Best Oil Filter 2017 – Reviews & Top Picks

It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of having the best oil filter, because anytime you have to change the oil you’ll use one of these. There are few components in your car that gets used as much, and it won’t be long before the filter gets filled up. Finding oil filters isn’t hard, but finding the best one for your car is another matter.

There are thousands of these filters online, and each one will say it’s the best, but doing your homework will help you separate the mediocre from the good. This won’t just make you a more informed consumer but a better driver too.

Best Oil Filter - Our Top Picks

Which oil filters are best for your car? Our reviews reveal the top filters available today.

Reviews of the Best Oil Filter

Royal Purple 10-2835 Extended Life Oil Filter

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The 10-2835 filter comes with an extra thick shell for added protection against debris and punctures. These filters are also equipped with metal end caps which serve as a filter element assembly seal. Each one of these Royal Purple filters also has a center tube so the structure remains intact.

The filters have a screen-back synthetic media to ensure optimum filtration while maintaining low flow restriction. The gasket is constructed from high quality nitrile rubber and comes with heavy-gauge steel back plate for extra durability.

Mobil 1 M1-110 Extended Performance Oil Filter

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The M1-110 is a sophisticated oil filter which can hold up to 28 grams of engine contaminants, and with its solid aluminum design can handle up to 615 psi operating pressure. It has a multi-pass efficiency rating of 99.6%, and it prevents dry starts by getting rid of internal leakage.

The M1-110 also comes with cartridge and spin on oil filters, ensuring 97% compatibility with existing vehicles. Aside from offering longer life performance, these filters work with all kinds of motor oil.

Bosch 3330 Premium FILTECH Oil Filter

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The Bosch is equipped with proprietary media technology screens that keep dangerous contaminants out of the engine. A look at the 3330 also shows it has reinforced steel base plates and casings for warpage prevention, and the design also prevents poor fitting and leaks.

The Bosch oil filters have silicone anti-drain back valves so oil supply is always clean during vehicle startup. The gasket comes with high lubricity for a tight but easy to remove seal. Like other Bosch oil filters the 3330 the seam is double locked so it is leak free.

Fram PH7317 Extra Guard Passenger Car Spin-On Oil Filter

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The PH7317 is a no frills oil filter that offers 5,000 mile protection and the filter has been specially engineered so it can be used regular oil. One of the problems with most oil filters is their inability to find the right balance between holding and trapping dirt, but the PH7317 does it well.

The PH7317 was designed for daily use by drivers, and it’s something you’ll find useful for daily maintenance. With 95% efficiency in trapping dirt, it offers superior protection for engines.

K&N KN-138 Powersports High Performance Oil Filter

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The Powersports is an all-around oil filter which you can use on cars, ATVs, trucks and other vehicles. If applicable, the anti-drain back valve gets rid of dry starts and ensures the oil doesn’t drain in the crankcase when the engine is being shut down. You will also notice the nut is exposed for so the filter is easy to replace.

The oil filter is made for heavy duty use, and it is designed to trap 99% of all contaminants. This is a simple but effective oil filter, and what sets it apart from the rest is the nut, as it really makes removal easy. No need to use a wrench anymore as it comes off quickly.

K&N HP-1008 Performance Wrench-Off Oil Filter

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The K&N HP-1008 has a resin-impregnated filter media for optimum performance and its vast filter surface allows it to trap most of the contaminants. The HU is easy to install and just as convenient to remove, which makes it ideal for all drivers. Like other K&N filters, the nut is exposed for easy removal.

The filter has received a lot of good feedback for being easy to remove. But its resin impregnated cellulose is just as integral to the design as it allows for high flow rates with good filtration. The high filter flow rate is in fact good enough for use in racing vehicles.

ACDelco PF2232 Professional Engine Oil Filter

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The ACDelco PF2232 oil filter has a 98% filtering proficiency, and its burst strength is five times stronger than the operating pressure of most engines, ensuring greater durability. The oil filter also comes with cellulose media which ensnares particles a thinner than human hair.

The ACDelco PF2232 is equipped with a thermosetting adhesive seal which keeps the filter in place. The filter can handle up to a quart of oil and is good enough for cars and trucks, even those you drive for hundreds of thousands of miles.

Types of Oil Filters

Primary Oil Filters

The majority of car engine manufacturers use primary oil filters or full flow filters. Oil is filtered 100% so there’s very little restriction. Motor oil thickens in cold weather and if the oil filter is restrictive could result in engine damage. To deal with the presence of small particles a fail-safe bypass valve is installed.

Secondary Oil Filters 

These filters concentrate on about 10% of the oil, cleaning it before being rerouted to the engine. These function independently from the primary filters and also remove many contaminants.

Conventional Oil Filters

These are secondary filters and have cellulose membrane properties. They can also remove contaminants. Make sure if it is of high quality to avoid frequent replacing.

Thermal Chamber Oil Filters 

These filter the motor oil to get rid of impurities and increase the temperature so any remaining contaminants are destroyed. While these oil filters can be effective, they need electrical power so it’s not as efficient.

Centrifugal Oil Filters

These use a spinning mechanism to hold and trap contaminants in motor oil. They have components like the membrane and the housing chamber, and the base gasket is another important part as it prevents leaks from the motor oil. For best results, have the base gasket of the spinning filter checked every 4,000 to 6,000 miles.

Magnetic Oil Filters 

These oil filters get rid of the metallic contaminants in the oil. Magnetic oil filters don’t have to be replaced as regular cleaning will do.

Types of Oil Filter Media

Oil filters use different membranes or media to remove contaminants and impurities in motor oil.

Cellulose Filter Media

Disposable and spin on oil filters often use cellulose filter media. These are capable of trapping 8 to 10 micron particles and clean substantial amounts of motor oil. For the best results you should check it every 3,000 miles to see if replacement is needed.

Synthetic Filter Media 

These are high quality media and can eliminate particles ranging from 20 to 40 microns in size and also some of those in the 8 to 10 micron size. You should evaluate these filters every 5,000 miles.

Microglass Filter Media 

These are high end media and used by high end filters. Microglass is a fine metal mesh comprised of fibers which are several times finer compared to cellulose. While they are found on high end oil filters only, they only need replacement every 5 years or 10,000 miles.

Technology is always evolving and manufacturers are always coming out with new designs. However you should not worry too much about this as your car will recommend specific types of filters and media. Do not use filters other than what is recommended for your vehicle as it might damage the components.

Guidelines for Using Motor Oil Filters

  • Oil filters have to do several important tasks such as lubricate the internal components, keep the engine by heat transference and get rid of contaminants. To ensure your car is in good condition, keep the following guidelines in mind.
  • Use the oil filters that are specified in your car’s user manual. This would be a full flow filter, but the absolute micron rating, pressure, bypass valve cracking, flow rates, and pressure drop vary per manufacturer.
  • Check if in-depth filters have to be replaced. These are installed on a hydraulic or side stream parallel circuit to deal with water contamination, hydraulic system “silt” and combustion soot. Absorbent filters are good in eliminating water.
  • Avoid coarse filters as they’re not going to help extend the filter. If the contamination level is severe, use bigger filters to better handle the dirt. If installing an in-depth filter for the first time on a parallel circuit, expect its life to be short as it has to clean the contamination.
  • Change the filter as indicated in your owner’s manual. However you should change the filter sooner if you drive your car under trying conditions, i.e. dusty and dirty roads. You should also use motor oil analysis tools to determine the amount of soot that has built up and the level of contamination in hydraulic oil.
  • Don’t drain the oil without having the oil filter replaced. Given a choice between replacing full flow filters and draining the oil, change the filters. The hydraulic reservoir breather filters also have to be as good as the full flow filters for best results. You should also use hydraulic and lubricating oils with the proper viscosity.
  • In case repair is done on your car, do not reinstall hydraulic oil that’s been used without pre-filtering fluid. A repaired system must also be flushed under low pressure.
  • You also have to avoid adsorbent depth-type filters as these are not the same as absorbent depth filters. Adsorbent filters have fuller’s earth, charcoal and other active media, and while they eliminate contaminants, they may affect the oil’s chemical composition.

Parts of an Oil Filter

Anti drain back valve: this flap-like contraption keeps oil from seeping into the filter when you start your vehicle.

Center Steel Tube: when the oil has been filtered it reenters the engine via this center steel tube.

End Discs: there is an end disc at both sides of the filter medium. It is made of metal or fiber and keeps the unfiltered oil from getting into the steel center tube and going into the engine. Thin metal pieces known as retainers keep them in place.

Relief Valve: When the temperature is cold, the engine oil gets thick and has difficulty going through the filter medium. With a relief valve some of the unfiltered oil gets into the engine so it can be lubricated. When the oil gets heated it will pass the regular filter.

Tapping plate/gasket: this is where oil goes into and exits an oil filter. It has an opening in the middle with smaller holes around it. Oil passes through the small openings on the tapping gate outskirts (the gasket). The oil departs via the center hole which is connected to the engine.

Filter Medium: this is the part that does the filtering. It is comprised of synthetic and cellulose fibers that function like a sieve to get contaminants before the oil gets to the engine. Filters are either folded or pleated.

How Oil Filters Work

Pressure is used to push the dirty oil into the filter media and through the center hole, then it passes back into the engine. We mentioned the many types of filters and filter media, but for cars they always use full flow filters and primary media. The secondary media is also used in some cases.

The more time a filter is set on the vehicle, the more particles will be trapped and suspended, until the time comes when oil can no longer pass it. A bypass valve can help but the time comes when you have to replace the filter.

Conclusion

Your car needs to be maintained properly to ensure optimum performance, and one of the ways to ensure this is to have the best oil filter. With this guide hopefully you’ll be better informed and understand why these filters are very important. Given the tasks these filters perform, you cannot settle for second best.

  • Updated May 3, 2017
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