Oil catch cans work by condensing oil vapors and other junk from your PCV system into a canister which you then empty periodically. For many newer direct injection gasoline engines, this can be an essential preventative measure to help keep your intake valves clean and junk free.
This isn’t just some gimmicky idea that is supposed to add horsepower to your car by using magnets or an impeller in the throttle body. You can read more about what types of cars should have oil catch cans and how they work in my detailed post here (from 2018).
Here is a list of the top oil catch cans you can get online for great prices. If you simply want the best oil catch can money can buy, I will also include a couple thinks to those brands. You will need to install the catch can yourself, and there are many different ways to do that. I recommend googling your car make and model and see if someone else has provided a guide.
Best Catch Cans Under $50 2019:
For less than $40 you get a great copy of a much more expensive catch can and they include some clamps, screws, and hose to get you starter.
Pro tip: buy a higher quality hose and hose clamps for the oil catch can. The hose will degrade fast unless you use a hose that can withstand hot and cold and oil exposure. I highly recommend buying this hose kit which will fit the intake and outtake ports for this oil catch can and will last a long time.
The clear lines these come with typically look cool at first, because you can see all the gunk flowing into the catch can, but they will ALWAYS degrade faster than black hose under heat.
Once again a slightly different style and it really just depends on what you like for the look of your vehicle. The ESPEEDER oil catch can do not have a big bulky vent coming out of the top so it does look cleaner. However, if you are putting an oil catch can on any 4×4 or truck style vehicle you may want to go with the vent style catch can for a better look.
It is pretty funny in the description of the catch can they remark that the hose is a “free gift” and that you should definitely buy a better hose. I do not know why all these kits are selling it with these hoses (I am sure it is to draw you in) but in reality, you do need to buy separate hose (inexpensive).
This one is great if you need a small and cheap oil catch can for your car. Maybe you don’t have a ton of extra space and want something really compact. This oil catch can have a capacity of 160ml vs. the others listed above which either have 300-400ml.
What does this mean to you the buyer? Well, you will have to empty it more often. Make sure to place it in an area of the car that you can easily unscrew the container and empty it accordingly. You do not want the oil catch can to overflow and then it will just suck the same gunk right into your engine again.
That is why a lot of oil catch cans have dipsticks so you can check the level. My advice is to just check it weekly then figure out how often you need to be draining it based on how much it is filling per week of normal driving.
This oil catch can is also insanely cheap at only $20 roughly on Amazon. It has great reviews as well. Click here to read the reviews for this oil catch can on Amazon.
It will come with zero instructions. Just like many of the other catch cans on my list. This is because these are generally copies coming straight from China with no markup at all to the consumer.
You are getting these at roughly the cost of manufacturing them and shipping them. I mean think about it, this is a $20 item and it is made from aluminum and shipped to your door. Sorry, but for that price, you are just lucky that you can buy these things.
How to Properly Install an Oil Catch Can:
To install it correctly you should just google your car and “installing an oil catch can.”
Someone is likely to have done it on your exact car and can walk you through the process. For every car, it is different and different strategies for placement of the catch can work better. I know that isn’t very helpful, but unfortunately, it is way too complicated to talk about every single type of engine and the best placement for each type of oil can. You will have to make your own decisions at some point if there isn’t enough information out there already.
If you’re still not sure if you should be using an oil catch can in 2019 watch these videos. They mostly work best on cars with a lot of engine blow-by (burn a lot of oil) or modern cars that have a direct gasoline injection system.
Lots of these cars end up having problems with oil and crust building up on the intake valves. This is because no gasoline is sprayed over the valves (cleaning them in a normal car without Direct Gasoline Injection). This means some cars at around 30,000 miles can have problems with coated intake valves and loss of horsepower etc.,
Lucky for you there are tons of informational posts about how to install catch cans on pretty much every modern engine. For some general guidelines, I recommend a couple of YouTube videos for installing oil catch cans. Here is the most informative catch can video on Youtube to get you started.
Do I Need an Oil Catch Can?
To find out if using an oil catch can on your car is appropriate, just google it.
If your car has a direct gasoline injection system then, by all means, I recommend you install an oil catch can.
Just avoid all the potential problems of build up on the intake valves.
It can be extremely expensive to repair if you have to take the intake manifold off and blast the valves.
However, since I cannot spend a ton of time researching every different car and whether people have had good success with an oil catch can, that part I will have to leave up to you.
You will also need to decide where to install the oil catch can, and what lines you want to tap to do it. Some people also install two oil catch cans (for certain cars,) and you will need to see if that is a good option for you on your car.
Oil Catch Cans are fun items to install on modern cars with direct injection engine, or just engines with a lot of engine blow by. You get to watch them fill up with nasty oil gunk and know that you are keeping that from being burned in your cars combustion chamber.
The spark plugs, intake valves (on DGI vehicles), and exhaust ports will thank you. As a benefit, you may even get better gas mileage, and potentially avoid a SUPER expensive service where a technician has to blast the intake valves of your vehicle with an abrasive material to remove all the carbon build up. Can anyone say Ford Ecoboost engines?
Go buy an oil catch can watch a video on how to install it, and make sure it doesn’t leak. The biggest leaking item is intake and outtakes ports being loose after install so make sure you tighten them nicely and use a thread sealant tape if needed.