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.

If you want to shop online for Fram Oil Filters, click here to jump to Amazon.com. Make sure that you have the right part number for your car by referencing Fram.com

Source: Rick’s Auto Repair Advice

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  1. Thanks for this web page. I’ve been using Fram oil filters for about 45 years. I usually get 300,000 miles out of my engines and I’ve never experienced any problems using a Fram filter. In all that time I’ve only had 5 vehicles and I still own the 5th one. Two of the vehicles were still running when I got rid of them and the other two had rusted out.

    I was very disturbed when I started coming across some of the YouTube videos claiming that Fram oil filters were of low quality and especially when I saw some of the claims that Fram oil filters had disintegrated and damages engines. Some of the videos and associated commentary indicated that the problems were quite common and also some of those watching the videos were becoming convinced that Fram filters were in fact inferior and that they could even destroy your engine. I must also admit that for a while I was almost convinced myself. Further, I have enough things to worry about and I don’t need to have additional worry concerning my oil filter every time I drive my car.

    Perhaps Fram should have their legal department take a look at some of these videos. It’s a shame that a product that has served me well for over 4 decades is getting its reputation dragged through the mud. If people are making derogatory claims against Fram that are not justified then that would be slander I would think.

  2. I too was very concerned when I saw these videos. I feel much better about using Fram filters after seeing and reading this info and will continue to do so. Thanks.

  3. I have been using fram for years and have had great success with them, I cut my last ones to see how they are working and I was very impressed with the results, the difference between the dirty and clean sides are very important and they do a great job of getting the oil free of the debris that will destroy the engine. I will continue to be a Fram filter guy

  4. I’ve been using fram sense the 1970’s on literally 100’s of cars’ and never once seen any damage!
    The u tube videos make them look bad if that all you look at. Kinda like Trump mainstream media makes him look bad’ but in reality America is doing Great… Fram and Trump 2020 //

    • Thanks for the comment William! My dad’s also been using Fram on his cars since the 70s and now I am. Good filters.

      • I am a boeing 747 mechanic with 30 years experiance. Fram filters have cracked on my car and leaked out the oil , the metal housings are too thin , THEY ARE JUNK !

        • If that is true then it only happened once not several times because it would have happened to other people as well, not just you.

          • So you think everyone it happened to is going to find and report it on here?

            The video doesn’t lie, the quality is there for all to see, cardboard or not. What about the rust particles? We discussed the video in our garage so we bought a couple and had a look ourselves. Sure enough, they came apart easily and whatever they call the material, it sure as hell looks like cardboard and comes apart just as easily. When wet it’s likely to come apart even more easily.

            But my concern would be the rust particles, which we also found. I don’t want those going around my engine. End of the day, whatever you choose to believe why take the risk when there are clearly better built filters out there, and often for less money.

  5. Greetings I have been using Fram filters since about 1969, and have had great results with no issues. I have opened them up and found construction excellent. All the bad “rap” is not validated. Got a Ford Ranger now, and Fram is doing a great job on that engine. Joe. Atlanta, Ga

  6. I have used Fram oil filters for 50 years. I have never had a problem.

    People just cannot accept that there are somethings that they cannot know. One of these is oil filter quality. The average Joe just doesn’t have the equipment nor expertise to adequately evaluate an oil filter. But the human mind does accept the unknowable readily. So they cut open oil filters and evaluate them visually with meaningless criteria while ignoring the ISO 4548-12 test results. I guess that would be too easy. It’s also available to everyone and not just them..

  7. I have been using them for years on my daily driver with no issues. My street/strip car has a lot of oil pressure and I did have failures

  8. The biggest thing people find fault with is what they call cardboard end caps on the filter media. None of them seem to realize it’s the glue alone that seals the ends of the filter element. Without the glue the metal or plastic end caps would not seal the edges of the media. Many Toyotas use a cartridge filter that only contains the filter element with no end caps at all. Yes you can get filters that have metal or other end caps but the OEM filter from Toyota has no end caps. The ends are sealed with glue. The metal, plastic or whatever end caps would still leak if those end caps were not sealed with glue. The end caps may supply some rigidity to the filter but for normal oil change intervals is obviously not necessary or else the OEM filters would have them.

        • I have never heard of it. I have been using Fram since I was 16 and I am 62 now. I have never ruined an engine by using Fram filters and don’t know anyone who has.

        • That’s like me saying; “I’m a certified HVAC technician, and I’m telling you Fram is junk!” Unless your experience is with small aircraft like a Cessna 172, I don’t think your Boeing experience validates your claims any more than a grocery store cashier.

          • Is it not obvious that they are junk, I mean look one at the rust, and two how had they are cut. These are supposed to be “high quality” They are probably as cheap as an oil filter can be made, yet they are more expensive then most, AND, all your really paying for is the name, not the performance

          • No, it shows that he likely has qualifications that give him a better understanding of how these things work. That must have it’s value. Or would you rather have a grocery store attendant work on the aircraft you next fly on?

    • Well if that is “fiberboard” it makes a hell of a good impression of cardboard – and I have seen one opened up. Fact remains is they do easily disintegrate on inspection, so why the hell would you use one in your engine?

      Adhesives are very technically advanced these days, you can glue anything to anything at all kinds of temperatures so as long as a relevant adhesive is used, whatever the material, that should not be of any concern.

  9. I am a boeing 747 mechanic with 30 years experiance. Fram filters have cracked on my car and leaked out the oil , the metal housings are too thin , THEY ARE JUNK !

  10. From someone who did a lass paper on Fram filters, I can tell you they are very BAD. The internals are made of cardboard and determines faster an othe brands with fiber cores. If you run any additives they can eat the internals. Fram is one of the worse filters out there. Along with Vanguard and micro guard. I only run Motorcraft, Wix or Napa.

  11. There’s a reason O’Reilly auto parts stopped selling fram, and it’s because they quite literally fall apart. It doesn’t matter if it filters well if it won’t last you as long as any other filter. Never use fram.

  12. Hi m****, happy to help you understand how commerce works. O’Reilly’s stopped carrying Fram filters because they signed an exclusive contract with M&H Purolator. Autozone stopped carrying M&H Purolator filters when they signed an exclusive contract with Fram. This is how commerce works in a capitalist society.

    By your limited reasoning, Purolator sucks because Autozone stopped carrying them (there’s way more Autozones than there are O’Reillys, btw) and Fram is the best filter available.

    In case you still don’t comprehend how stupid your statement was, I’ll rephrase it: “Pepsi sucks because McDonalds only has Coke products!”

  13. Pleat count most certainly is indicative of overall quality and, by extension, filter effectiveness. Pleat count determines, all things equal, how much filtration media is engineered into the filter: the more pleats, the more media and thus the greater filtration capacity of the cartridge.

    The relevant question isn’t whether Fram will function OK with thinner steel, coarser and less filtration media, and held together with glue. Yeah, it will. But the question to ask yourself is whether other brands are heavier, have better filtration, contain more media and therefore have greater capacity, and are constructed better. I haven’t heard anyone say that Fram is #1 in any of these parameters, so why would I buy one to protect a $15,000 engine?

    I wouldn’t

    • Finally, a sensible comment. The simple fact is that there are obviously better products out there, and often cheaper, so why would you buy an inferior product?

      The people I feel sorry for are those who buy the cars second hand, not knowing what bad components have been used in them.

  14. Just a few comments . I’ve used Fram filters since 1971..with no issues at all .The Orange Can has been upgraded and the XP Synthetic filters are about the best there is. ..a great product .
    Joseph Risher

  15. Experienced mechanics usually know nothing about principles of function. Don’t ask an engine mechanic about the Carnot Heat Cycle. He’ll think you’re speaking a foreign language. Or ask an HVAC guy about thermodynamics. For that matter, probably best to keep engineers away from your maintenance needs. So, let engineers design stuff. Let mechanics fix stuff. But spare the time suck blather of watching a mechanic cut open filters and pretend he knows enough to give us any important information. Sheese. That video sucked.


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