Oil Filters Vs Fuel Filters

Lubrication oils and fuels are crucial for the engine. The engine needs lubricants and fuels for operation the same way we depend on food for survival. The oil and fuel used in the engine need to be clean and free from contamination.

In this article, we will find out the differences between oil filter and fuel filter. 

Common Types Of Oil Filters

  • Full-flow filter

This type is the primary filter. Because this filter is less restrictive, it will filter out all of your oil. This type is not so restrictive as it meets the engine’s requirements and supplies the oil it needs

  • Bypass filter

This one is your secondary filter that removes the smaller fragments in the oil. The full-flow filter and bypass filter work together and maintain the engine’s smooth operation.

  • Spinner filter

The spinner filter is the cylindrical filter that rotates. The filter screens spin to create centrifugal forces to remove debris from the oil.

  • Thermal filter

At first, the oil will go through filtration. Then, this filtered oil is heated up to remove any remaining particles in the oil flow.

  • Convectional filter

The filtration material used in these filters is made of cellulose and fibreglass. This filter works in the same way as the bypass filter.

Read more at: Does Synthetic Oil Clean Sludge?

Common Types Of Fuel Filters

  • Primary Filter

This filter’s function is to remove larger particles sitting in the fuel. If your car uses a diesel system, you will find the filter located near the fuel pump and tank. It traps any debris smaller than 10 microns in size.

  • Secondary Filter

This filter works hand in hand with the primary filters to remove the particles not caught by the first filter.

  • Spin-on Filter

You can find this filter at the engine. It has threaded end notches, making it easier to secure them in place. In addition, these filters are easy and quick to install.

  • Canister Fuel Filter

The design of this filter looks like a canister. These filters have a filtrations system on the inside to screen the fuel.

  • In-line filter

The in-line filter is found in the line system. This kind of filter has an outlet and inlet opening at each end. The inlet lets in the unfiltered fuel, and then it will be filtered inside. It’s then filtered and discharged through the outlet opening.

Differences Between Oil And Fuel Filters

  • Size

Most oil filters have the same size, no matter which type. On the other hand, the fuel filters differ in size depending on their location in the fuel system. Oil filters are a little bigger than fuel filters.

  • Type of fluid filtered

Fuel and oil filters are used for the same function, but the difference lies in the fluid used. The fuel filter eliminates the particles in the fuel, and the oil filter functions to filter the engine oil.

  • Location

The fuel filter can be installed in some positions. It depends on the design of the fuel system. For example, you can find it in the fuel system lines, the gas tank, and the engine. The oil filter can only be positioned right near the engine.

  • Function

An oil filter is used to catch and take out small particles such as sand, dirt, or metal shavings. A fuel filter removes large particles such as carbon molecules that affect engine performance.

  • Design

The fuel filter has two major parts – the filter element and the housing. The housing is usually made from carbon or plastic composite. In the housing, there is a screen to hold the intake pipe, intake manifold, and paper filter media.

The material for making an oil filter is an aluminium alloy or steel mesh. It contains a metal jet plate to pump raw oil through the long rods to the canister chamber, an external seal ring to release the trapped air, and a metal canister to hold an oil-soaked foam.

  • Water Separator

The oil filter water separator (also called an oil filter separator) is a device that separates water from the engine oil. An oil filter can handle about one quart of dirty, used oil. When this dirty oil enters the water system, it can become a problem for the engine. Using an oil filter-water separator can help prevent this kind of problem.

In fuel filters, water separators can filter and separate water from fuel. You can find these separators in fuel tanks of vehicles like cars, trucks, and boats. A fuel filter separator is a tool that stops the gasoline “sludge” that goes through the fuel system.

  • Cleaning and maintenance

Oil filters require cleaning and maintenance from time to time as scheduled. You have to know what types of oil to use and how often. It depends on what kinds of oil are suitable for your car. If your oil quality deteriorates quickly, you may need to change filters more frequently than average.

Generally, you should change your oil filter every 4,000 miles or six months, depending on which one the manufacturer says is better. You can clean them by yourself by filling up a big bowl with soapy water and adding oil filters.

 For the fuel filter, you need to prepare a container of clean water, dish soap, and a sponge. First, wash the sponge with dish soap before using it to remove dirt on your filter. Then pour some clean water into the container to wash any soap left behind after washing.

The most effective way to clean a fuel filter is to use a vacuum cleaner. Choosing a vacuum cleaner with a nozzle specially designed for hard-to-reach areas would be best. On top of that, you can use compressed air or specialized brushes to clean fuel filters.

Read more at: Best Diesel Oil Filter; Top 10 Best Oil Filters You Have To Buy


Can You Clean Fuel Filters Without Removal?

No, you cannot. You have to move the oil and fuel filters altogether when you want to clean and reuse them. However, you should change and replace them after cleaning instead of reusing them. Cleaning the filter using the wrong products can cause damage to the filter and the car, and you may even push small particles into the filter that you cannot see.

How Do I Know When My Fuel Filter Needs Changing?

There are a few signs for you to know that. For example, your car does not start. This condition may indicate a stuck filter. If your vehicle shakes when idling or you have low power while driving, it is time to have your filter checked and changed. 


The oil and fuel filters work in the same way but on different fluids. Though different, both are a must-have for your automobile. Without these filters, you will find the need to be a regular customer at the garage and automobile repair station. Understanding these filters’ types and working principles enables you to make the right judgment when choosing one. However, it is also crucial that you consult your manual to avoid getting mixed up.