Modern engines are very sophisticated, and that means that the parts that you put on them for servicing them and so on; it better be the right quality. Now, nowhere is this more important than in the oil filter. You may think that you’re saving a few bucks buying a no name, really cheap oil filter, but that may wind up biting you in the long run.

You see, modern engines, they all use timing chains instead of timing belts. And timing chains, well they need to be bathed in oil all the time. Now how does this relate back to an oil filter? Well, here we have a timing chain guide that we’ve set up here. And this would have a hydraulic tensioner that would push against it to keep the timing chain tight. Additionally, the tensioner, which works off of oil pressure, has a little, teeny hole in the end of it. So it feeds oil through that hole into the timing chain and the guide, to keep them lubricated.

Well, the owner of this vehicle decided to buy a no name oil filter, and he put it on the vehicle; the filter came apart. Now that doesn’t look like much of a hole. But it isn’t the hole that we’re really concerned with. It’s the material that came out of the hole. That material fed through the system, blocked this hole here in the timing chain tensioner, and that caused the timing chain to fail. Big deal, lot of money.

Alright, so that’s one reason why you buy a quality oil filter. Another is right here…

This is a check valve. Now these check valves, well they serve different purposes. But the primary one is to keep the oil from draining out of the oil filter, while the engine is not running. You see, if the oil drains out of the oil filter, the oil pump has to pump the filter full of oil, and then through the system before any of these moving parts get lubricated. So a failure to have a good check valve? Well over time, that could seriously damage the engine. Pay a little bit more, and get better protection in the long run.  

And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line, right here at MotorWeek.