Fram oil filters have been dominating the oil filter market in America and the rest of the globe for an obvious reason. It is cheap and accessible for no more than $20. Interestingly, this brand also divides internet communities with opinions that recognize its effectiveness and longevity, and others that roast it for its “poor performance”. We understand that it might be overwhelming to delve unto all of them sometimes. And so to aid you in your decision-making, here is a one-stop, see-all article to determine the actual efficiency of different Fram oil filters.
We know for sure that choosing the right oil filter is factored by its compatibility with the car engine, as in the size, materials used, mileage, as well as features that a car owner looks for. Aside from this, the question is also whether or not Fram oil filters can perform two duties: filtering contaminants on your car engine oil and putting the oil in the right place. Using a cheap oil filter could lead to issues such as oil leakage, oil filter clogging, engine dry-out, engine sputters, and more that can cause permanent damage to your car engine.
Criticisms against Fram oil filters
Fram is an American automotive replacement brand established in 1936 that offers filtration techniques including oil filters, air filters, cabin air filters, and fluids. The brand offers seven kinds of oil filters, with each of them prided by strengths and features that car owners can choose from. While affordability indeed distinguishes Fram from other brands, this also roots the long-standing criticism it endures in social media.
Many argue that Fram oil filters are made of cheap components. The media, for example, is alleged to fail to filter small contaminants because of its lesser and smoother pleats than others. A Youtube content creator, meanwhile, criticized Fram Extra Guard for having moisture inside its bypass valve, unlike other brands. Another Youtuber accused Fram of using cardboard materials that appeared brownish or stained upon opening.
While these may be valid to raise probable doubt on the effectiveness of Fram oil filters, reviews like such do not say enough about how Fram oil filters function as a filtering tool in car engines per se.
In fact, these criticisms are even debunked and proven insignificant to the functionality of Fram oil filters. Rick’s Auto Repair Advice.com stated three important points: One, the number of pleats does not matter to the efficiency of an oil filter. In fact, fewer pleats can even screen out more contaminants as long as it has smaller filters. Two, endcap material is irrelevant as its sole job is to prevent oil from spilling. The alleged “cardboard” material of Fram’s end cap is actually a resin-impregnated fiber board, which is different from other brands’ metal endcaps. Using this material is Fram’s way to produce economic-pricing products. Three, bypass valve construction matters only depending on the car owner’s preference. This is on the argument on which bypass valve material is better between nitrile or silicone. Silicone can endure higher temperatures compared to nitrile, which is good for an oil filter since it deals with high temperatures brought by the engine pressure while pumping oil. Nitrile, meanwhile, is less expensive and has better abrasion resistance than silicone. Both work fine depending on which car owners weigh more between price and longevity.
So Are Fram Oil Filters actually good?
The answer to this question lies in how these oil filters actually filter contaminants. This Youtube content introduces us to the qualities and strengths of four Fram oil filters – High Mileage, Ultra Synthetic, Tough Guard, and Extra Guard. Fram High Mileage, for example, is meant to protect car engines for up to 75,000 miles of driving or vehicles that require long-term usage. It also has a cartridge of “propriety detergents” which is capable of neutralizing acids and can keep your engine clean and in good condition. This one received an outstanding review of 4.5 stars on Amazon.
The Fram Ultra Synthetic may be more expensive than other Fram oil filters but also appeared to be the most efficient. It claims 99% efficiency in filtering contaminants that are 20 microns or larger and can go for up to 20,000 miles of driving so you would not need to frequently replace your oil filters. This reference would also show how Fram Ultra Synthetic stands against other oil filter brands. Obviously, Fram leads the efficiency rate starting at 15 microns and larger, proving that it performs its job as a filtering tool for your car engine oil. This is also a good performance, especially since this is still relatively cheap compared to oil filters from other brands. CNET also listed the Ultra Synthetic as one of the best car engine oil filters in 2022.
The Tough Guard’s biggest point is its silicone anti-drain back valve. Other oil filters use nitrile for the sake of production cost, which sacrifices its durability. Unlike nitriles, silicone can keep up better with extreme temperatures, which makes a big difference because a good oil filter should have the capacity to withstand pressure from the oil pump or the process of delivering the oil to the entirety of the engine.
One concern, however, for this specific oil filter is that it can only go for 15,000 miles of running, which is shorter than other oil filters. This, however, might be considered given that it only costs not more than $8 on average.
The last on the list is the Fram Extra Guard which receives the most criticism among all of Fram’s oil filters. It costs no more than $5 so it should be expected that the materials used are adjusted at its production cost. Its anti-drain valve is made of silicone but can only cover your car engine for the shortest running miles of 5,000 so frequent reinstallation would need to be done to keep your car engine safe from oil leakage and other damages prompted by the lack of filtration.
The quality of this oil filter is understandable as Fram made this product specifically for car enthusiasts who are sitting on the fence due to price, although this is not recommended for your car engine’s sake.
In general, Fram oil filters do not mirror how social media perceives them. The negative comments that we witness are more like the results of failed expectations that go beyond the price level of Fram oil filters. Cheap components are used for some of their oil filters to match its cheap pricing, which unfortunately sacrifices its quality. The more expensive ones consist of higher quality materials so they are better performing. If looking for a good oil filter, it is best to purchase Ultra Synthetic or High Mileage as they exhibit fairly decent performance than the other two discussed in this article.
The efficiency of Fram oil filters depends on which products we are pertaining to. The cheaper kinds like the Extra Guard and Tough Guard are better avoided, High Mileage performs decent, and Ultra Synthetic shows the best performance. Up to this point, you might have decided to push through buying a Fram oil filter, or not. We sure will not leave you hung up if you chose the latter. Upon studying Fram Oil Filters, we also figured out that many suggest using the Mann Oil Filter to give your car engine long-lasting comfort. This brand is highly recommended among groups of car enthusiasts and owners on the internet not only for being an OEM product (known for providing superior quality) but also for having efficiency and longevity. What’s wrong with paying additional bucks if it will surely save your car engine from future problems, right?
We hope this article helped you decide on whether or not Fram Oil Filters should be the oil filter for your car engine. Do you also have a personal experience with Fram Oil Filters? Perhaps, you might have some suggestions on the ideal oil filter brands available in the market. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!