The primary purpose of an oil filter is to keep sediment, dirt and other particles out of a vehicle's engine. Oil filters can be good (with excellent filtration), normal or bad. You can make informed decisions about oil filters by knowing what types of oil filters are available and which ones---across name brands---provide comparable filtration.
Types of Oil Filters
Oil filters that fall into the bad category are standard paper filters that have cardboard end caps. There have been problems reported where pieces of the paper or cardboard end up in unwanted places, such as the engine. Paper filters generally filter down to 40 microns
Advanced filters with oil filter elements made from paper, fibreglass and cellulose are effective down to 15 microns or less. Advanced filters also boast more surface area on their filter elements so they have more capacity to catch and hold debris in the oil. Some of the best and most effective oil filters utilise several filtering elements rolled into one.
No oil filter is 100 per cent effective. When shopping for oil filters, read your oil filter label to determine what type of filter element is being used as well as the claimed percentage of effectiveness.
Oil Filter Cross Reference Information
The SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) run commercial oil filters through a series of tests before rating them. A single-pass test verifies contaminant holding capacity size, size of particles trapped and the ability to keep your oil clean. A multi-pass tests checks for filter life in hours and efficiency based on the weight of the oil being used.
For the most part, oil filters with paper filtration elements are interchangeable---read your vehicle maintenance manual for the exact filter size---and priced quite low. Typical testing numbers for paper element filters are 85 per cent effectiveness on single-pass tests and 80 per cent effectiveness on multi-pass tests. Comparable filters (with paper elements and cardboard end caps) are the Fram Extra Guard PH8A, the Fram Tough Guard TG8A and the Fram High Mileage HM8A.
Average efficiency oil filters (paper or cellulite filters with stamped-steel end caps) include the AC Delco Duraguard PF2, the Champion SF-1A, the Motorcraft Long Lasting FL-1A, the NAPA 1515 Gold and the Deutsch (Champion) D539. Best efficiency (advanced) oil filters (those with synthetic elements and stamped-steel end caps) include the Mobile 1 M1-301, the Bosche Purolator, the Hard Driver HD01, the K&N HP-3001 and the Pure One PL30001.
Check with your manufacturer to determine the recommended oil filter for your vehicle and always ask his advice whenever you decide to change oil filters or motor oil brands.