The Best Oil Filter for Your Vehicle – A Buyer’s Guide

Routine maintenance has long been proven the best way to prevent mechanical trouble with your vehicle, and oil changes are by far the most common fluid service you’ll need to perform. When you change the engine oil, the oil filter should also be replaced. If it isn’t, you risk starving the engine of oil and causing lasting damage that could be more costly than you want to think about.

An oil filter can cost under $10 in some situations but range to more than $100 for some specialty applications. And as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. In this article, we’ll review what an oil filter does and the best oil filter choices available. 

How important is an oil filter? 

An engine oil filter is made up of paper or fabric layers that oil passes through as it returns from its lubricating and cooling duties inside the engine. The oil is also used to keep the internal components clean, and any loose particles or contaminants are suspended in the oil. As it passes through the oil filter, the particles are captured by the pleated layers and, since oil flows only one way through the filter, they remain trapped there.  

Vehicle oil filters keep collecting all the particulate matter until they’re replaced. During an oil change, the filter is removed and discarded and a new filter is installed in its place. All of the matter it’s collected is disposed of, never to have an opportunity to damage the engine. 

How long do oil filters really last? 

It might seem ridiculous to change the oil filter every oil change, even though intervals have extended to average 5,000 to 8,000 miles. But the damage that can result from improperly lubricated engine parts often costs thousands of dollars in parts and labor.  

The problem with oil filters is that you can’t see inside it. There’s no way to accurately know how much junk it’s collected while in use. Changing it is a preventative maintenance measure, and risking damage over an inexpensive part just isn’t worth it. It’s one of the cheapest insurances you can buy for your vehicle. 

Best oil filters reviews for 2022 

Which car oil filters are the best-selling and highest-rated? Here are your top oil filters to keep your car running like a well-oiled machine. 

STP Extended Life Oil Filter 

One of the best oil filters for synthetic oil is the STP Extended Life Oil Filter. It might not look unique, but why should it when it’s stuffed under the hood out of sight? But it’s characteristics make it great for extended oil change intervals of up to 10,000 miles when full synthetic oil is used, and leaks are prevented with a silicone gasket that can withstand temperatures up to 400 F. 

STP Oil Filter 

A high-quality yet inexpensive oil filter that keeps oil changes affordable is the STP oil filter. It can trap particles four times smaller than the naked eye can see with Advanced Micro Pore Technology Filter Media. With more than 100 part numbers, there’s an STP oil filter for virtually every make and model. 

ACDelco Oil Filter 

The ACDelco oil filter might seem like it’s just for GM models since it’s their parts brand, but they offer oil filters for 98% of the models on the road. The filter media captures particles as small as 25 microns and the cartridge is designed to withstand burst pressures up to five times normal operating pressure. And it certainly helps that they’re an affordable option. 

Fram Extra Guard Oil Filter 

A step up in quality from entry level oil filters, the Fram Extra Guard filter uses a combination of cellulose and glass fibers to filter the engine oil. It’s meant for higher-flow applications, meaning oil isn’t restricted in the filter when it should be bathing your moving engine parts. 

K&N High Performance Oil Filter 

Although they’re most recognized for air filtration, K&N also makes oil filters. The K&N High Performance Oil Filter may be a few bucks more, but the benefits are real. It uses synthetic media to remove 99% of contaminants and has an anti-drain back valve to eliminate dry starts. And because oil filters can be a pain to remove, these ones have an integrated 1-inch hex hut for easy removal.  

Mobil 1 Extended Performance Oil Filter 

Mobil 1 Extended Performance oil filters boast some pretty impressive perks. Not only do they claim 992% efficiency at filtering contaminants, but they include a bypass system for improving flow during cold starts and synthetic media for maximum filtration. They also purport an ability to hold twice the dirt as other leading brands, in case you miss your oil change interval a little.  

The right type of oil filter for your car 

Does the oil filter brand matter if you’re doing oil changes regularly? The answer is… maybe. Cheap filters can get blocked or restricted quickly and oil won’t flow as well when you get close to your oil change interval. Finding the right oil filter for your car is best done by ‘filtering’ search results with the applicable year, make, model, and engine size. 

Oil filter brands to avoid tend to be packaged in plain white boxes and have cheaply made paper or cellulose media inside. The more pleats and the deeper they are, the better they typically perform.  

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