Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Oil Filter Q,uality

We have a new Chrysler Town and Country. I purchased a Fram Extra Guard oil filter, #CH11665. The owners manual says to use MOPAR filters. Are the Fram filters of equal quality?
Thanks for the assistance re the Engine Malfunction light on our 2005 Grand Caravan. Everyone offered good suggestions and Keith nailed it when he said it would go off after three cooled down engine cycles

You have a new vehicle with a warranty. Why would you not use the filter recommended? I also have the dealer do oil changes while the warranty is effect. That way there are service records in case of a problem.

I’ve never had a problem with a Fram filter. Mopar buys their filters from somebody, I’m sure they’re fine, but no requirement to use them. Stick with well know name brands, you’ll be fine.

Fram are cheap filters. Do a search and there are youtube videos showing the differences. I would use Napa gold, Wix or Mopar. Keep receipts. I staple the filter box lid to the oil and filter reciept. Rarely does the engine fail during warranty.

Here we go…filter fight!

None of those videos relate to any engine issues from filter use. While I may like fancy construction, my engine doesn’t care

I had a 2002 Chrysler Town and Country. When I started it up in the morning I had lifter noise for a few seconds.
From a Chrysler minivan forum I read that the noise was from the Fram and Mopar filters having inferior anti-drainback valves and they recommended a Motorcraft filter. I changed and no more lifter noise.

Does the owners manual say you need to use Mopar filters? Or does it say this:

This manufacturer’s engines have a full-flow type oil
filter. Use a filter of this type for replacement. The quality
of replacement filters varies considerably. Only high
quality filters should be used to assure most efficient
service. MOPAR® engine oil filters are a high quality oil
filter and are recommended.

Auto manufacturers have been recommending their products like this from the beginning of time. Many aftermarket items, like Fram filters, are acceptable replacements.

Mopar, Wix or Napa Gold

Wix and Napa Gold are both made by Affinia. Don’t get Napa platinum, they seem to be a little overpriced

Call your local Mopar dealer. Their filter price might actually be competitive.

For my Toyota, the dealer actually has a very good price, cheaper than Wix or Napa Gold

This is the Fram filter for the new Chrysler 3.6 L V6, I don’t know if it needs an anti-drainback valve:

Fram are cheap filters. Do a search and there are youtube videos showing the differences

Fram makes more filters then it’s 5 biggest competitors COMBINED. If there was any problem what-so-ever with Fram filters it would all over the news. There’d be tens of thousands of engine failures every year. Every single one of those so-called experts who complain about Fram filters all have vested interested in one of Frams competitors. If you want to use Fram go ahead…you won’t have any problems.

Wix filters are very good also. I use Wix because my local autoparts dealer sells them to me by the case which works out to about $3.50 a filter. OEM filters are made for them by one of the big oil filter companies…Fram is one of those companies.

There’s nothing wrong with Mopar, Wix, Fram, or any other brand named filter. The only filters you should be wary of are generally not sold through retail parts houses and department stores. Those are the nameless white or yellow box filters which are peddled through some fast lube facilities or small independent shops.

I’m not privy to the info but I would imagine Fram sells about a jillionteen oil filters a year. If the filters were a problem every dealer and independent shop would have cars stacked up beaucoup deep with engine problems.

We can have this same argument about many replacement parts that we all buy. From oil filters, oil brands, spark plugs, or antifreeze etc, etc… Everyone has their favorite but some people are more adament about it.
It works both ways!!! You use Mobil oil and the engine blows and it’s all the oils fault…the engine lasts 320,000 miles and it because of Mobil oil.

I use the Fram Xtra Guard or Wix Filters. Depending where I buy them.
I do recommend staying away from filters that are packaged under that sellers name, because you never know where they were made.


You will be safe with any major name filter. With the newer cartridge filters you may need a special socket to remove it. Be sure to replace the o-ring(s) and install it in the proper groove.

+1 to OK4450’s post.
The Fram filter is perfectly fine for your new Chrysler. It meets all the specifications of the Mopar filter.

JoeMario “Auto manufacturers have been recommending their products like this from the beginning of time. Many aftermarket items, like Fram filters, are acceptable replacements.”
" From the beginning of time" may be a slight exaggeration but I’m sure it has been a recommendation since the invention of the automobile. I purchased a new 2010 Kia Forte SX 6spd M/T in May of that year. The dealership had no service department. I was told that if I had any problems to take it to their affiliated Mazda dealer. OK… I had zero problems until last Month when I noticed a slight tick in the valve train. I called the Mazda service department and was informed that Kia was opening a brand new dealership with their own service department. I was able to schedule an appointment for three days later. The new dealership and service department were beautiful. The Service consultants informed me that there was a TSB concerning valve train noise possibly caused by non OEM oil filters. This sounded like the usual dealer BS. I informed them that all scheduled maintenance had been performed at a reputable (not “iffy lube”) shop and I had the receipts. They said that was fine. During the inspection the mechanic discovered a very slight oil pan gasket seep. They scheduled the gasket replacement (covered by warranty) a couple of days later. That went well and of course the oil was replaced but they had to charge for the filter if I wanted it replaced. Since it was the possible cause of the valve train noise and the OEM filter cost a whopping $6.45 I agreed. Valve train noise was reduced but is still there. The owner’s manual strongly suggests dealer maintenance like everyone else’s. I found that the dealer’s oil and filter change was $10 less than the shop I had been using and included a hand car wash which saved at least another $6. I will post Kia’s TSB which I find confusing and disturbing. I will withhold judgment until I get clarification in writing from the dealer.

Engine All
114 February 2012
During engine research & development, the mechanical engine lubrication system is designed to operate at specific volumes and pressures to keep the reciprocating & rotary components properly lubricated. Kia has assigned specific guidelines for the use of oil filters (Cartridge / Spin-on) and oil viscosity to conform to; filtration, leak down, oil flow rate and pressure variations, and to keep the lubrication system at optimal performance. The use of aftermarket oil filters / o-rings / improper oil viscosities could result in less than optimal filtration, leak down, oil flow rate and pressure variations due to different oil filter designs and construction . Some of the symptoms and concerns that may arise with aftermarket filters / wrong oil viscosities include but are not limited to:

•Valve Train Noise •Low Oil Pressure With Warning Light On •Engine Knocking Noise
Kia does not test or approve any aftermarket filters and only recommends the use of Kia genuine parts that are designed to operate at the specifications set forth during engine lubrication design and testing. If the engine oil has been changed recently and a noise condition has developed, perform an inspection of the oil filter and or Customer oil change maintenance records to help you in determining if an aftermarket filter or the wrong oil viscosity was used. If the vehicle is equipped with an aftermarket oil filter, perform an oil change and filter using the correct oil grade / viscosity and a replacement genuine Kia oil filter at the customer’s expense. It is always best to use the electronic parts catalog, search by VIN to obtain the correct oil filter P/N; this will avoid confusion and possible engine damage. Note: Customer concerns as a result of incorrect oil viscosity or use of aftermarket oil filter should not be treated as a warranty repair and any related damage is not warrantable, nor is changing the engine oil and filter to isolate this condition.

I’ll go a little off-topic, now that Kia was brought up

Kia and Hyundai allow free access to their technical websites. All you have to do is register, choose a username and password. Nobody asks for credit card number, SSN, etc.

I use Fram or Wix oil filters but I’ve used other name brands in the past with no problems whatsoever. If Fram filters were so bad…they would have been sued out of existence decades ago.

Dan was concerned enough about the filter he bought to post here. New vehicles do not need oil changes as often as they did years ago. I feel his peace of mind would be served if he just had the dealer do it. With our vehicles the dealer specials are almost the same price as the cheap places. Besides I get free coffee and donuts while they do it.

I agree Dan can get peace of mind by going to the dealer, but at least he now knows that other options are equally fine for him.

The only problem I ever had with an oil filter was a Purolator filter element on my 09 Camry V6. At 20k I bought 2 Purolator filter elements and installed one and changed the oil. I had used OEM or Napa prior. When I hit 25k I removed the Purolator and was surprised to see it in the shape of an hour glass, sucked in the middle. This led me to believe the oil was not flowing through the filter properly. Well I installed the other Purolator filter and put in new oil. Well it kept bothering me about the filter. I pulled the Purolator filter after 1k miles and it was sucked in at the middle. I compared the size of the Purolator to the OEM and it was significantly smaller in diameter. Less diameter = less surface area. Less surface area = less oil flow. Installed the OEM filter and never had the problem again. The OEM is the exact same size as the Napa and I use either.