An oil filter is a critical part of an engine. A vehicle should get a new filter with every oil change, just to make sure the engine oil stays clean enough to lubricate the car or motorcycle. Because not all oil filters are alike, be sure to get one compatible with your vehicle and has the quality you need.
An ill-fitting oil filter could leak or otherwise fail to do its job. While many filters are available, no one filter is compatible with every vehicle. Even if the overall size and capacity are correct, the threading on the baseplate, where you screw the new filter in, might not fit. Use the part numbers to confirm compatibility with your car. If in doubt, make sure that the old and new filter are close to the same size and shape and that the gasket and baseplate are an exact match.
One difference between a basic and high-end oil filter is in the strength of the oil filter housing and the inner support structure. Filters can get banged up a bit, so they need some strength. Plus, a sturdy filter is easier to install; you do not have to worry about accidentally damaging it when handling it by hand or with a spanner or other tool. Look for a filter that does not dent when you squeeze it.
Media made entirely of cellulose fibres do work, but a higher quality material, such as a natural and synthetic fibre mix or even micro-glass, has a finer, more even texture that does a better job of trapping small particles.
An anti-drainback valve keeps the oil from draining out of the filter when you turn your car off. This way, when you start your car up again, the filter is already oiled up and ready to work. Starting your car with a dry filter can sometimes cause extra engine wear. Low-end oil filters do not always have these valves, while higher quality filters usually do have them.
The simplest way to shop is to buy the most expensive filter compatible with your car. However, even the simplest, most affordable filters are still good enough. Decide on a budget that works for you and look for the strongest filter with the finest media available within your price range.