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Good, Better, Best

“This oil filter doesn’t protect your engine as well but it costs one dollar less. Do you want to buy it?” I am generally confused when large manufacturers of name brand automotive parts start to market cheaper parts for the more cost conscious consumer. Especially an oil filter.

I am not a fan of the good better best approach to automotive repair. Part selection is a very important part of my business. I am always trying to search for the best possible parts. For sure cost is a part of part selection but some parts do not warrant compromise. The oil filter is one of those.

In general I cannot tell if your oil filter is working as it should. In many cases I would not even know if it failed. What I do know is if your engine oil filter is not doing its job the life of your engine will be a lot shorter than it should be. If your engine lasts 100 000 km and then develops major problems can I trace the failure back to a lack of oil filtration?

That would take some serious scientific process and would cost the consumer a whole lot of extra money. Big fleet operators use oil analysis to determine when to change engine oil and filters. One oil analysis cost a lot more than the best oil filter.

Filtering engine oil is a balance. All automobiles on the road today use a full flow oil filter. That means all the engine oil flows from the pump through the filter and out to the engine. There are no shortcuts around the filter. The filter part is a pleated porous paper like material. That paper has to let the oil through with very little restriction but it must remove almost all particles down to around 10 microns in diameter. A human hair is 45 to 70 microns in diameter.

The balance of removing particles and allowing flow within a small little canister full of pleated paper is essential to your engine's long life. Good oil filters maximize the filter media using lots of large pleats and fancy synthetic media that stops big particles at the outside surface of the media and then catches smaller particles as the oil passes further through the media.

All oil filters incorporate some type of bypass system when the filter cannot allow enough oil through. At this point the bypass opens and allows oil through without being filtered. Lower quality filters will use just basic cellulose paper as filter media and less and smaller pleats. They will plug up faster or if the filter media does not stop smaller particles it will just let those particles through.

With today's longer oil change intervals your oil filter’s job is more important than ever. More miles means more particles to collect. High quality filtration will ensure that your filter is doing its job right from the time it installed until the time it is removed.

When it comes to filtration go with the best.

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