypass valve that can maintain oil flow when the oil filter is clogged.

c) High-Loading and Towing

Engine wear is increased when towing, heavy loads, and slow speeds are used on long hills. 

In thin oil films, engine parts are more susceptible to small, harmful particles. Using filters with high capture efficiency and anti-leaking anti-drain-back valves will help minimize leaks, as well as reducing oil leak chances.

d) Motor Oil of Low Viscosity

The thinner the film formed by low viscosity motor oils (such as 5W-20), the better at high operating temperatures. As a result, your engine is more sensitive to small contaminants. With premium oil filters, you can keep out those tiny, damaging particles. 

e) Powerful Engines

The engine reliability and performance of luxury cars and sports cars are very important factors. Oil filters made for them and synthetic oils are a good combination.

f) Driving High-Performance

Those who are into motorsports might want to use a premium oil filter during a race for improved engine power, longevity, and reliability. Oil that is clean reduces engine friction, allowing it to burn more efficiently. 

Final Word

The performance, reliability, and fuel economy of an engine can all be improved by clean engine oil. 

Not only the oil filter, but all automotive filters should be cleaned with good filtration practices. The air filter cleans your air intake, while the fuel filter helps clean your fuel. 

In the event that you do not feel like grabbing a filter wrench or fiddling with an oil pan drain plug? 

We are a mobile auto service and repair company, so they can take care of any repair right in your driveway. Their online booking process makes it convenient to book seven days a week. 

Their ASE-certified mechanics are on hand to help you with your clogged oil filter or any other car issue!

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