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The best oil filters for smoother running

• Oil filters keep your engine oil free from contaminants
• Find out about some clever features
• See some of the best brands available

Written by Alex Boyd Published: 25 January 2024 Updated: 16 February 2024

Many components are toiling away under your car’s bonnet to keep things ticking over in a healthy fashion, one unsung hero being the oil filter working away, keeping the oil clean as it lubricates and cools your engine. Let’s be honest about this: talking oil filters is probably not the most exciting thing you’ll experience today, but it’s worth taking some time to consider how important they can be to the health of your engine by keeping the oil clean and preventing the build of sludge and other nasties, so it’s important to change them regularly.

Most oil filters just look like a metal can that you screw onto the engine, but it’s what’s inside the can that is important. You will probably change the oil filter at the same time as you are doing an oil change. The internal components will include the filter media, usually made from a porous material like paper, synthetic fibres, or a combination of materials. This is what keeps the oil clean. Other components can include an anti-drain valve, which prevents oil from draining back into the sump when the engine is turned off and allows immediate lubrication when the engine is restarted.

Another common component is a relief or bypass valve, designed to open when the oil filter becomes clogged or the oil is too thick, allowing unfiltered oil to bypass the filter and continue circulating through the engine. This safety measure prevents engine damage if oil flow is restricted.

The best oil filters at a glance:

Editor’s choice: K&N Premium Oil Filter – Buy now from Amazon UK
Best for older vehicles: Fram PH8A Oil Filter – Buy now from Amazon UK
Best for high-end oils: MANN-FILTER W 79 Oil filter – Buy now from Amazon UK

One other (external) component which could be looked on as being quite important is the oil filter removal tool – you could get into a bit of trouble without one of these. It may not perform miracles on the same scale as the ECU, but in its own way, the humble oil filter is ready and waiting to keep your engine protected. Obviously, you should check and make sure you order the correct type of filter for your vehicle; we’ve looked at a random selection of the best filters to see what they have to offer.

How to find the right oil filter for your car

Make sure you order the correct oil filter for your vehicle by inputting your registration number into the Amazon Garage.

Pros

  • Order from home
  • Get the correct part

Cons

  • May need Amazon Prime for free delivery

The best oil filters

Editor's choice

Rrp: £13.66

Price: £11.70
The first K&N component was an air filter designed to cope with the demands of dusty and dirty off-road motorbiking. Since that development more than 50 years ago, K&N has become an industry leader in automotive filters, not just in motorsports but for domestic motorists, too. One of the handy features of this filter is the inclusion of a one-inch exposed nut for easy oil filter removal, and the filter media traps 99% of contaminants.

Pros

  • High-efficiency rating
  • External nut for easy removal

Cons

  • Better suited to higher performance situations
Great for older models
Price: £10.92
Fram offers a selection of after-market filtration solutions for the automotive industry with an extensive oil filter range. They've been in the business for many years now, and their filter medium is a proprietary combination of glass fibres and cellulose, which retains abrasive particles that could cause engine wear and also supports a high oil flow rate to keep the engine well lubricated.

Pros

  • High flow rate
  • Reliable manufacturer

Cons

  • Some Fram filters use cardboard end-caps
Well known quality brand
Price: £8.63
Alternative Retailers
Halfords
£7.99
This filter from Bosch is a good example of a cartridge replacement filter. Bosch oil filters provide strong engine protection with an efficiency rating of 97.5% and the ability to hold 13 grams of contaminants. They provide reliable engine lubrication in a wide range of engine temperatures and oil pressure conditions.

Pros

  • Good for varying temperatures
  • Robust and corrosion-resistant

Cons

  • 13-gram capacity isn't particularly high
Best for high end oils

Rrp: £11.77

Price: £9.47
Alternative Retailers
Halfords
£9.05
MANN-FILTER has supplied OEM quality after-market oil filters for over 70 years, their filters having the same technical and quality specifications as the part originally fitted. Mercedes uses MANN-FILTERS as OEM on some of their models, which is quite a recommendation in itself.

Pros

  • Designed for high-quality oils
  • OEM standards

Cons

  • Perhaps not as widely available as some other brands
Best Asian vehicle specialist

Rrp: £5.70

Price: £5.24
The Blue Print brand was launched back in 1994, specialising in spares for Asian vehicles from Toyota and Hyundai to Honda and Suzuki. Part of their spares portfolio is the production of OEM quality oil filters, now covering over 90% of all passenger cars on Europe’s roads.

Pros

  • Asian vehicle specialists
  • European and American models are covered too

Cons

  • May be viewed by some as a budget brand

Choosing the correct oil filter:

It’s important to note that the most suitable oil filter for your vehicle depends on the make, model, and engine specifications. Additionally, vehicle manufacturers often have specific recommendations for oil filter brands and types.

Oil filters come in various sizes, so make sure to choose one that matches the specifications outlined in your car’s manual. The filter’s thread size, diameter, and height should be compatible with your engine. Amazon provides a handy tool called Amazon Garage, where you can type in your car’s registration number, and it’ll tell you which are the correct parts (not just for oil filters) for your particular vehicle. It’s really handy and takes a lot of the guesswork out of ordering spares for your car.

Remember that regular oil and filter changes are essential for maintaining your vehicle’s performance and longevity. If you have any doubts or questions, consult your car manufacturer, dealer or a qualified mechanic for personalized advice.

Alex Boyd is a Commercial Content Writer at Bauer Media writing for Parker’s and CAR, and loves travel, gardening, DIY and music.

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