2nd Gen Toyota Tacoma Oil Filter Comparison

The oil filter is one of the most important parts in your Toyota's lubrication system. So when it's time to replace the oil filter in your 2nd gen Toyota Tacoma, you want to make the best choice possible.

Tacoma oil filters

In this post, we'll compare 3 of the most popular oil filter brands for Tacomas:

  1. OEM Toyota oil filter
  2. FRAM Tough Guard oil filter
  3. K&N Premium oil filter

Before we start, check out the basics of each oil filter:

OEM Toyota Oil Filter
FRAM Tough Guard K&N Premium
Part Number

90915-YZZD3 TG 3614 HP-1002

$5.41 $6.82 $11.95
Pricing Source

OTPC Amazon Amazon

All three oil filters are among the best on the market. But which one offers the most value? OEM is the best option. Here's why:

OEM Oil Filters Are Actually Really High Quality Filters

oil filter components

The OEM Toyota oil filter is the most affordable option we're looking at here. (Here's a secret, though: it's even more affordable when you buy it from us. We carry wholesale pricing for genuine OEM Toyota parts, including oil filters. Check them out here!) They're so affordable that sometimes people think there is a better quality option in the aftermarket. The truth is that none of the aftermarket filters have gone through the extensive testing that an OEM filter goes though. The OEM filter was also designed for a specific oil pressure, oil flow rate, and oil weight, all of which correspond to a specific engine.

By comparison, the FRAM Tough Guard oil filter and the K&N Premium oil filter are good oil filters. They promote some specific benefits:

  • FRAM designed its Tough Guard oil filter for drivers who push their vehicles to the max. For example, it's marketed as good oil filter for heavy towing.
  • The K&N Premium oil filter is more "heavy duty" than the OEM Toyota oil filter. It's designed for high flow rate.

But, you don't know if they were designed for your specific engine, or if they use a universal filter media, and were just designed to fit your engine. People also look at the price of a Tacoma oil filter, and think they must not be very good quality because they are relatively inexpensive. But the reality is that Toyota buys more oil filters than just about any other company in the world. They can can offer low pricing on oil filters because they get a really big volume discount.

OEM Oil Filters Are Specific To A Make And Model (Or A Set Of Models)

This is important because you want your oil filter to:

  • Fit perfectly
  • Have the right dimensions to handle the amount of oil flow in your truck
  • Be compatible with your engine's typical operating RPM range

Toyota designed its OEM oil filters to properly filter the oil between oil changes. Toyota took great care to do this because they warranty your engine. They want your engine to last as long as possible.

Aftermarket manufacturers don't warranty your engine. So perfect fitment (and quality materials, for that matter) is not always guaranteed with aftermarket oil filters. It's common for aftermarket oil filters to be designed for universal fitment. For example:

  • The FRAM Tough Guard oil filter is compatible with a variety of makes and models dating back to the 1980s
  • The K&N Premium oil filter is compatible with a variety of makes and models dating back to the 1950s

These filters may work great with certain makes and models. But it's not guaranteed that they are optimized for your Tacoma. In fact, you could pretty safely bet that they aren't.

The bottom line? An OEM oil filter is the best investment.

Written by Jason Lancaster