Is a special oil filter needed when using synthetic oil?
The Brief Answer:
Compared to their predecessors, modern engines run hotter and generate more wear-causing contaminants that end up in the motor oil. For maximum protection and engine life, use a durable oil filter that uses full synthetic media. It will trap smaller particles and hold more of them compared to filters that use cellulose or blended filter media, helping you get peak performance and the most years out of your engine.
An oil filter's primary function: contain or capture contaminants in the oil that would otherwise cause damage in the engine. It seems simple enough. However, today’s more intense operating conditions coupled with longer oil change intervals demand use of a premium filter to get the best performance and most years out of your engine.
Increased contaminants – to boost fuel economy, automakers continue using turbochargers, direct fuel injection and other performance-improving technologies that introduce more contaminants into oil. It’s the oil filter’s job to trap these contaminants and prevent them from wearing out your engine, making filter efficiency and capacity important.
Smaller oil sumps and filters – engines today are smaller, use less oil than their predecessors, and they produce more power. Filters are also getting smaller as engine compartments continue to shrink. Less oil means less detergent and dispersant additives to help fight the by-products of combustion. Bascially, it falls on the filter’s efficiency and capacity to contend with additional contaminants. Since there’s less oil, it’s more important than ever to maintain oil cleanliness.
Longer drain intervals – original equipment manufacturers are recommending longer oil-change intervals, with some more than 16,000 km. In addition, oil life monitoring systems typically recommend longer drain intervals than traditionally performed. Conventional filters may not be designed to match these longer intervals.
What should you do?
Look for a filter that offers High Efficiency, High Capacity, and Durability.
High Efficiency: Efficiency describes the filter’s ability to capture contaminants. You can usually find a filter’s efficiency rating on the package or the manufacturer’s website. It’s reported as a percentage followed by a micron rating (e.g. “98.7 percent at 20 microns,” which is the efficiency of AMSOIL Ea® Oil Filters). It refers to the percentage of contaminants 20 microns and larger the filter traps in industry-standard (ASTM D4548-12) testing. The higher the percentage, the better.
High Capacity: Capacity refers to the amount of contaminants a filter can hold while still remaining effective. There’s no industry-standard capacity rating to help you compare filter to filter. But, full synthetic media offers greater capacity than conventional media. The smaller fibers in synthetic media allow more room for contaminants to lodge without restricting oil flow. Although you may not have a choice in the size of the filter available for your vehicle, it’s also best to use the largest filter possible. The more filter media, the higher the capacity.
Durability: Hot oil slowly degrades the resins that hold some filter media together. Extreme temperatures also degrade the anti-drain valve and baseplate gasket. Use a filter with reinforcement on the media, such as a wire backing, to withstand increased heat and longer drain intervals. Look for an anti-drain valve made of silicone for maximum durability. This ensures the oil stays in the filter after the engine is shut off, preventing dry starts the next day.
The filter market has seen an influx of oil filters designed with full synthetic media the past few years, so there are plenty to choose from. We suggest that you do your research, before making a choice.
AMSOIL Ea® Oil Filters are an excellent choice. They have one of the best efficiency ratings in the automotive industry. Plus they offer high capacity and durable construction to ensure your engine is protected.
Devoted To Protection
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