Are oil filters universal? Here’s the explanation

Most often, vehicle owners or operators have conflicting advice on the suitable filters on their cars. Car owner manuals, retail clerks, quick lube operators, installers, and mechanics have varied opinions.

So, oil filters are not universal since they come with different threads and sizes.

Generally, nobody can say it is a universal oil filter because vehicle manufacturers give specifications for the recommended oil filter weight and size required for a particular engine. And so, the specifications can vary from one to the other.

Therefore, the approach of one size fits all or universality in oil filters does not apply. This means that if you need an oil filter, you don’t just need to get to the store and buy any filter; you need to search through the available filters to find an ideal one for your car.

You need to ensure that the gasket’s size and diameter are correct. If you encounter challenges in choosing the right oil filter for your vehicle, you should consult your car manufacturer’s manual, mechanic, or store clerk.

Why are oil filters not car-specific?

If you are a keen car driver, you might have noticed that oil filters are not car-specific. Although different manufacturers give different specifications for oil filters specific to particular cars, automotive filters are made for all vehicles and can be used with any oil.

Generally, you don’t need to buy a different or unique oil filter while using synthetic oil. Therefore there are no car-specific oil filters because all filters work similarly, with oil flowing in from the holes through the filter media and out to the center tube as it goes to the other parts of the engine.

Moreover, all oil filters perform a similar function of sieving any debris contaminating the oil for the smooth running of the engine.

Can I find universal oil filters for cars in automotive shops?

Oil filters for cars are available in most automotive shops around the globe. However, not every automotive shop can offer you a quality oil filter that meets your car’s requirements.

Some shops are brokers, and they aim to scoop money from customers who may come running to their shops to buy such oil filters. You should be careful when searching for universal oil filters because they differ.

Since the customer may have no choice, they end up buying low-quality universal oil filters at a high cost, there is a need to be careful when choosing where to buy.

The best way to be sure you are safe in getting the right shop is to consider their experience, customer satisfaction rating, and reliability. You can also consider the kind of car they provide repair services for and check whether your vehicle is on their list.

How do I know what size oil filter I need?

It’s not a complex task when you want the oil filter size you need for your car, as there are only four main sizes to consider. However, what matters in an oil filter is the filter micron size–designating the rate of how a large particle can be allowed to go through the filter.

When the micron rating is large, only the tiny particles will pass through. However, you have to know that a good quality oil filter increases driving mileage by almost 1%. What else you can consider while finding the best oil filter size is filter diameter, height, and thread size.

Here is what you need to do to know what size oil filter you need.

  • Take off the oil filter.
  • Drain the oil on the oil filter into a catch cup.
  • Measure the screw hole diameter using a ruler. Here, you need to measure the thread sizes of the filter using a thread gauge. While measuring the filter diameter, don’t exclude the sealing part of the filter.

Note: You can measure the entire width of the filter body and not include the rubber seal part when measuring the oil filter diameter.

Or you can use the simpler and quick way to choose the right filter by buying it from a good car parts store using your car’s VIN.

What happens if you use the wrong size oil filter?

Oil filters play an essential role in ensuring the oil entering the engine operating system like the pump is free from unnecessary large particles.

This oil ensures that the car’s operating systems run smoothly, especially mechanical systems.

During the lubrication, some tiny particles of metal are collected by oil during the combustion cycle, and therefore, they need to be filtered out so as not to get back to the engine system. Filters are also helpful in controlling the oil pressure.

Therefore, when you use an oil filter of the wrong size, your car’s parts served by oil will be exposed to significant problems. One of the most systems that will be prone to negative impact is the oil pressure.

In other words, using the wrong size of the oil filter or the one with clogging issues will lead to a drop in oil pressure. Suitable filters with a good relief valve control the oil pressure by ensuring no spikes, and therefore, using the wrong oil filter means only a little or much oil will be allowed to reach the engine.

Again, using the wrong oil filter size means there will be poor sealing, which will lead to oil leaking or low oil pressure. In some cases, the oil filter can fall off since it does not fit well in its location.

Leaking of oil can lead to catastrophic damage to your engine indeed. In other words, oil leaking out leads to a lack of enough lubricant for some parts of the car to run smoothly, and the parts like the engine may go dry. If the engine runs dry for some time, the vehicle will be exposed to overheating, and eventually, the engine may stop.

Here are some consequences if you use the wrong size oil filter.

  • Sputtering of your Car
  • Low engine performance
  • Dirty or black exhaustion or smell burning oil coming through the exhaust pipe.
  • The quick dropping of oil pressure

Can I use the same oil filter twice?

Yes, you can use the same oil filter twice, even with any oil. But with this great idea, you should not use conventional oil if you have been using the oil filter more than once under synthetic oil to avoid oil drain interval inconvenience.

What happens if you change the oil but not the oil filter?

Changing your oil and not the filter might lead to excessive accumulation of dirt and other debris on the filter. When this dirt is not removed, it leads to corrosion hence engine death.

Unchanged filters will not effectively allow oil to pass through because of its clogs; for oil to be affable actively, it has to be regularly changed.

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