The Evaluation of Mechanical Design and Comparison of Automotive Oil Filters 2010-01-1542
Approximately 500 million oil filters are sold in the United States of America each year, and are not required by law to meet any Government or industry testing procedures prior to being sold in the US market. The lack of required testing has resulted in no uniform testing procedure which in many cases leads to misleading claims by the manufacturer and/or inferior filtration designs and construction materials. Due to the lack of mandatory testing, the majority of oil filter manufacturers use in-house labs with different filtering methods to highlight the filter's unique strengths while not disclosing all relevant filtering data and in turn the filters inherent weaknesses. Instead of manufacturers offering full disclosure of the relevant performance specifications and internal design characteristics of the oil filter, they state that the specifications are proprietary information. This unfortunate trend results in consumers not being able to properly identify a superior oil filter that meets their individual performance needs. Due to the lack of mandatory standardized testing some consumers have had catastrophic engine damage from using an inferior oil filter.
The idea for this research came through the desire to find the best designed and manufactured automotive engine oil filters. An analysis protocol was developed and applied to the sample of 15 oil filters on 29 characteristics in order to accurately determine and compare filter design, construction and manufacturer specific claims. Our research determined inaccurate and misleading statements from the oil filter manufacturers as well as inherent design flaws and use of potentially dangerous internal materials and oil additives. Our conclusion determined the need for a mandatory standard testing procedure in order for consumers to properly identify and determine the filtering specifications and the materials used in the construction of the filter.