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This is one of those myths that doesn't go away.

Many vehicles can accept larger oil filters, which provides more filtration media and higher oil capacities.

Are their any tangible performance benefits to doing this?

I used an oversized filter in my old Jeep LJ for one reason only: it accepts slightly less than 6 quarts of oil. With the larger filter I could safely put in exactly 6 quarts.

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6 Answers 6

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I've had to use slightly smaller oil filter in order to accommodate a larger downpipe on my car. Nothing bad (that can be traced back to that change) has happened as a result since the change (probably 15 years ago now). Oil pressure and volume are still right where they should be, but in theory the change could impact that. You need the appropriate pressure and volume for your engine. Volume needs to be sufficient, pressure should fall between a min/max range (too much can be as bad as too little).

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As long as the specific part is applicated to your vehicle then it is fine. As Brian, mentioned there is a lot more to oil filters than diameter and height. The wrong filter (even if it is the same size) can starve an engine of oil or switch the filter over to bypass mode.

Not worth the risk to get a possible marginal better oil life.

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When motor manufacturers put together a new model of vehicle, or introduce a new engine they are extensively tested under all conditions. When you look at your oil filter you can sleep easy that it has been tested over thousands of cars and thousands of miles and has come out of it smelling of roses. A larger, smaller, or otherwise differant oil filter will offer no real benefits or gains. It will not prolong oil changes, it will not make the car go faster or use less fuel. But it will open the prospect of a failure into your cars lubrication system, how ever unlikely. Use the manufacturers oil filter, or an OEM match, and change the oil and filter according to its maintenance schedule using the recommended oil.

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Many OEMs offer several filters of similar construction, so no compromise need be made on quality or basic performance.

All things being equal, a larger filter has two key benefits - 1) more oil capacity in the system, which helps extend useful life, and keep temperatures down, 2) more filter area means greater dirt holding capacity and therefore greater filtered flow for longer, before filter media saturation and bypass valve actuation.

The only thing that matters beyond these factors is fitment, burst strength, and most importantly bypass opening pressure value. Fitment is straight forward, burst strength is rarely much of a concern, and bypass opening pressure is often published, or can be determined by dissecting a filter.

Generally however, the OE filter design should be more than adequate for the average user, and this is more a matter for people interested in maximizing every detail of their vehicle performance.

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You would definitely want that larger filter in an application where the vehicle is being used for heavy construction.Most cars won't see any measurable benefit by going to a larger filter.The size of filter that can be used is probably limited by the engine design.

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There are not benefits either way really. I personally prefer OE type, however you shouldn't encounter any issues!

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You may end up slightly increasing the longevity of the oil. Although I don't know by how much or if it's even worth it. –  Juann Strauss Nov 21 '13 at 8:54

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