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Kohler is a company most people associate with bathroom and kitchen fixtures, and mainly faucets. But Kohler is a large company, and one division, Kohler engines, makes fixtures of an entirely different sort, along with replacement parts to go with these engines. In this article we will review one of these parts, the Kohler oil filter.
We will examine the product features and specs of the Kohler oil filter and see how the product compares to several other popular oil filters on the market. We will rate these according to features, durability, and quality and tell you which oil filter we count as the best overall value.
About Kohler Oil Filters
The first thing we should point out about Kohler oil filters is that they are mainly intended as replacement parts for original equipment on a number of Kohler engines. Those engines are for the most partsmaller in size and horsepower than standard automobile engines; therefore, the oil filters Kohler makes to work with their engines are rated for lower horsepower performance. Kohler engines are used on such things as riding lawn mowers.
Kohler makes three oil filters to fit their different models of Kohler engines. The standard is for use with small engines from 11hp up to 27hp, the K-series fits two Kohler engines and is rated up to 23hp. Finally, the Premium fits the Kohler PRO series, and is rated for engines up to 40hp.
While it is possible you could get a Kohler oil filter to fit onto some kind of automobile engine, it would not be a proper replacement oil filter for that engine, and one should not get confused about this.
You can find cheap knock-offs of Kohler replacement parts, but Kohler isn’t pushing their oil filters for anything other than their own line of lower-powered engines. We need to clarify this because the other oil filters we are going to review most definitely are intended to be used with automobile engines.
Rejecting the Hype
Many people have a hard time buying the hype on the various brands of oil filters. This is understandable because the difference in price points for the various brands—none of which cost very much money—is usually justified by claims that the higher-priced filters will last longer and help your engine do that as well.
This is not to minimize the role an oil filter plays. In an engine, it is a critical piece of equipment, but since it is a relatively inexpensive piece of equipment and one which requires at least some maintenance (cheaper filters have to be replaced all the time), it is often neglected by people with supposedly more important things to do.
That neglect can be bad news for an engine, as once the useful life of the filter is exceeded, its ability to protect the engine from contaminants is over and it is time to change the oil filter.
Since manufacturers have increasingly gone to the use of synthetic oils for their engines, lubricants that do a better job of protecting the engine than conventional oils and which last longer between changes, demands on oil filters have increased as manufacturers now recommend a much longer life for oil filters to match the longer use time for the synthetic oils.
This fact is not so relevant to the Kohler oil filters, as they are intended for use with much smaller engines with much lower performance, but these are factors which impact a couple of the filters we will be examining in our comparison.
Smaller Engines and Less Performance
As for the Kohler premium or PRO performance filter, “PRO” is relative, remember, because this filter is not intended even for average performance in an automobile engine. Rather, the slightly elevated demands an air filter might encounter moving up from 25hp to 40hp.
And since the Kohler is intended to compete with the cheap knockoffs already mentioned, they don’t have to offer many specifics and they don’t.
The gasket on the baseplate is pre-lubricated—at least it sounds as if this is the case. This saves time—really a couple of seconds—if you are doing it yourself
The baseplate is said to be “dual flow”, apparently meaning the oil can go inside the filter or exit it through this baseplate. We are not sure this is actually a feature since the design of pretty much all oil filters uses a dual flow of this nature. Actual dual-flow filters have filtration media incorporating aspects of single-flow and bypass filtration, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.
Also included is a “relief/anti-drainback” valve. Once again, this is pretty standard on most oil filters, though not all. What this valve enables is retention of a certain amount of cleaned oil when the engine stops, which can be immediately pumped through the engine at the start—so it acts against “dry starts”. The “relief” valve function is apparently performed by a center collar on the anti-drainback valve that covers bypass holes.
Also listed by Kohler is a high-efficiency synthetic filter element, but Kohler supplies no information on the level of efficiency they claim for this element, nor the capacity of the filter, which is the limit of the filter media to hold contaminants. Instead, Kohler engine owners can refer to their manuals, which will recommend changing the oil filter every 200 hours of use.
Lastly, the Kohler has what is described as a heavy-duty steel can, which among other things is said to prevent leaks. Again, this is pretty standard.
Kohler premium or PRO oil filters are moderately priced as far as oil filters go, but since Kohler recommends their use on Kohler engines, and since many people simply follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, Kohler has a kind of captive market for these oil filters.
The price for the Kohler oil filter runs around $9.
How It Compares
We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.
- Mobil Oil Filter
- Fram Oil Filter
- Bosch Oil Filter