Oil is a key element for our engine. But so is the oil filter, which is responsible for keeping it clean for longer and free of impurities. Given the wide variety of oil filters currently in existence, it is worth knowing what the market offers in this regard.
If we take a look at any magazine or website dedicated to the world of the engine we will see how in its maintenance sections we always talk about the importance of engine oil: what oil to choose, when to change the car oil, etc. However, as important as oil is the oil filter, this piece being one of the great forgotten in these articles. In fact, it is of little use to find the best 5W30 oil for our engine if we then use it with a dirty oil filter and it barely has the capacity to retain dirt particles generated in the operation of the vehicle.
This oil filter has the task of keeping the oil that circulates through our engine as clean as possible, thus helping to eliminate more debris from inside the engine and maintain its properties during the maintenance interval that has been established. A task for which there are different types of filter, both for the system they use to clean the oil and for the type of filter element that they include, among other elements.
Oil filters according to its filter membrane
In conventional oil filters, the oil passes through a filter made of a filter material, which is responsible for retaining particles that should not be in the oil. It is true that this filtering capacity depends, in large part, on the material from which the filter is manufactured, this being the first aspect that we are going to assess.
The most common filters are what are manufactured with an inner cellulose membrane. These filters have a capacity of retention of particles of 8 to 10 microns, having a useful life of approximately 5,000 to 10,000 kilometers. They are the cheapest filters, can be recycled and are usually the most common in our vehicles. They are capable of eliminating around 40% of the residues present in the oil.
Next we have the synthetic oil filters. These filters increase their durability to 15,000 or 20,000 kilometers of use. They are somewhat more expensive but also more effective, since in this case the filter can retain approximately 50% of the waste circulating inside, leaving the oil somewhat cleaner than cellulose models.
Finally, we would have the filters manufactured with filtration systems manufactured in microcrystals. This high-performance material exchanges the conventional cellulose filter with a fiberglass mesh, which increases the retention capacity of particles against cellulose filters by up to 10 times. They also have a greater mileage capacity and longer maintenance, so they are the best option to combine them with long life or long life oils, which need less frequent oil changes than conventional oils.
Oil filters by filtering system
In addition to the different materials used in the membrane, there are also different filters for the system used to clean the oil. If it is true that these systems are usually combined, in most cases, with any of the filter elements already mentioned, so that the cleaning process is even more effective.
We start with cartridge filters, which are usually the most common. These cartridge filters carry inside the filter material and are connected to a part of the engine. During use, the oil flows from the outside in, leaving in the filter all the residues that it may contain, according to the capacity of the filter material. It is the most economical option, it is recyclable and it is easy to install. This system is also present in high efficiency oil filters, which have the same operation although they change the inner material. In this case they are not cellulose filters but these employ that inner fiberglass mesh that we have already mentioned, generating a greater cleaning of the used oil.
We also found the filters that work by sedimentation. Since the oil residues are heavier than the oil itself, it is decanted, so that the residues are going to stop at the bottom of the filter, being trapped here. An approach similar to that of centrifugal filters, which rotate the oil at high speed, so that the heaviest elements fall due to the effect of that rotation, causing heavy residues to deposit and be collected easily.
Finally we would have the most exotic or less used filters. Among them we have the oil filter with thermal operation. A model that uses a pyrolysis system for oil cleaning. This system is identical to that of modern pyrolytic furnaces, using a large amount of heat to remove all traces of dirt present in the oil from the oil. The main problem is that this process requires a lot of energy to achieve its goal.
Also exotic are magnetic filters. These filters incorporate a magnet, which is responsible for attracting all metal particles to it, thus preventing them from circulating freely along with the oil. This filter has the additional advantage of offering a simple cleaning, because it is enough to remove these residues so that the filter continues to function. However, these filters are only used specifically in certain engine elements, such as those in high demand gearboxes.