Choosing oil, filters

Jan. 1, 2020
Most car owners know that they need to change their vehicle's oil and filter, though they may not always follow the original equipment manufacturer's recommended schedule. The type of oil their car needs is usually easy to figure out.

Most car owners know that they need to change their vehicle’s oil and filter periodically, even though they may not always follow the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) recommended schedule. The type of oil their car needs is usually easy to figure out. It is specified in the owner’s manual, which will indicate both the quality and viscosity (thickness) of the recommended engine oil.

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The quality of oil required in a particular car needs to meet standards set either by the American Petroleum Institute (API) or the International Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC), a joint effort of U.S. and Japanese automobile manufacturers. The necessary grade is specified in the owner’s manual and printed on oil bottles.

The recommended viscosity (thickness) of the oil can also be found in the owner’s manual, and is typically identified as meeting standards set by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). A typical multi-grade oil is SAE 10W-30, which acts like thinner 10-weight oil in the winter, when thinner oil promotes easier starting and like thicker 30-weight oil in the summer when added protection is needed.

“While oil characteristics are often discussed, rarely is the choice of an appropriate filter ever addressed – when, in reality, the filter’s features should be selected based on the oil chosen, expected driving conditions, and planned service life,” says Chuck Kerrigan, Director of Marketing for Purolator, supplier of high quality automotive filters to the North American aftermarket.

Basically, there are two kinds of oils – conventional and synthetic. Conventional oil is the one that we have been using in our cars for the past several decades and which – ideally – we are told should be changed every 3,000 miles.

‘Synthetic’ oil, on the other hand, has been developed in scientific labs and is specified by many vehicle manufacturers for use in their cars. Synthetic oil is designed to last for up to 10,000 miles. However, it is significantly more expensive than conventional oil.

Choosing an oil filter
According to Kerrigan, the quality of an oil filter is based on its ‘efficiency’ and ‘capacity.’ While ‘efficiency’ is a measure of the percentage of particles of a given size that a filter is able to capture, ‘capacity’ is the filter’s ability to capture and hold all the debris it is likely to encounter in its service life.

Based on these measures, motorists that change their car’s engine oil frequently may select from Purolator Classic or PureONE oil filters. A good overall oil filter, the Purolator Classic, on average, can capture 97.5 percent of particles larger than one thousandths of an inch in diameter. A step up, the Purolator premium PureONE oil filter can capture, on average, 99.9 percent of these same particles. So, both types of Purolator oil filters can efficiently remove most particles that can potentially damage internal engine components.

Capacity describes the amount of contaminants an oil filter can hold before it becomes obstructed and causes the bypass valves to open allowing unfiltered oil to reach critical engine parts – which is probably better than no oil at all –but not really. Purolator’s PureONE premium oil filter has the capacity to capture and safely hold up to 13 grams of debris before directing the bypass valve to open. And 13 grams is the equivalent of 31 standard size paper clips – a huge volume of debris by any standard.

“For vehicles where the manufacturer recommends the use of synthetic oil and extended drain intervals, it is appropriate to use a filter that is specially designed for use with synthetic oils to avoid degradation of the filtering function and failure of one or more internal filter parts or valves,” says Kerrigan.

The recently introduced Purolator Synthetic oil filter is custom-engineered to help motorists take advantage of the extended life offered by synthetic oils. Purolator Synthetic utilizes 100 percent synthetic media with pleat support technology containing wire backing providing increased stability. This filter can capture and hold more contaminants over the longer life of synthetic oils – up to 27 grams, without getting clogged. Its extraordinary combination of capacity, efficiency and design technology helps maintain the integrity of the media for extended periods of time. For motorists using synthetic motor oils in their vehicles, Purolator Synthetic provides 10,000-mile vehicle protection.

So for your engine’s sake, when you choose your oil, also choose the right filter.

Purolator is a proud supporter of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association’s (AASA) Know Your Parts® education and awareness campaign. This initiative promotes the importance of quality brand name aftermarket parts backed by full service suppliers to preserve the industry’s good reputation. For more information, visit:

Purolator manufactures and supplies high quality automotive and heavy duty filters to the North American aftermarket and original equipment manufacturers. Inventor of the automotive oil filter in 1923, Purolator has, since then, pioneered more than 40 'firsts' in the filtration industry. In fact, the first automotive oil filter was called a 'Purolator,' short for 'pure oil later.' Currently, the Purolator brand has more than 2,000 part numbers for automotive, light truck and heavy-duty applications. Now part of the Bosch umbrella of automotive aftermarket products within NAFTA, Purolator's advanced aftermarket filters include:

• PureONE and Purolator Classic oil filters
• Purolator Synthetic oil filters
• PureONE and Purolator Classic air filters
• BreatheEasy cabin air filters
• PowerSports oil filters
• The 'forgotten filters,' including transmission filters, fuel filters, breathers and PCV valves.

To learn more about Purolator filters and the filtration category, please visit

To learn more about Purolator heavy duty filters, please visit

To learn more about Purolator Breathe Easy cabin air filters, please visit

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