Oil Filters

Does any one out there know what oil filters are worth the money other than OEM. I worked with a former fram engineer who told me fram was being made very cheap. I am using Baldwin, Bosch, and on the cheaper side purolator. I have had no problems at all with these brands.

When someone asks if a brand is “worth the money” he implies he is willing to spend more on a premium product. He assumes the more costly product is “better” and so he is willing to pay.

Is this your question? Are you willing to spend more for quality? Then by all means, stick with OEM. I’ve never heard any complaints about the OEM oil filters provided by the dealership.

Fram and Purolator are good enough for me.


Sure Fram filters are made cheaply.  The also sell for less.  If you want a finely crafted filter, don't buy Fram or any other lower priced filter.  However if you want a filter that will protect your car so that it has the best chance to reach 300,000 miles or so, then buy any name brand oil filter.  They all do their job.  

Some people like to pay for more than enough.  I buy what works well enough.  Frankly you just don't see engines that have been worn or damaged due to oil issues other than using the wrong oil or running low or not changing it at all.  I can remember back in the 50's when oil and filters were far different, and then there were issues, but not today.

This keeps comming up over and over again…

If Fram filters were made so cheap we’d be seeing hundreds if not thousands of engine failures every year do to Fram filters. Fram outsells their top 5 competitors put together.

MANY OEM filters are also made by Fram.

Full-flow oil filters just trap the big lumps. After the break-in period, they do very little. As far as I know, there has NEVER been an engine failure caused by an oil filter that was properly installed. Oil filters are not critical items. Worry about something else…

like one poster said - this comes up a lot. Maybe a more detailed answer for you is the filters were rated by bobstheoilguy.com or you can find the link on his site. It shows about 25 filters or so that were torn apart for construction issues. The fram (the cheap model) gets bad marks cause it’s filter paper is held together by a rubber band after it’s glued (something like that). the more expensive models of fram got good reviews. Purolator got very good reviews as did wix (napa brand) and a few others. I think they said stay away from pennzoil, and a couple of others that escape me. Go to bobstheoilguy site and there will be a link. read that and it will tell you most filters are fine. Supertech which is the wally world (walmart) brand is very good too.

I’ve used fram for years but switched to purolator and sometimes supertech. I’ve even used advance auto’s brand. If you change your filter and oil between 3and 5K, you’ll be fine (regular dino oil not synthetics). The pep boy’s brand is a purolator and a little cheaper too.

I use whatever they have at the parts store. In more than 35 years I have NEVER had an oil filter problem, regardless of brand or price.

Here we go again with the Fram business.

As a tech for about 35 years I have never seen or even heard of an engine problem being caused by an oil filter, Fram or otherwise.
I have seen a number of engine problems caused by the filter falling off, being left loose, double gasketed, etc. This does not reflect on the quality of the filter, but does reflect on the quality of the person who installed it.

I also ask this. Fram sells, ever single year, about a jillion or so filters.
Don’t you think that if Fram made a bad filter that a number of class-action lawsuits would have been filed long ago?
If one has been filed then someone needs to provide a link to it.

The only filters that I might be leery of would be some cheap, knockoffs and you will probably never see these in a dealer or independent shop.
You may see them in quick lube facilities however. If the facility has a rack full of filters (oil, gas, air) in plain, unmarked boxes. then these are the cheap, imported ones.

A guy I know ran a BMW motorcycle shop and sold me some new BMW knockoff oil filters in unmarked boxes he had just started carrying(about 1/3 the cost of OEM) with a warning that he had heard they may be problematic if left in there too long.
I normally changed the oil in my BMW cycle at 2500 mile intervals and decided to do one at 1500 just to see what was going on.
That cartridge filter took me almost 30 minutes to fish out of the hole with needle nose pliers and it was falling apart.
The other filters went to the dump and the BMW guy quit carrying those filters within a few weeks.

As others have said, there is probably not much difference between the various “name brand” filters, even Fram. I really doubt they would be around very long if they were complete junk. I would avoid any brand that I’ve never heard of.

However, I just use OEMs in my cars because the cost difference is only a few dollars. I either pick up a couple at a time from the dealer (convenient) or order them on-line (cheaper). For me anyway, it’s not worth messing around to save $5 on a filter.

If one is curious, there are a number of “oil filter openers” in the aviation market that range in price from $40-$80. Cut a filter open and see for yourself how they are constructed:

Oil Filter Cutters

I’ve cut a few open in years past, and I don’t think “all filters are created equal,” but maybe that’s just me. If you change filters every 3k miles, it probably does not matter. I run a bit longer than that.

Here’s another survey / test of oil filters for your reading pleasure:

Oil Filter Review

I would hardly consider that oil filter “review” scientific at all.
Number of pleats, length, yada, yada, yada, and not one mention of filtering abiltiy; although they do mention things like “it appears”, “it looks like”, etc.

STILL waiting for the first documented case of oil filter failure leading to an engine problem; any problem at all.

I don’t know about you, but I think it is worth spending $10 more per year on oil filters, just for peace of mind. ($10 buys you a martini in Chicago.) It’s a small price to pay, considering the cost of the the vehicle. I’m O.K. with it.

By the way, have you ever cut open an oil filter?

I use the less expensive Purolator (Premium, not PureOne). It costs about what a Fram filter costs, and is much better built. I have read tests of actual filtering ability that claim better results over the long term with the Purolator than the Fram, which is why I started buying the Purolators.

A filter that doesn’t filter as well or has a malfunctioning anti-drainback valve isn’t going to cause a “massive engine failure,” as the Fram supporters like to point out. But it could reduce the life of the engine. Unfortunately this kind of thing is very difficult to measure long-term and I’m not aware of any comparative studies.

Given the minimal difference in price, I just can’t see using the Fram.


Use what suits your fancy. I really think its indifferent unless you get into extended oil change intervals.

I personally use Purolater as they are the one’s who make OEM filters for my cars (Subaru)

As pointed out, this has been a subject before. Fram is a six sigma company, that means that only about three filters in a million are not within specifications. I don’t know if any of the other oil filter manufacturers meet that standard.

The auto manufacturers set the requirements and specifications for their filters. Some companies build to a higher standard, but unless you do something that requires a filter built to those higher standards, then it is just excess capacity. For all standard applications, the Fram will be sufficient. So are most of the others.

Yes, I have cut a couple open although there is no legitimate reason in the world to even do that.

What does cutting one open even prove? More fodder for internet discussion?

Can one person on the face of this earth point to even one legitimate case of a branded oil filter, Fram, Purlator, WalMart SuperTech, or whatever, causing an engine problem?
If there’s an existing case or ever was one, someone should provide a link to it.
Surely, with billions of filters being sold in the past, and continuing to be sold, an oil filter lawsuit should not be that hard to find. They should be on record everywhere.

The bottom line is that if a particular brand of oil filter is allegedly “bad and cheaply constructed” then lawsuits would have been filed.
The only thing I’ve come across are a few opinions from buffoons for the most part; such as the guy who blames his high mileage lifter rattle on Fram filters “that don’t hold oil pressure when the engine is not running”. Please.

I use Wix in all my vehicles.


Did you actually read the link you posted.

Here’s a quote.

This analysis is not the most technical, no flow data has been taken, but should be representative of quality of construction and capacity

In other words…THE TEST IS WORTHLESS. A flow test showing how well a filter actually filters or how long it lasts or how well the bypass valve operates is far more valid then just opening it up and looking at it.

$10 for peace of mind…great…no problem with that. That doesn’t mean it’s valid.

I have read tests of actual filtering ability that claim better results over the long term with the Purolator than the Fram…

Show me that test. I’d LOVE to see it.