Best Oil Filters of 2023 (Reviews & Buying Guide)

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If motor oil is the blood of the engine, then the oil filter is its liver. Regular oil and filter changes are the difference between a clean engine that has been driven hundreds of thousands of miles and a dirty bag full of broken metal junk. And it’s easier and cheaper than a liver transplant.
Many modern engines use cartridge oil filters. It is easy to determine the condition of the cartridge filter: when the filter is opened, the filter element is visible, which is a replaceable part.
However, the traditional spin-on oil filter is more common. It is also easy to remove, and to replace it is enough just to put on a new one. But the outer steel tank hides the filter element, so most of us will never see its innards.
Most of the filters in this list have been review tested. Each was used on a running engine for a normal cycle. After that, they are cut and carefully examined. The test provides our buying guide with a clearer and more realistic list of recommendations than most. In addition, there is a lot of research going on to make sure the filter you choose is really worth the money.
The quality and perfect fit of Beck-Arnley spin-on oil filters have earned us the Best Overall Score award. We’ve used dozens of these filters on everything from turbocharged 4-cylinder engines to naturally aspirated V6 engines with great results. Consistent quality and performance keep us coming back again and again.
It didn’t occur to us to cut one of the filters, so we put a new and used filter in the cutter for comparison. The thick steel tank from Beck-Arnley nearly beat the butter cutter; tried several times before giving up. The leak protection valve works fine, the used filter canister is almost full of used oil even after several weeks of inactivity on the drain pan, and a lot of dirt and debris accumulate in the filter media.
Every Beck-Arnley part we’ve ever used has been as good or better than an OEM dealer part, and the oil filter even comes with a service reminder sticker.
You might think that we are ruining the gaskets by recommending Genuine or Genuine Parts as the best for the price. But time and time again, every OEM filter, even if not the cheapest one, always works as it should. So unless you have to pay more or don’t want to change your oil filter often, OEM filters are usually the best deal on the market.
Using genuine OEM products takes the guess work out of oil and filter selection, especially when manufacturer oil and filter change intervals go well beyond 5,000 miles. Of course, OEM parts are usually more expensive. But for this test, we consistently find that OEM oil filters are actually more price-competitive than their aftermarket counterparts. Some even cost less.
The image above shows a genuine Mitsubishi pleated filter outperforming aftermarket competitors in both quality and price. However, any OEM product can meet your needs.
K&N Performance Gold oil filters have higher performance and cost, but these features make them an attractive upgrade. Weld nuts are its most common feature, but K&N always stocks the jar with plenty of good stuff.
The thick steel housing is difficult to pass through, and the internals were noticeably taller than other oil filters in our tests. At first glance, the parts look the same, but the extra rows and larger bores and the unique center tube design make it clear that K&N is designing oil filters to improve performance.
K&N claims their synthetic filter media and end cap design allows 10% more oil to pass through the filter than the competition, and given the company’s proud racing heritage, we can definitely see the benefits. For what it’s worth, the welded end nuts alone justify the extra cost to K&N after it was hard to remove too many oil filters in our time.
It’s not a household name, but Denso is an OEM supplier to major automakers such as Toyota. We have concluded that their oil filters for our application are a good fit for our OEM parts. Open the robust steel tank to reveal the dual layer filter media, silicone backflow preventer and pre-lubricated o-rings.
Denso Auto Parts supplies the consumer market with OE quality parts such as oil filters that meet or exceed OE specifications and are suitable for use. We have found that Denso’s only downside is affordability, as the most popular filters often sell out.
Today’s longer oil change intervals and the growing number of new vehicles leaving the factory with synthetic oils make choosing the right oil filter more important than ever. Using a genuine or original oil filter (like Motorcraft) is a great option, even if you have to spend a little more. Purchasing an OEM quality oil filter from an original equipment supplier is the next best thing. Aftermarket oil filters can meet or exceed OEM specifications, but quality is more important than brand name. If you’re going to be involved in track days, drag racing or towing in the future, consider a high performance oil filter.
Choosing the right oil filter depends largely on the application you are using. A simple search for the model year will lead you to the correct location in most cases. However, a few simple tips will help you choose a filter that will keep your engine in good condition.
Self-contained spin-on filters became popular in the mid-1950s and have maintained the status quo in automotive engine oil filtration for the past fifty years. Unfortunately, their ease of use has resulted in mountains of used, non-biodegradable oil filters littering landfills and workshops. Add to that the decline of large-displacement, gas-guzzling engines compared to today’s smaller, higher-revving engines, and you’ll find that their popularity is declining.
Cartridge oil filters are back. Its removable, reusable housing, combined with replaceable filter elements, greatly reduces waste. Although they are slightly more labor intensive, they are cheaper to maintain than spin-on products. And more environmentally friendly.
However, modern cartridge oil filtration systems are not without drawbacks. Some manufacturers use lightweight plastic filter housings that not only require special tools to remove, but are also known to be tough and sometimes crack when overtightened.
It’s important to know what type of filter your car has, but looking up the model year can really save you a lot of work. All you need to know is your car’s engine details and a simple search will take you to the right place. However, knowing the type of filter you expect helps to double-check your work.
This is typical for spin-on filters. Many aftermarket filters come with fragile and cheap housings and should be avoided. They are more attractive initially due to their low cost, but cause serious problems. It is not uncommon for an oil filter to get stuck in place and require an oil filter wrench to remove it. The fragile shell will break and you will face a nightmare. Take the time to find well-built filters to avoid clutter.
The filter medium is the core and most important part of the oil filter. The corrugated material is wrapped around the central tube and the filter assembly can be held together with steel or cellulose plugs. Some new filters are glued to the center tube and do not have end plates. Manufacturers use wood-based cellulose, synthetic filter media, or a combination that best suits the needs of the engine.
One oil filter can cost anywhere from $5 to $20. How much you can pay depends on the type of filter you use and how it fits your application. In addition, quality is the biggest factor affecting the price of oil filters.
Answer: Yes. Today’s engines run so cleanly that manufacturers are increasingly recommending an oil change every 7,500 to 10,000 miles, making new oil filters mandatory. Some older engines only need a new filter every 3,000 miles, but these days it’s best to use a new filter at every oil change.
Answer: Not necessarily. Automakers typically source parts such as oil filters from original equipment suppliers such as Denso and label them with their own brand. Some of these companies, like Denso, offer exactly the same aftermarket parts, and they match OEM quality in every way except the branding. Some aftermarket companies have corrected OEM shortcomings and developed better filters.
Answer: Yes and no. The oil filter part number must match your specific engine. You will need to look in the owner’s manual for the specific part number. Likewise, most auto parts stores have information about your make, model, and engine size and can tell you what will fit and what won’t.
A: Yes, especially if your engine was filled with synthetic oil at the factory. Standard cellulose oil filter media will work for a while in a pinch. However, oil filters with hybrid or synthetic media can withstand the longer life of synthetic oil. Use caution and follow the oil and filter manufacturer’s recommendations.
A. Follow your vehicle’s maintenance schedule. It is impossible to check if the spin-on oil filter is dirty without cutting it open. Some cartridge filters can be checked without draining the oil, but if they are not clearly clogged, then a visual inspection will not tell anything. Change the oil filter at every oil change. Then you will know.
Our reviews are based on field testing, expert opinions, real customer reviews and our own experience. We always strive to provide honest and accurate guides to help you find the best option.


Post time: May-09-2023
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