Four Reasons Why Extended Oil Change Intervals Warrant Better Filters

The buzz around ‘extended oil change intervals’ for passenger cars and SUVs is everywhere. Some vehicle manufacturers are recommending longer oil change intervals. Oil companies are offering oils that they promote as having extended life. And motorists, pressured by the challenges of a tight economy and a hectic lifestyle, like the prospect of fewer trips to their repair shop or local quick lube to get their car’s oil changed.

But, extended oil change intervals require a filter to match – an oil filter that has the capacity and efficiency to stand up against the impact of dirt, dust and contaminants over an extended period of time.

1.  Filter Capacity

The term ‘capacity,’ when used in reference to an oil filter, does not mean the amount of oil it can hold. Rather, it refers to the filter’s ability to capture and hold all the debris it is likely to encounter in its service life.

“Capacity describes the amount of contaminants an oil filter can hold before it becomes obstructed and causes the bypass valves to open,” said Kevin O'Dowd, Director of Marketing for MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters, supplier of high quality automotive filters to the North American aftermarket. “If this happens, the filter allows unfiltered oil to reach critical engine parts which is probably better than no oil at all, but not much,” he said.

Consider this: The longer the oil filter is in service, the more debris it is likely to be called upon to capture and hold. And, if it gets obstructed and causes the bypass valve to open, as mentioned above, and the unfiltered oil is directed to the crankshaft, engine bearings and other precision components, the result can be catastrophic.

Debris comes in from various sources. Casting flash can break off of the engine block, or even the crankshaft, connecting rods or even off of the pistons and valve train components. Sources of non-metallic debris include dust, dirt, pieces of gasket material that may get dislodged over time and even bits of hardened carbon that can build up on and then break off of valve train parts and other oil-wetted internal parts that are subjected to high temperatures. All this can add up to substantial amounts of debris over the thousands of miles between oil changes.

“So, if you are dealing with an extended oil change interval, make sure the filter you select is up to the task and has the capacity to meet the challenge,” O'Dowd said. For example Purolator’s PureONE premium oil filter will capture and safely hold 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 anyone’s standards.

2.  Filter Efficiency

“Yet another measure of a filter’s quality is its ‘efficiency,’” said O'Dowd. Efficiency is a measure of the percentage of particles of a given size that a filter is able to capture. For example, a Purolator Classic oil filter, on average, can capture 97.5 percent of particles larger than one thousandth of an inch in diameter. And a Purolator Premium PureONE oil filter can capture, on average, 99.9 percent of these same particles. So, both types of Purolator oil filters are able to remove – efficiently – most particles that can potentially damage internal engine components.

3.  Filter Construction

If an oil filter will be called upon to provide a longer service life, its materials and construction (in addition to its capacity and efficiency) also need to be able to withstand the added demands of extended service. For instance, in extended service, a filter canister will be exposed to many more high-pressure pulses from cold start-ups. So it would have to be designed to guard against fatigue failure.  Furthermore, extended oil change intervals may lead to increased buildup of water and raw fuel in the oil. Again, the oil filter must be designed and built accordingly – for example, with a metal center tube as Purolator uses.

4.  Filter Compatibility With Synthetic Oils

Finally, since extended oil change intervals are more likely to involve synthetic oils, it is naturally more suitable to use an oil filter designed specifically to be compatible with synthetic oils to avoid degradation of the filtering function and failure of one or more internal filter parts or valves.

The new Purolator Synthetic oil filter is custom-engineered to allow motorists to take advantage of the extended life offered by synthetic oils. Purolator Synthetic utilizes 100 percent synthetic media with pleat support technology containing wire backing to offer substantially more capacity than conventional oil filters. It can capture and hold more contaminants over the longer life of synthetic oils, 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.

Therefore, according to O'Dowd, choosing a name brand supplier that has invested years of scientific research in refining its products is the best route to take to help your customers get the maximum benefits from the extended oil change intervals being touted by car makers and oil companies.

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

To find Purolator on Facebook, visit:

To follow Purolator on Twitter, visit:

Vehicle Components and Systems: