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Oil filters

I have a choice of two filters, a small one, about the size of a frozon juice can, the other large,r about 1/2 the size of a one pound coffee can. The larger has about twice the filter media area. I am thinking the larger will hve a lower pressure drop across the media, so better flow, and less back pressure at the oil pump. Also, a slightly larger capacity, about a half quart. Any reason I’m not seeing that I shouldn’t use the larger?

It’s always better to have more filter media as possible. But you have to remember that most oil filters are by-pass type oil filters.

This means there’s a by-pass valve in the oil filter that allows the oil to by-pass the filter media when the engine is started cold and the oil is thick, or if the filter media becomes so restricted oil can’t pass thru. This by-pass ensures the engine is never is starved of oil.

But the more filter media there is, the better.


What’s the year, make, model, and engine?

If the larger one is specified for your car (not just that it fits) and it’s a name brand, I’d use it.

Asemaster-how would the info you ask for change any possible answer? Does oil flow differently in a Ford vs. a Dodge, etc? I’m not trying to be argumentative, just curious.

There should be one, and only one, particular oil filter specified by the car’s manufacturer. This model filter may be offered by different manufacturers but still they all look alike. How is it you state you have a choice of two very different-looking oil filters? Where did you get your information?

@SteveF, I had a Mazda Protege once that had a choice of a large and small filter. The small filter was the OEM size, and the larger filter was listed in the filter book as an alternate. The thread size and o-ring size were the same. I used the larger filter from then on.

mine’s a Mazda, see Bustedknuckles’ comment

There should be one, and only one, particular oil filter specified by the car's manufacturer

While I haven’t seen in a while…I have seen more then one filter available for the same vehicle with the same engine.

I’ve also seen different filters for the same engine, but for different vehicles. One vehicle was a truck…the other was a mid-size car - Same engine…different filter depending on what vehicle the engine was in.

And then there’s vehicles like my 84 S-15. GM when through 4 different filters on that engine for the 6 years I owned it.

And there’s Ford that for years and years used ONE filter for ALL their gas engines. Didn’t matter if it was a 4-cylinder or a Large block V8. They all used the same filter.

@CrustyXII - If you have a Mazda Skyactiv or rotary engine I would stick with the (small) OEM Mazda filter. These two engines have VERY specific needs for oil flow and I would be concerned using an aftermarket filter, even if it is larger. If your Mazda has any of their other engines then you can use the (larger) aftermarket filters without too much worry.

I own a Mazda 3i with the Skyactiv engine and have used nothing but OEM Mazda filters since it was brand new. I change the oil every 7,500 miles (using Schedule 1 for “non severe” driving) and have over 41,000 miles. So far I have not seen any oil consumption or other signs of wear.

@Crusty XII, because I would look up the original equipment filter for your car and recommend you stick with the original design, shape, and size. I assume we’re talking about a late model car, not an old V8 you’re restoring or rebuilding.

Stick with the original. The engineers who designed and built your engine know more about what it needs than the people on an internet forum.

On a Chevy 305V8 the filter used on cars was a small canister. The filter used when the same engine was in a pickup was nearly twice as large. Since there was lots of room underneath, I always bought the larger version when doing my own oil changes. Also easier to install.

Trucks presumably worked harder and in a dirtier environment. The auto supply shop where I go has two sizes depending whether you own a 305 truck or a 305 car.

But if there are two listed, is there a reason to NOT use the larger one, if both are acceptable to the maker?

I doubt that the original manufacturer offered two filters for your year, make, model, engine, drivetrain, etc., but I could be wrong. True, Chevrolet used 2 different oil filters on engines depending on available space and location of the filter, but that was on an engine design that dated from the 1950’s. I assume we’re talking about a late model car here.

What’s the year, make, model of the car in question?

I believe I asked a similar question regarding my 2002 Tundra here a while back. I bought a Bosch oil filter instead of the usual one from Toyota and the Bosch filter is shorter.

So it may not be that the “Original Manufacturer” offers the two sizes and simply mean that different filter manufacturers make shorter or longer filters than the original - but they work just fine.

If the oil seal ring is the same along with the thread pitch then I don’t see a problem with using a larger filter if it fits into the space provided.

Larger filter means more filtering media, bit of extra oil for engine savior purposes, and can help the oil run at least a tiny bit cooler due to quantity.

Others will disagree but I use only the OEM filters such as AC or Honda. There should only be one filter specified in the owners manual.

I did get in trouble once using a filter that was physically larger than the original filter, but it was on a riding mower with a hydrostatic drive. The filter was for the hydrostatic transmission and a certain model Fram filter was specified. When I changed the fluid in the hydrostatic unit and was replacing the filter, I found the Fram was cross referenced with a house brand filter at Quality Farm and Fleet where I bought the mower. All went well until I started using the mower. When I would raise the deck with the hydraulic mechanism from the transmission, the support for the mower deck would hit the filter. This eventually put a hole in the filter and the mower ground to a stop in the middle of the yard. I replenished the automatic transmission fluid in the hydrostatic unit and put on the correct Fram filter as called for in the manual. Even though I wouldn’t have this problem with a vehicle, I’ve been spooked since that time about using the recommended filter.

thank you all for the info…

I have an '84 Honda VF700 bike, and rather than surrender two appendages (and wait on parts) at the bike shop, I looked on the net for “work-arounds.”

An auto filter was recommended…actually 2 different ones were, depending on site perused. I checked and, yes, same thread pitch/gasket diameter on both. Curiosity got the better of me and I started cross-referencing filters…literally a dozen filters at Wal-Mart were the same thread pitch/gasket diameter! All different cars, too.

So, other than pitch, gasket diameter, and needing to fit in the space provided, what else is “make-specific” about a Purolator or Fram? Bypass PSI? It stands to reason profits could be maximized if one filter could be utilized on dozens of vehicles.