Oil filters have some of the shortest replacement intervals of all car parts, and it’s easy to fall into a routine of going with whatever filter you usually buy. If you let your dealership or a mechanic handle your oil changes, you may not even know what kind of filter you have under the hood. Why does it matter? New advancements allow synthetic oil to last 10,000 miles between replacements. Yet you can’t move to that kind of extended maintenance intervals when you’re still using an oil filter designed for just 3,000 miles.
The Demand for Longer Intervals
Since modern drivers put far more miles on their personal vehicles than they ever did in the past, it’s not surprising that changing the oil every 3,000 miles has become a chore. For some people with serious commutes, they can hit this interval in a month or less. Unless you want to spend the time and energy on oil changes that often, you’ll want to upgrade to a motor oil that can go 10,000 miles or more before needing a change. You’ll still need to swap the filters at the regular mileage mark unless you upgrade to a long life oil filter as well.
These extended life oil filters don’t just feature a higher number on the box. Careful construction and higher quality materials ensure that these filters can actually last as long as they claim, and pass-through testing proves it. Some of the features used by different filter manufacturers include:
• Thicker metal shells to prevent accidental damage from pieces of road debris
• Deeper baffles to trap and hold more dirt without restricting flow
• Finer weave in the cellulose baffle material to trap smaller particles
• Reinforced centers to prevent collapse under higher pressure or movement of the baffle
• Stronger drain valves to withstand the extended number of starts
• By-pass valves to keep the oil flowing in case the filter becomes completely clogged
Original Equipment from the Manufacturer
Some of the oil filters coming from vehicle manufacturers already conform to these standards for longer use because the manufacturer has made the decision to increase all maintenance intervals. BMW is just one of the many manufacturers choosing this option, and the OEM filters they supply to dealerships and approved repair shops last 10,000 miles or more as a standard feature. If your vehicle’s manual recommends long intervals due to the design of the engine, you must keep up with those demands by only using extended life filters and oil. You can’t expect good results by installing a basic 3,000 mile filter and oil in one of these vehicles and ignoring it until the recommended maintenance retrieval.
It can be tricky to find long life oil filters for older cars and rare models. Drop-in style filters are easier to find in extended life design than metal enclosed spin-on designs, but if you have the right source for auto parts, you can find a matching long life filter for practically any make and model of car.