When it comes to oil filters, none are made equal, which means your choice could ultimately affect your car’s engine life and performance. In this Wix vs. K&N oil filter review, we help you make the best choice for your engine by taking an in-depth look at what these two brands have to offer.
Before we go any further, I should mention that oil filters are not like free size clothing, and one does not fit all. There are specific vehicle models and motor oils that pair better with particular brands of oil filters.
You should, therefore, always check your vehicle’s manufacturer manual to find out whether your vehicle or recommended motor oil is compatible. You can also check the oil filter brand website for more details. Now, let’s find out which of these two brands is the better choice for your engine.
Wix vs. K&N Oil Filters-Existing differences and similarities
Anti-drain back valves
Both Wix and K&N oil filters sport Silicone rubber anti-drain back valves. You may be wondering why this is an important feature. Well, the number one cause of engine wear happens to be cold and or dry starts.
It is, therefore, essential that some oil stays in the oil filter once the engine is shut off so that when you start your vehicle up again, there is oil flowing to the engine.
Silicone anti-drain back valves make robust seals that don’t get stiff in cold weather, nor do they lose their elasticity in hot temperatures. As a result, they are more suitable than nitrile rubber in preventing oil from draining back, leaving the oil filter empty.
Good oil flow is one feature that should not be overlooked when choosing an oil filter for your vehicle. To avoid engine starvation, the filter media should allow steady oil flow while still efficiently filtering out contaminants.
It should also allow the oil to flow even when the filter is clogged or plugged. K&N oil filters have a higher flow rate than Wix, which can be attributed to their long history of involvement in the racing arena. This makes K&N oil filters perfect for high-performance vehicles whose engines require a faster supply of filtered oil.
A higher flow rate, however, is often indicative of a less efficient filter medium. It is, therefore, no wonder that Wix filters 95% of particles at 20 microns, while K&N filters only 85% at 20 microns.
Additionally, both Wix and K&N use coiled steel loaded bypass valves, which are more efficient than stamped metal in relieving oil pressure inside the filter. Once oil pressure rises inside the filter, the coiled spring is pushed downwards, allowing the bypass valve to open.
This allows the oil to flow to the engine even when the filter is clogged or when the oil is too thick to flow through the filtering element.
The filter media is what traps dirt particles from unfiltered oil. Now, synthetic filter media is known to be finer, and this allows it to trap more contaminants. Wix uses synthetic filter media in its oil filters. K&N oil filters, on the other hand, were initially designed for race engines that use denser oil.
Their filter media is therefore made of cellulose, which allows a higher flow rate than synthetic media. The only downside is its inability to efficiently trap small dust particles, which is sort of a big deal since they usually collect in the engine to form large hard lumps that precipitate wear and damage.
Another similarity between these two brands is their choice to use metal end caps as opposed to cardboard/fibreboard end caps. Metal end caps are reputed to hold the filtering media more firmly and are not susceptible to saturation.
They, therefore, do not leak, making them far more efficient at keeping unfiltered oil from flowing into the center tube and to the engine.
Metal end caps are also more burst resistant if and when the oil pressure rises. Not to mention their ability to withstand the hot oil temperature better and this makes them more durable and robust.
Wix vs. K&N Oil Filter- Product Review
Wix Oil Filter
Designed to offer longer oil change intervals, Wix oil filters boast a fully synthetic filtering media guaranteed to keep your engine oil clean. The Wix high-quality XP series is not only compatible with a wide range of vehicles but also pairs well with synthetic, conventional, and blended motor oils.
Wix oil filters use metal end caps that are firmly fixed to the filter media, ensuring only clean oil flows to the engine. Its silicone anti-drain back valve prevents oil from draining back to the pan and prevents dry starts in cold weather.
- The filter media is synthetic which does a better job of cleaning engine oil
- Designed to withstand hot temperatures and rough conditions
- Provides longer oil change intervals of up to 15,000 miles
- Its hard casing and heavy-duty base makes it durable and perfect for extended OCIs.
- Its synthetic filter media causes slightly less oil flow
- It is somewhat pricier than other oil filters in the same category
K&N Oil Filter
Named after its two founders Ken and Norm, K&N oil filters are very popular with high-performance vehicle owners and race enthusiasts. Their unique use of rubber impregnated cellulose fiber media boasts high oil flow rates while there 1-inch exposed nut designs makes it easy for even the novices to install and remove.
The ultra-premium wrench off series is guaranteed to maintain oil flow even when clogged and has remarkable burst strength. K&N filters are compatible with a variety of vehicles and are not limited to high-performance cars.
The filter media has many pleats which offer a greater surface area for filtering. Their billet aluminum oil filter series uses magnets to remove road debris from unfiltered engine oil. This particular series can also be washed and reused, which is appealing in its effort to reduce one’s carbon footprint.
- It is affordable and has environmentally friendly applications
- 1 inch exposed nut design that allows easy installation and takedown accompanied by a safety wire fitting feature
- Silicon rubber valve that efficiently prevents oil drain back
- Available in cartridge styles for the vintage vehicles
- Has a cellulose filter media that only cleans 40% of unfiltered engine oil.
- Not all filters under this brand come with the 1-inch exposed nut or the safety wire support feature
Although both oil filters have their merits, K&N would be the better choice if you have a high-performance vehicle. Or if your choice of motor oil is on the denser side since its rubber impregnated cellulose filter media will ensure good oil flow.
Wix, on the other hand, is better suited for your everyday vehicle; it is sturdy and capable of withstanding longer oil change intervals while keeping the engine protected and lubricated.
Since they are both compatible with a wide range of vehicles-with K&N catering to vintage car owners as well-choosing between these two brands will depend on whether you want a higher flow rate.