This story comes to us from WhiteRoofRadio host and Detroit Tuned founder, Chad Miller.

The automotive aftermarket has a lot of great parts to offer. That said, not all replacement parts for your MINI are created equal. When your looking to repair or maintain your MINI, don’t just look at the price and go for the cheapest option. Many parts on the market are not made to the same high standards as what comes in your car from the factory. These substandard parts can actually cause damage over time. For example: oil filters.

Here at Detroit Tuned, we do a lot of oil changes. Cars come in at many different intervals, and customers use a variety of different oils in their MINIs. What I also see are several different kinds of aftermarket oil filters, and folks, they’re bad news.

First Generation MINIs

Many of these filters have a very thick paper element that can actually clog almost right away, causing cause the filter to be ineffective or fail entirely. Or, when they are inserted into the canister they seam to fit tight at first, but after as few as 1000 miles, the felt-like seal will fail — allowing oil to pass through with out being filtered. Often when I take one of these filters off the car, it falls out of the canister. Beyond bad sealing, other filters do not have the internal cage to stabilize the filter element. This can cause the filter to twist and shrink, which causes the filter to fail in several different ways.

Second Generation MINIs

There was no aftermarket filter for these cars until about a year ago, and within the last month we have started seeing a few more options. And as you can see, they are not fairing as badly as the aftermarket filters for the R50/52/53. Part of this is just because it’s a smaller element. However, they are still not staying as straight as they should — as straight as the OEM filter. We have also seen that they do not clip in as tightly, but to this point I have not seen any fall out.

So when you really think about cost, you can save a dollar or two per oil service with a cheap filter. In the long run, though, it might cost $5,000-$8,000 to rebuild an engine due to premature wear. That’s no way to save money. Finally, the best bit of maintenance you can do on any MINI is to check your oil often and change it every 5,000 miles. Sure, you’ll spend a few extra dollars a year, but $5,000 buys a lot of oil changes!