If you’re wondering if Fram Oil Filters are any good, it might surprise you just how good they are.
Fram Oil Filters get a bad rap around the internet and in real life based anecdotal visual inspections or second-hand horror stories. But you’d be surprised to find out that not only are FRAM oil filters (even Extra Guard Orange ones) good, Fram runs through a wringer of torture tests specifically testing for filtration and durability.
Here’s an example of an oil filter video that gained a lot of attention on YouTube for supposedly just how bad FRAM oil filters are.
In the video above, this reviewer rips apart the FRAM Oil filter for being poorly made, citing having not enough filter media, using paper end caps, and for allegedly not being robust enough to withstand oil filtration at pressure. His review has no factual, hard data behind it and is just his opinion.
Ricks free auto repair advice does a thorough run through of why videos like the one above are irrelevant for oil filter testing, but I’ve summarized what he’s said below.
Pleat count has no bearing on how well an oil filter will actually filter, so Fram filters having fewer pleats isn’t an indicator of how well it performs.
Fram does NOT use cardboard end-caps but resin impregnated endcaps, which are arguably better than metal end caps, the latter being harder to bond to a paper filter media.
Fram’s silicone bypass valve does its job just fine despite what videos say as its only job is to make sure oil can bypass the filter media if oil filtration should fail.
Can design and end plate construction are also largely irrelevant to how good an oil filter performs.
Which brings us to the most important aspects of oil filtration, actual filtration of particulate matter. Fram uses an ISO 4548-12 standard for testing their oil filters which is the industry standard. According to ISO.org,
The test procedure determines the contaminant capacity of a filter, its particulate removal characteristics and differential pressure.
This test is intended for application to filter elements with an efficiency of less than 99 % at particle size greater than 10 μm.
Fram’s Extra Guard rating for its media is as follows,
Fiber and resin blend creates a proprietary filter media to capture 95% of dirt particles that cause harmful engine wear.*
*FRAM Group testing of average filter efficiency of PH8A, 3387A and 4967 or equivalent FRAM TG or XG models under ISO 4548-12 for particles greater than 20 microns.
That percentage rating goes all the way up to 99 percent if you go for Fram’s Tough Guard lineup and above.
So, how does this filtration rate compare to some of the best oil filters out there? It depends, really. Take for example this Mobile 1 Oil Filter which actually only advertises that it’s 99 percent efficient at removing particles 30 microns or larger. That’s actually misleading, as they don’t tell us how it performs at 20 microns or fewer. I can only guess that percentage efficiency would be much less, perhaps on par, if not worse than Fram!
According to YourBestPicks, we find this misleading marketing on a lot of oil filters that claim a 99 percent efficiency rating. Royal Purple says it’s 99 percent effective at 25 microns. The same with K&N.
Only Bosch and Amsoil (and presumably others) advertise 99 percent and 98.7 percent efficiency at filtration when particles are up to 20 microns in size.
For all intents and purposes, a Fram Extra Guard’s rated 95 percent effectiveness at filtration of particles up to 20 microns is pretty darn good.
And if you weren’t already convinced that Fram filters are good, a Fram engineers actually put up videos on Youtube showing just how robust their filters actually are thanks to rigorous quality control and torture testing.
Yours truly has a 1999 Honda Civic with 240,000 miles, which has been in our family since mile zero. Oil has been changed religiously every 3,000 miles using largely Castrol oil and Fram oil filters, and the Civic is as strong as ever.
Fram oil filters are not as bad as people make them out to be. Fram oil filters are actually tested to filter out particulate matter to a point, and are torture tested to make sure they’ll survive even the roughest conditions.
So the next time you’re on the fence on Fram’s oil filters, get the Extra Guard ones. If you’re feeling like you want to spend a bit more, get for Tough Guard or better. Fram Oil filters will be just fine for your engine.
Source: Rick’s Auto Repair Advice