Are Motorcycle and Car Oil Filters the Same?

If your motorcycle runs a full-flow and not a paper or fiberglass oil filter, you’ve probably noticed that the one in your motorcycle looks a lot like the one in your car. 

Motorcycle vs car oil filters

One big difference you might notice is the price: generally, motorcycle oil filters run a little more expensive than their automotive counterparts. So are they really different, or could you save a few bucks by just using a car oil filter in your bike?

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What’s the Difference Between Car and Motorcycle Oil Filters?

The internals of a motorcycle and a car oil filter are basically the same. The engine oil passes through filter media that catches dirt, metal shavings, and any other impurities in the oil. As long as the threads on the mount match up, it’ll fit. However, the specs may be different.

Motorcycle oil filter

Oil Filter Specifications

The maximum pressure and filtration level on the motorcycle oil filter may differ from what you see in the car oil filter. Engine manufacturers prescribe a set of conditions that the filter needs to tolerate in order to work best on the engine. 

Car vs motorcycle oil filters

First, the filtration level needs to be correct. The “micron rating” dictates how fast or slow the oil can pass through the filter. If the filter has a high micron rating, the filter will catch the smallest particles. However, it can restrict the flow of oil back into the engine. On the other hand, if the micron rating is too low, the filter won’t effectively clean the engine oil.

Oil filters cars and motorcycles

The other spec to consider is the maximum pressure. This tells you the maximum amount of oil pressure the oil filter can take before it potentially ruptures. When you rev an engine, the pressure goes up, and a more powerful engine will generally require a higher maximum pressure on the oil filter.

Can I Use a Car Oil Filter in a Motorcycle?

You can probably find a car oil filter that fits on your motorcycle, and it might work in the short term. However, if the specs aren’t correct, you could end up damaging the engine because you wanted to save a few bucks, and ultimately end up paying a lot more in the end.



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