I know of no site that gives the meaningful data that a technical person
would like to see.
There have been sites which attempt to separate the sheep from the goats
by cutting the filter open and examining the apparent quality of the
components and the construction. I have little faith in these comparisons.
The data probably does exist to be able to evaluate these products but
I have never seen it tabulated and available to the public.
There isn't any. Not such that I've ever been able to find online, anyway.
Those sites that pull filters apart to see what they look like inside tell
you absolutely nothing useful at all.
The safest things you can do:
1) Use the correct OEM oil filter sold by your automaker's local dealer.
2) Use a major brand-name oil that displays the API starburst.
I have cut open of bunch of filters open myself (mostly FL820S
Competitors and a few Toyota and Nissan filters).I did learn useful
information. There are some things you can tell just by looking and
measuring - type of anti-drain back valve, type of relief valve, total
amount of filter material, general type of filter material, general
quality of construction. And some things you cannot tell by just
looking - filtering efficiency (some manufacturers provide this),
actual filter capacity, flow rate, relief valve release point, burst
strength of the filter can. I would contend that if you cut open a
filter and see a hard rubber relief valve, a sparse amount of filter
material, sloppy internal construction, and a crummy looking relief
valve, you might decide that filter was not a good choice.
Maybe, maybe not. Honda has sold Fram filters in the past labeled as
Honda filters. Fram is not my favorite choice even if it says Honda on
the outside. Toyota dealers routinely sell replacement filters that
are radically different that the OE filters originally supplied on
some engines. I like the OE Toyota filters and go out of my way to buy
those (they cost more and dealers often don't stock them). Ford has at
times sold different Motorcraft replacement filters than the OE
filters originally on the engine (similar, but clearly different).
Some aftermarket filters appear to be significantly better made than
some OE filters.
You need to make sure the oil is the correct viscosity, grade, and
meets all the OE manufacturer's specs. For most US and Japanese
vehicles, the API service class (SL, SM, etc) can usually be depended
on to indicate the oil meet the vehicle manufacturer's warranty
requirements. For some European vehicles, this is not necessarily
true. It is always best to make sure the oil you are buying
specifically says it meets the vehicle manufacturer's specifications
for your vehicle. For both the Fords and Toyota's that I service that
specify 5W30, 5W20, or 0W20 oil, I always look to make sure they
explicitly say they meet Ford's oil spec. Ford's specs were actually
more robust than the API service category for 5W20 oils when Ford
first started specifying the 5W20 oils.
Fram makes a wide variety of oil filters, some sold under their own brand,
and some sold under other brands.
Most people agree that the lowest price Fram filter (About $2.50 at discount
stores) is of questionable quality, but the one that sells for about $11.00
is quite good. It is unwise to lump all Fram filters into the same category.
I am mainly interested in filters for the vehicles I own or regularly
service - Fords, Toyotas, a Nissan, and a Mazda. For the Fords, from
what I have seen, the $3.28 Motorcraft FL820S Filter is better than
the best Fram equivalent, the TG2, which cost $6.15 the last time I
bought one. The TG2 is only marginally better than the lower priced,
but used by the same applications, Fram PH2 ($3.77) yet cost 40% more.
Now maybe for some other applications, the Fram filters are not so
obviously inferior. But for the applications I care about, Fram
filters are not my choice.
I assume you are talking about the incredibly overpriced ExtendedGuard
Fram Filters. The FL820S equivalent is the XG2. Autozone sells these
for $22.99. That's right, almost $23 for a Fram Filter. It is a
I have to admit I have not actually cut an XG2 open. However, given
what I have seen in the past from Fram I'd wager it is not as good as
the Motorcraft FL820S. The advertising copy for the XG2 says:
* Synthetic blend media backed by a metal screen - This may be a good
feature, Donaldson and Amsoil filters offer this, at a much lower
* Long Life Silicone Anti-Drain Back Valve - the cheap Motorcraft
filter comes standard with this.
* Exterior Gasket with PTFE - Several filters (Amsoil for one) also
offer this feature. I suppose if you change your oil filter once a
decade or install it with a 10 foot pipe wrench, this might matter,
but it is mostly advertising BS. At best it is a marginal advantage
worth a few pennies.
* 70% more capacity vs leading competitors average - totally
meaningless BS. We don't know who are the leading competitors, exactly
which filter p/n(s) this applies to, or the average capacity of the
competitor's filters. In general FL820S size oil filters have far more
capacity that will ever be required (compare an FL820S to almost any
Toyota or Nissan filter for engines of similar size).
* 96% Single pass efficiency - this is mediocre at best
I'd be interested in cutting an XG2 filter open, but at a price of
$23, there is no way I am buying one. If somebody has a used one they
want to ship to me, let me know and I'll pay for the shipping.. I have
a feeling they are sourcing this filter, or at least the media, from
Donaldson (Donaldson also makes the Amsoil EA filters). The Donaldson
filters are much cheaper.
email@example.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote in
OEM grade, at least for the imports, appears to be far higher than what
those same companies sell in the aftermarket.
A Honda FRAM-built oil filter is quite different from a FRAM filter in a
FRAM box, despite the use of some common parts between the two.
A Honda OEM Walker or Bosal exhaust will not at all resemble parts those
same companies make for the aftermarket.
It's the automakers' specifications that make the difference, not who
actually manufactures the parts.
None of this tells you anything, sorry. "Crummy" /looking/ components
may /function/ just fine.
In any case, there's no readily-available study of these things that
tests for /function/, so all anybody can do is guess and organize beauty
Honda has used FRAM as an OEM for oil filters for at least 15 years.
I'd think if there was a problem with them, FRAM would have been dropped
as a supplier long ago.
You're absolutely right. Like the old acronym goes, "RTFM". It will tell
you what you need to do.
Exceptionally poor /looking/ consruction you mean, not exceptionally poor
Until those beauty-contest sites perform some kind of /function/ tests,
they tell you absolutely nothing except the non-news that ugly girls don't
win beauty contests.
But they can't tell you how /good/ that filter medium is, which is the
I did snip that. But the author does NOT test drainback valves. He
simply mentions what he thinks makes a good valve and what does not.
On the Knize page (which is greatly updated and much more humble than
the page I last looked at several years ago, this is found:
"Hydrostatic Burst Pressure - Since I cannot test this myself, I have
removed this data.
SAE J806 Filtration Efficiency - Since I cannot test this myself, I have
removed this data.
SAE J1858 Filtration Efficiency - Since I cannot test this myself, I
have removed this data."
Unfortunately, /these/ are the tests that primarily differentiate a
"good" filter from a "bad" one, and /these/ are the tests the author has
It's really too bad the author has left out the SAE test results. In
most scientific and statistical testing, the raw data used in tests are
made available to others along with test methodology. That's how you
determine bias. Bias is not detemined on the say-so of somebody who
refuses to reveal the data and methodologythat he claims are biased.
I stand by my original assertion: There is not yet any reliable and
verifiable evidence to prove that one oil filter is better than another,
and, if some /are/ better, to what degree.
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