OEM VW Oil Filters Vs. Aftermarket Oil Filters: A Comparison Guide

Oil filter designs are pretty simple, so a lot of car owners believe that the type of oil filter they put into their car doesn’t matter. The assumption isn’t accurate. It matters a lot, and here’s why.

OEM filter oil

The purpose of having an oil filter is to filter out debris and other contaminants in order to keep your oil clean. So quality should be your highest priority while shopping for a replacement oil filter.

While looking for a replacement oil filter, you have two options:

  1. OEM
  2. Aftermarket

Which option offers the most value in terms of quality? It all depends on the following 3 factors:

1. Quality of the Filter Housing

Aftermarket manufacturers commonly cut corners by building the filter housing with thin and low-quality metals. The housing on OEM oil filters is made of thick and sturdy metal. This means that OEM oil filters have a much less chance of cracking and leaking than aftermarket oil filters.

2. Uniformity and Pliability of the O-Ring

Filter o ring

OEM replacement oil filters come with an o-ring. The o-ring is there to keep the oil filter housing sealed. Without a good o-ring, oil will leak out.

Volkswagen makes sure that the o-ring that comes with OEM oil filters is uniform, pliable, and made of durable rubber. Aftermarket o-rings don’t always last long due to being built with inferior quality materials. After being subject to heat from the engine for a while, an inferior o-ring will become brittle and crack, which lets oil seep out.

3. Quality of the Filter

Filter interior

This is probably the most important factor. The quality of the filter plays a big part in how long the filter will last and how effective it will be in trapping the contaminants in the oil. A high quality oil filter has:

  • Uniformity of the filter media
  • Uniformity of the pleat openings
  • Good quality air filter material that’s thick enough

While shopping for an aftermarket oil filter, you have to do a lot of research to see if any of the filters you find have all of the features listed above. Some might, and some will not. It’s so much easier to find an OEM oil filter because we know that they already have all of these features. You just have to look up your VW model in our catalog of discounted genuine OEM oil filters to find the right part number. That's all.

The Verdict

OEM oil filters are a much better investment than aftermarket oil filters. OEM oil filters and o-rings are built with higher quality materials and will last much longer. This shouldn't be as surprise, because VW warranties their engines for 72,000 miles. VW's goal is to make sure their engines have zero issues, because they have to pay to fix them. Even after the warranty expires, VW benefits by having a reputation for building engines that last a long time. So they want you to use a high quality filter. Aftermarket oil filter manufacturers have no such skin in the game. Their only goal is to turn a profit on filters. They really don't care how long your engine lasts.