Nissan Oil Filters: OEM or Aftermarket?

It's recommended to change the oil filter every time you change the oil in your Nissan. In the old days, with shorter 3000 mile oil change intervals, many people used to change the filter at every other oil change. But today, with longer oil change intervals, every automaker -- including Nissan -- recommends changing the oil filter every time the oil is changed. So if you need an oil filter, you have a basic choice to make. OEM or aftermarket? There are several good reasons to buy OEM oil filters.

Design

Filter oem nissan

There are actually a lot of ways to design what looks like a simple spin-on filter. When the engineers at Nissan are specifying an oil filter, they are taking into consideration several variables:

  • The amount of oil that has to flow through the engine. That is affected by the size of the engine, and also by features such as the number of camshafts, valves, and whether or not there is a turbocharger.
  • The pressure at which the oil flows. The flow pressure is determined by the design of the oil pump and by the restrictions placed on the flow by the oil passageways.
  • The type of oil that is intended to be used. Some engines use thicker oils, and some use thinner oils. This is by choice of the engineers who designed the engine. The oil filter design is determined by the type of oil it will filter.
  • The oil change interval. All manufacturers are moving towards longer intervals. This affects the type of filter media used.
  • Filter mounting location. For example, a spin-on filter that is mounted vertically with the top facing up does not need a back-flow prevention valve. A filter that is mounted sideways or top down needs a back-flow prevention valve. The back-flow prevention valve keeps oil in the filter when the engine is not running. When the engine is started, oil is already in the filter, so it can immediately begin flowing into the engine to lubricate it. Without a back-flow valve, the oil would have drained into the pan. The filter would have to fill first, and the engine wouldn't be lubricated for a few seconds at start up.

So there are a lot of variables that affect the design of an oil filter. An aftermarket company can try and copy the filter, but do they really understand all the design choices that were made? Most likely not.

Quality

Nissan oil change

Image Credit: PaulsTravelPictures

The truth is that there are only 4 to 5 companies that make all the oil filters sold, and they make them both for OEMs and for the aftermarket. But there are a lot more than 4 or 5 brands of oil filters out there. Why is that? Because the market demands products at different price points and quality levels. For example:

  • OEMs want high quality filters because they are providing a warranty for the engine, and because their brand depends on the engine lasting a long time. Nissan engines have a well earned reputation for lasting about 250,000 miles before needing a rebuild. Nissan would not put that reputation at risk to save a few pennies on an oil filter.
  • Mass market retailers typically sell fairly cheap oil filters, because the people that shop there are looking for the cheapest price.
  • Auto parts stores will have filters at a variety of price points, and with varying levels of quality.

OEMs buy so many filters (millions) that they get the highest quality product at a low price. The other sellers buy fewer filters. To get a lower price filter, they will buy a more cheaply made filter. So to accommodate the demands of the market, the major manufacturers make filters under many different brand names. With many different quality levels. So how are you to know what you are really getting?

Cost

Many people think that they can save money by buying an aftermarket filter. But, for example, you can get an OEM oil filter for various 1995-2019 Nissan models from us for less than $6. Sure, you could probably get a filter for $4 somewhere, but would it be designed to meet the needs of your engine? And would it hold up between oil changes? Who knows? When any engine repair related to poor lubrication will cost thousands of dollars, it just doesn't make sense to take a chance on aftermarket filters.

You can order a high quality genuine OEM replacement oil filter from us at a discounted price. Just visit our catalog and then do a search on your Nissan to find the right oil filter for your car.