Washington, D.C. Centre
the Spark

Oil Filter Update

by Dave Michel


Most of us are acquainted with the common spin-on type oil filters found in our daily drivers and/or MGs. These devices supposedly provide a thorough filtration of the oil in your car's engine and, hopefully, help to avoid zero oil pressure cold engine starts. The spin-on concept was a major improvement on the original cannister type filter which would yield a glorious mess whenever the filter media inside the cannister required changing. However, not all spin-on oil filters are created equal.

A visit to your local auto parts retail store will yield an armful of standard brand spin-on filters which will FIT your MG and may provide some level of oil filtration and anti-drain-back protection. However, a thorough examination of the construction of these filters might reveal poor quality materials being used to filter the oil and to prevent oil drain-back into the sump following engine shut-down. In some cases, the filter media may be simply a wad of paper with either no or a poorly constructed anti-drain valve. And the exterior shell may collapse or distort if the oil pump pressure is either too high or too low. As the saying goes, 'you get what you pay for,' and this is really true in spin-on oil filters.

So, is there a quality spin-on oil filter available for my car? YES!!! Simply purchase a quality WIX spin-on oil filter. What, you say, is a WIX oil filter? Well, for those in automotive land who have not heard of WIX filters, perhaps a bit of education is in order. WIX produces air/fuel/oil filters for nearly every internal combustion engine and vehicle ever produced on planet Earth. The WIX filter listing/cross reference is as thick as one volume of the local 'Yellow Pages'. This is an industrial-strength company owned by Dana/Spicer who also produce, among other things, axles/differentials used in trucks. So, you ask, why have I not heard about this brand before and where do I get one for my car? Answer: because WIX filters are normally sold only to industrial customers through jobbers/wholesalers and, usually, only to fleet service organizations. They are not supplied to traditional auto parts retail sales organizations. Rarely are they sold 'over the counter' by any supplier. Hapily, however, I am pleased to report that WIX filters are available 'over the counter' via at least one company in the metro area: Northern Virginia Supply stocks the complete line of WIX filters at several locations in northern Virginia. As a bonus, this company also stocks the full line of Wolf's Head oil for those who desire the very, very, best in non-synthetic oils.

The WIX part number for MGBs with spin-on type filters is 51068. Expect to pay a bit more than you may be used to paying for your previous 'standard' brand filter. Quality has never been cheap, and still isn't. Remember, the engine you save will be your own!


*New: NAPA sells Wix filters using the NAPA name, the MGB part number is 1068!
-Thank you Ray Huff, of the Northwest Centre, for this valuable information -


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