Oil filters



For the past five years I have been using Fram oil filters on my 1995 honda accord. I am currently in an area where the only way to purchase anything is via internet, so I have been looking at oil filters online. So far I have come across nothing but information telling me that fram filters are the LAST filters that I want on my car. Does anyone have any input about this, or can anyone suggest what oil filter I “should” be using?


Any major brand, including Fram, will be fine. After the break-in period, oil filters do very little so brand choice is not very important. Buy four or six and forget about it…


I did a bunch of research on this about a year ago. I too heard FRAM were to be avoided.

I settled on the Purolator Premium (the less expensive Purolator) which got good marks and was very reasonably priced. The Purolator PureOne (the more expensive Purolator) actually scored lower.



I’ve also heard that Frams are to be avoided. I use Canadian Tire’s Motomaster filters, and they seem to work fine, not to mention they’re cheap. I’ve also had success with Quaker State filters as well.


It is truly unfortunate that Fram gets such bad press because there is really nothing wrong with them. No one has ever shown a particular car problem that could be attributed to a bad oil filter, Fram or otherwise (not counting those filters installed incorrectly). I use Fram almost exclusively except when Purolator is on sale.


In one of the tests I read, there was a specific problem with the internal design of Fram filters that caused them to filter much more poorly under common conditions. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific than that but my memory of the test is vague. I’ll try to find it and report back if I do.



I found one test report but not the one I was thinking of. Here is a relevant comment (about a Fram filter that the reviewer disassembled):

“The cardboard end-caps for the filter element, the cheap plastic by-pass valve and the flimsy anti-drainback valve will make me stay away from this filter.”

I’ll report back if I can find the original test I was referring to.


Well what you have been reading is that Fram oil filters are made cheaply with thin metal walls and cardboard parts etc. What you really have not seen is evidence that this measurements make any difference in the effectiveness or life of the filter. The simple fact is they are as effective in protecting your engine as any other filter out there. The same goes for all filters.

Frankly I look for the ones that have the rubberized grip on them to make it easier to change.  

The one thing you do want to look for is that whatever filter you get, you get one with a check valve is such a valve is called for for your engine.  You will know you got the wrong one if you start it up the second time and you hear the valves clicking for a minute or two before it quiets down.


Here’s a comment from another test report about the Fram. “The rubber anti-drainback valve seals the rough metal backplate to the cardboard end cap and easily leaks, causing dirty oil to drain back into the pan… The bypass valves are plastic and are sometimes not molded correctly, which allows them to leak. The backplate has smaller and fewer oil inlet holes, which may restrict flow.”

Still not the test I was thinking of…


No, the test I’m thinking of actually tested filtering ability.



Thanks to the internet and pseudo-scientific testing, all kinds of false information is put out there for public consumption.

My son uses nothing but Frams on his Camaro and is sitting right now around 200k miles I think, with no problems ever.

One thing I have never been able to find is a documented case of someone having an engine ruined by a Fram filter.
No one can ever seem to produce a name and vehicle to go along with the bad Fram scenario.


Since you have been buying FRAM, you might consider buying the upscale ones, then you would be trying a little harder to get better filters. I don’t believe that the difference in quality between FRAM and any other brand will matter enough to worry about. The odds are in favor of never having a problem. Some people believe that they will win the lottery if they just buy two tickets instead of one. The lottery winning seems to be the more likely thing to happen than a FRAM related problem.


“The cardboard end-caps for the filter element, the cheap plastic by-pass valve and the flimsy anti-drainback valve will make me stay away from this filter.”

And what does that have to do with how well it filters??

If Fram was anywhere near as bad as what’s been said we’d be hundreds if not THOUSANDS of engine failures every year due to their poor construction. Last I heard Fram outsells the top 5 other filter companies put together.


I had a Dodge Spirit with 250K miles on it that was still running fine when I gave it away and used nothing but Fram oil filters. So from my experience I wouldn’t worry about using them.


I have used Fram filters for at least 150,000 miles on one of our cars that has over 200,000 miles. Fram filters get a bad press because they use, not cardboard, but fishpaper end caps while all of the others that I know of use metal encaps. Fishpaper is a tough material. My personal opinion is that the material that seals the filtering media to the end caps will adhere more easily to fishpaper than to metal endcaps. I have disassembled used Fram and other oil filters with no internal mechanical degredation. observed.


Well Gollee,
if you have been using BRAND X for five years
why start worrying about it now.
as long as your changing oil and filter reg.


I recently did some internet research on Fram filters. If you go to bobistheoilguy.com, you find a number of people who don’t like them. However, I couldn’t find any actual laboratory tests that indicated they were bad. Most of the complaint seems to center around the cardboard end caps on the filter element. However, I couldn’t find any evidence that this really caused a problem in actual use. It was also reported that the can was of thinner metal than some, but again, no evidence of failure. The minimopar site has some results of cutting various filters apart and draws some conclusions based on perceived quality of the internal construction, filter media area, etc., but, once again, no scientific results that would indicate that they are as bad as some would have us believe. It is my understanding that they are the largest manufacturer of oil filters in the country. Wouldn’t it be a reasonable expectation that there would at least be some class-action suits if the problems were as great as some would have us believe. I have used them for years with no problems.


I’ve been using Fram filters for years and years. In 2005 I gave my daughter a pickup that lasted ultimately until it had 338,000 miles and my son a Camry that lasted over 240,000 miles. Both ended their serivices with the engines running fine.

In 40 years of car ownership I’ve always used budget filters and never worn an engine out. While lab testing and forensic analysis may show variations among filters, the important thing to engine longevity in reality is proper maintenance and care of the vehicle rather than the brand of filter used.


You just jerked my chain. The Fram endcaps are fishpaper, not cardboard. There is a big difference. Cardboard infers flimsy, fishpaper infers tough if you know what fishpaper is. Fishpaper is also used as an insulation material in the electrical control industry.


It seems like you get one internet clown to slice open an oil filter, eyeball it, post some negative comments, and then the whole backyard engineering craze springs to life. Everyone is cutting filters open, making all kinds of hokey scientific claims with zero evidence to back any of it up.
Not one example of a Fram damaged engine has ever been verified.

The poster’s comments about fishpaper is also correct. There’s a huge difference between fishpaper and “cardboard”.
A lifelong friend of mine runs an electric motor shop and they use fishpaper when rebuilding electric motors, be they 1 HP or 300 HP.
If fishpaper can stand up under a hot, 800 pound, 440 volt electric motor that is sitting outdoors (through summer/winter/rain/snow) running an oil field pump for years on end, then I think fishpaper will hold up just fine in an oil filter.