In most fleet management organizations, particle contamination in engine oil is taken for granted. If you’re like most vehicle owners, changing your car’s oil filter is probably the last thing on your list. Many don’t have a clue how important oil filters are for your vehicle to maximize the longevity of your engine and optimize its performance. Maintaining clean motor oil is very important and will save you money from any potential engine repair costs in the long run.
Engine oil has an incredibly tough assignment, however engine oil is essentially responsible for keeping the engine running smoothly. Engines contain many moving particles which have the potential to rub against each other creating friction. As a result of this friction, parts of the engine can be damaged and worn out more quickly, making the engine less efficient and more likely to break down.
In order to protect your complex, expensive-to-repair engine, it is necessary to pump the remaining oil though a multitude of tight and narrow passages that can help lubricate many fast-moving contaminants and reduce friction, keeping the engine running smoothly. This is where oil filters come in as they remove dirt and other hazardous elements from the oil, which slowly become saturated, optimizing its service life and longevity.
Does it matter what oil filter I use?
The oil that you put into your engine, along with its additives, works to lubricate engine parts, reduce friction, clean, cool, and protect the engine. Today, however, modern engines are becoming more complex as the oil does much more than just lubricate, they also provide wear protection, maintain viscosity over a range of temperatures, prevent acid build up and corrosion, and clean particular modern engine components from external and internal contaminants such as bacterias, dirt, bugs, oxidized oil, and many more. Thus, engine oil helps to protect the engine, and improve its efficiency and performance. However, to achieve that, you need to make sure that your oil filter is inspected and changed regularly by installing oil filters that clean the oil before directing it to various vital moving parts of the engine.
When it comes to increasing the life of your vehicle’s engine oil, choosing the right oil filter with a filtration media is important to achieve high filtration performance while ensuring a smooth flow of engine oil. The oil filter has to be porous enough to let good oil pass through and trap any contaminants that could do damage to the engine’s oil.
Oil filters have different media, or membranes, the amount of exposed media area, and the support the media has. That filter media is normally a type of cellulose, and the quality and fiber length of that cellulose varies with the design and price. Better filters use a better quality media, more of it, and anchor the sides.
There are three different filter medias you should acknowledge before purchasing an oil filter. Cellulose filter media; In most cases, disposable oil filters feature cellulose filter media. By using this media, you can hold back particles as small as 8 microns and clean up to 40% of your motor oil. Synthetic filter media; Typically, higher quality oil filters use synthetic media. This media is effective in removing 50% of particles of 20 to 40 microns, and 24% of particles in the 8 to 10 micron range. Last but not least, Microglass filter media; Most high-end oil filters use an extremely fine metal media or microglass. The fibers in this microglass mesh are 10 times finer than those in cellulose. In addition, they also present far less of a restriction to the flow of engine oil.
If you want that much better oil filtration, which can let fibers be closer together and capture smaller particles effectively, make sure to look into a bypass oil filter setup. Most synthetic oils such as amsoil have one – it’s not especially cheap. But, it allows the motor oil to bypass any filtration, no matter the size. You can even significantly extend your oil change intervals by using synthetic oil and a large spin-on oil filter.
The difference between cheap and expensive oil filters
An essential part of routine maintenance is changing your vehicle’s engine oil and oil filter. Although many vehicle owners may still overlook the importance of changing the oil filter regularly, selecting the right replacement for oil filters is crucial to ensure smooth and efficient operation. When it comes to buying oil filters, many get conflicted as vehicle’s manuals, installers, quick-lube operators, mechanics and retail clerks all have different opinions about which type is best for your vehicle, but the reality is that it takes little research to decide between a cheap and a good quality oil filter. Even some automotive professionals might end up installing low-quality oil filters that are nowhere near as good as OEM filters installed in your vehicle.
There are usually several grades of filters made by filter manufacturers – good, better, best. If you use mineral oil, one of the ways to remove any contamination and debris and restore the dielectric strength, is to filter the mineral oil. The filtering process isn’t complex, it is fast and very effective for particulate removal, so you don’t need to spend more for a better filter. But if you use a synthetic oil or intend to go longer between oil changes, consider buying a top-of-the-line name-brand filter.
Modern high-performance oil filters can be more expensive, but they use high-end materials like synthetic glass fibers or a composite of cellulose and glass, which have the ability to capture and hold more debris as it is likely to encounter in its service in life. While most oil filters have filter media made of wood pulp (cellulose) and cotton linters, which does not offer high holding capacity compared to fiberglass or synthetic ones. The fibers in fiberglass and micro-glass filter media are ten times finer than those in cellulose filter media, which is why they perform better than cellulose filter media.
Although most oil filters look very similar, they could still have a different bypass valve rating, flow rate, or filter media that are not compatible with your vehicle’s engine. Make sure to check for small differences in the threads or gasket size that can determine whether or not a particular filter is the right choice for your vehicle. Even the wrong oil filter can be deceiving, just because the threads line up and look like it fits properly, doesn’t mean that it is the right type.
It is not always the case that expensive oil filters are of higher quality. Many of the best oil filters can be found at the most affordable prices, such as NAPA Gold oil filters, which are frequently rated among the best.
How much should I spend on an oil filter?
When choosing an oil filter, it is important to take driving habits and road conditions into consideration as the cost of an oil and filter change will vary depending on where you live and the kind of vehicle you drive. For instance, advanced high-flow oil filters like the Purolator BOSS and the Royal Purple Extended Life Premium Oil Filter are a great choice when it comes to highway driving, road trips, or longer commutes, ensuring smooth and efficient operation for as long as the vehicle remains in service. An oil filter usually costs anywhere between $9 and $16. However, Oil filter changes depend on how often you change your oil. When changing the oil, it is generally advised for the filter to be replaced every two changes. For example, if you change your oil every 2500 miles, then you should also change the oil filter every 5000 miles.
Most brand-name oil filters from well-known companies like Mobile 1 and Fram have great quality and can be purchased for between $7 and $15. However, generally speaking, more expensive filters are better than cheap ones, because they use better filtration materials. They also have many benefits such as more filter capacity, efficiency, and compatibility with synthetic oils.
Why you shouldn’t buy cheap oil filters
Generally speaking, using poor-quality oil filters can lead to serious engine damage such as the engine drying out, oil leak, engine performance degraded, and many more. Either of these situations could lead to serious engine damage. This means it’s important than ever to not compromise when choosing a product for your vehicle to maximize the longevity of your engine and optimize its performance. So it’s of the utmost importance to check your engine’s manual before choosing the oil filter for your vehicle.
Spending a little more money on a good quality oil filter offers better filtration and performance as cheap oil filters are designed to minimum specification and that is reflected in their cost. There are numerous problems when using poor-quality oil filters that could havoc your vehicle’s engine such as drain back failure, bypass valve failure, media breakdown blocking oil galleries and timing chain tensioner, and many more. When it comes to critical systems such as engine oil supply, using cheaper parts is high risk and not advised.
We tend to stick with OEM filters – the filters made by the vehicle’s manufacturer. Industry oil filters are usually not produced using the same materials and specifications as the original product, which can lead to damage or affect the functional integrity of your equipment. OEM oil filters have higher quality including its filter body material and exact measurements. So you can never go wrong with those. Also, make sure you follow the instructions on how often to replace or maintain your oil filter. Typically, these instructions depend on the conditions you drive in regularly and the mileage.