Hey everyone!

Today our blog post is all about inexpensive oil filters, and the potential dangers of using them.

Lately, we have been seeing an influx of Volkswagen and Audi 2.0T’s (TSI’s) coming in with stretched chains, failed tensioners, or broken guide rails. This has become a common issue on VAG 2.0T TSI’s, and owners are having to shell out a fair amount of money when their timing chain fails.

What happens when my timing chain / tensioner / guide rails fail?

The timing chain’s main purpose is to ensure the bottom end of the engine is completely in sync with the top end. If a chain stretches, or a tensioner fails, or a guide breaks, that chain is no longer able to effectively keep the engine timed. When this occurs, the top and bottom end fall out of sync, causing the valves in the top end to be hit by the pistons in the bottom end.

When the pistons strike the valves severe damage can occur. We have seen minor bending in the valves, to complete destruction of the valves even being shot into the head. This will require either a complete head rebuild, or a head replacement.

This is clearly not good.

What is causing this issue?

In our experience, for the most part what we are seeing is (9.9 times out of 10) is people either using poor quality oil, or (this is the big one in this case), poor quality oil filters being used.

Timing chain systems rely so heavily on oil pressure. In operation, oil enters the oil filter through a series of small holes on the outer edge of the base flange. The oil is then directed through the filter, eventually making an exit into the engine through the large center hole. Most modern oil filters are equipped with an anti-drain-back valve. This is often some form of rubber membrane that covers the perimeter holes in the base flange. The membrane is forced aside as oil enters the filter case. When the engine is not running, the rubber membrane covers the holes. Obviously, the anti-drain-back valves maintain oil within the filter. In turn, they prevent engine dry starts (when the engine is started with no oil).

Many inexpensive off the shelf filters do not have this membrane, or check valve to keep oil inside of them. There are many oil filter brands that we avoid at all cost, always preferring the OEM filters, or companies that make the filters for the manufacturer.

For example, Audi and Volkswagen filters are made by either Mann, Mahle, and other manufacturers will have their filters made by Hengst, Motorcraft, and others.

Every time we see a Volkswagen or Audi come in with a failed engine, the first thing we check is the oil filter. This past year we have seen a fair amount of VW’s and Audi’s requiring a chain replacement, and all of them had a cheap filter.

A key point to keep in mind is you get what you pay for. Why can you spend up to $100+ on an oil change, whereas the place across the street from you can do an oil change for $30?

Inexpensive materials. Volkswagen and Audi’s require full synthetic oil for the longevity of the vehicle. Most Quickie-Drain-N-Lube shops will either use regular, or synthetic blended oil, and a very inexpensive oil filter.

We get it. We all want to save money. If you have the choice to spend $30 over $100 most of us would pick the more economical option. In this case, the old adage proves to be true: Save now, spend later.

Your vehicle is an investment and you want it to last as long as possible.

What can I do?

We cannot overstate the point to have your vehicle serviced by either the dealer, or a trusted repair shop. At Euromotive, we only use the best oil (Full Synthetic VW/Audi Spec, imported from France), and OEM filters.

What if you want to do your own oil changes? That we understand too, we all love to wrench on our own cars. If this is the case, purchase quality materials.

Ensure you use correct VW/Audi spec oil. These vehicles are very particular when it comes to the oil and filters you use, so do take care that whoever is doing your oil changes they are using the good stuff.

Entrust your vehicle with Euromotive, we only use OEM parts and fluids for your vehicle. Give us a call today!


Steve’s main thrust behind his business is honesty. Euromotive was started in 2008. Since then we are in 4,000 sq ft facility servicing Volkswagen and Audi’s from around Niagara Peninsula.