Are OEM Nissan Air Filters Better Than Aftermarket?

The right engine air filter is essential to your engine’s health and performance. When choosing a replacement engine air filter for your Nissan, you have two options:

  1. OEM engine air filter
  2. Aftermarket engine air filter

If you know the differences between the two types, you can recognize the better option. The better filter will maximize your engine’s health and performance. Let’s talk about 4 differences between OEM and aftermarket engine air filters:

1. Air Filter Material Quality

Nissan filter1

Even though the engine air filter is not a moving part, the quality of the material used is still important. You want your engine air filter to fit in the cold air collection box without leaving any gaps. You also want it to withstand the constant air flow coming through.

After a lot of research, development, and testing, Nissan came out with durable and effective OEM air filters. They made sure to design their air filters in the best way possible. More specifically:

  • OEM engine air filters come with a rigid frame that keeps the filter's shape over time.
  • The filter material in OEM filters is thick, durable, and porous enough to do its job until the next change.

A lot of Nissan owners like the fact that their OEM engine air filters are direct replacements. (More about how to replace here.) For example, here's a quote from a Nissan owner:

"The build quality is exactly like what the dealer has been putting on for me. So it works great for my Infinity FX35."

When it comes to material quality, aftermarket air filters are a hit or miss -- mostly miss. It's common for aftermarket manufacturers to use cheap materials to save a few bucks. That means aftermarket engine air filters don't always last as long as OEM filters.

If you look online, you'll find a lot of complaints from disgruntled Nissan owners. They're not happy with their aftermarket engine air filters. Here's a review from an Amazon user:

"The OEM filter in my Nissan Maxima is a rigid filter (metal sides). But this [aftermarket engine air filter] is just flexible rubber that is slightly oversized, meaning it doesn't fit well."

2. OEM Filter Specs

Changing engine filter

Image Credit: netman88

Fitment is as important as material quality. The air filter has to fit the cold air collection box in a way that doesn't allow any dirty air through to the engine. The filter can't be too big either, because the cold air collection box has to close properly.

OEM air filters are direct replacements, so you can always count on them to fit every time without any issues.

You can't say the same thing about aftermarket air filters. They are rarely designed to OE specs. As a result, aftermarket air filters don't always fit well. The internet is full of complaints from Nissan owners about aftermarket air filters. Here's a few of them:

  • "Don't be fooled," an Amazon reviewer wrote. "[My aftermarket air filer] does not fit my 2014 Altima SV. The length is slightly too long and the flexible design doesn’t keep it in place. It folds in the middle [and lets a lot of dirty air through to the engine]. The real design is a rigid plastic with some extra molding plastic to [ensure proper fitment]. This [aftermarket filter] doesn’t have that. It renders the filter only partially effective, assuming you even get it to work."
  • "[My aftermarket air filter] does not fit my 2015 Nissan Rogue," an Amazon reviewer wrote. "It is shorter and narrower than the OEM filter."
  • An Amazon reviewer wrote, "[My aftermarket air filter] didn't fit my 2015 Murano, even though it was listed as compatible. The filter was slightly thicker then OEM, so the cover couldn't be closed."

3. Pleat Count

The more deep pleats an air filter has, the better. It's because the more surface space a filter has, the more impurities it can trap over time. In other words, an air filter that has tightly packed deep pleats will last longer than a filter that doesn't.

You can always count on OEM engine air filters to have tightly packed deep pleats. It's not always guaranteed with aftermarket filters.

4. Filter Price And Value

Despite all the faults aftermarket engine air filters have, some Nissan owners still gravitate toward them. It’s because aftermarket engine air filters are about 30%-60% cheaper than OEM filters.

OEM engine air filters last much longer than aftermarket filters. Yet, the low upfront cost of aftermarket filters is pretty hard to resist. What if you could get the best of both worlds, though?

As an authorized seller of genuine OEM Nissan parts, we offer wholesale pricing. That means you can get an OEM engine air filter for much less money than what you would usually pay at a dealership. For example, a $28 engine air filter costs only $18.73 on our website.

Look up your Nissan model in our catalog to see how much money you can save on a genuine OEM engine air filter!