The Difference Between A Mazda OEM Oil Filter & An Aftermarket One

Photo Credit: YouTube user Buildit
Photo Credit: YouTube user Buildit /

One curious Mazda owner cut open a Mazda OEM oil filter and an aftermarket replacement and compared the two. 

Oil. The lifeblood of any engine. But with so many oil filter options out there, which one do you choose? Youtube User Buildit answered that question himself earlier Wednesday when he cut open a Genuine OEM Mazda Oil filter and a suitable aftermarket replacement. Check out that video below and prepared to be amazed at the difference between the two.

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Oil filter designs on their own are fairly simple. Almost all standard screw-on oil filters use a surface-type (paper) media to filter out contaminants. Commonly called full-flow filters, full-flows draw oil throughout the entire media. Differences between any two filters come from the quality of the filter housing, how uniform and pliable are the gaskets, how robust the anti-drain back valve is, the quality of the filter media and how reliable is the spring in the rear holding everything together.

This video examines one filter made by Tokyo-Roki in Japan which is rebranded for Mazda and the other filter made by Purolater made in North Carolina in the United States. Right off the bat, we noticed that Mazda’s outer shell was made out of a higher quality metal with slightly thicker walls. The hole openings in the OEM filter were larger to facilitate oil flow at startup and during operation. While both use a silicon type anti drain back valve, Mazda’s is more uniform and looks to be of a higher quality. The most apparent difference was in the uniformity and thickness of the filter media. Whereas the aftermarket one had pleat openings of different widths, there was clearly more pleats uniformly spaced in the Mazda one.

The aftermarket oil filter cost $3 while Mazda’s was $7. Over  200,000 miles if you change your oil every 5,000 miles you would’ve saved only $160 by choosing a cheaper option. If you’re a quick-lube place that goes through hundreds of filters a week, guess which one they’re going to buy to maximize profit.

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Now your case may vary by manufacturer but it’s a general rule of thumb to go with the oil filter your car’s engineers built for it.