Top 8 Best Oil Filters
By | Last updated: March 28, 2022
best oil filters

There are some things best enjoyed without filters – Instagram photos, discussions about pay with your boss, and those Camel cigarettes from the ’80s. What definitely does require a filter is the oiling system on your car’s engine. We’ve gathered a few of them here.

As a programming note, know that for purposes of making a vaguely apples-to-apples comparison in this post, we selected a common vehicle we figured would be roughly representative of the awful cars efficient daily drivers pressed into service by the readers and authors of this site. In this case, we’ve specified a ten-year-old Honda Civic.

You’ll be glad (and unsurprised) to learn we’ve all had our name on the title of some terrible rotbox at some point during our driving careers. We bet you have, too.

1. Editor's Choice: Genuine Honda Oil (Honeywell) Filter

Ages ago, Honda used to have a tagline when advertising their service departments that said “Don’t open your hood to strangers”. With all the unmentionable double entendres that the phrase implies, there’s no way that line would fly in today’s society. But it still makes a good point: the company that built your car probably knows a thing or two about the parts it requires.

Selecting a gen-u-wine OEM part goes a long way even when your car is well out of warranty. After all, wouldn’t you look more kindly upon a used car you were inspecting if it featured all-Honda replacement parts compared to one that was mended and serviced cheaply? Some reviewers are critical of this product and openly question if it is an actual Honda item but the vast majority seem happy, leading to a 4.8 out of 5-star rating.

Pros/Actual item from Honda, excellent reviews
Cons/Be sure to check those part numbers
Bottom Line/Don't open your hood to strangers

2. FRAM Extra Guard Passenger Car Spin-On Oil Filter

Going from genuine OEM articles to the king of aftermarket filters, we find this Fram filter to be priced in the basement and found on the shelf of just about every major retailer in the nation. Priced less than four bucks, it’s virtually a guarantee than many people shell out more cash than that for their morning coffee on the way to work.

There are plenty of uncomplimentary anecdotes about Fram filters but your author has had good luck with them for at least the last 20 years. That pavement-like gripping surface on its posterior works as advertised, providing a place on which to grasp the thing and torque it off. The rest of it is slathered in bright orange paint, which can be good or bad depending on your opinion.

Pros/Cheaper than the dirt it filters from your engine oil
Cons/Easily spotted by nosy used car shoppers
Bottom Line/Hard to beat this price

3. PurolatorONE Advanced Engine Protection Spin On Oil Filter

Several different filters from Purolator presented themselves when we specified a ten-year-old Honda Civic and its 1.8L engine. However, this Purolator One filter falls somewhere between their bargain filter and more expensive offerings.

In a fit of scientific statement, Purolator says this filter has a silicone anti-drain-back valve that lasts longer than traditional nitrile to protect against dry starts and oil leaks. They also say their metal end caps hold up better in the long term. Whether you think this is a dig at Fram or not is up to you.

Pros/Allegedly good for 10k miles, actual selling points in the ad copy
Cons/Gasket complaints
Bottom Line/FYI - the new top-of-line Purolator is called BOSS

4. Royal Purple Oil Filter

When the brand Royal Purple showed up on the scene it was, at least in my circle of gearhead buddies, worth the extra cash. By most accounts, that seems to remain true today even if we’ve all grown up – notice I didn’t say matured – and now driving SUVs. The filter linked here, of course, fits our sample Honda Civic.

Like any good marketer of motor oil, Royal Purple has expanded into a line of ancillary items including oil filters. Slathered in their trademark purple color, these filters apparently boast a 15k-mile lifespan when used with full synthetic motor oil. For the scientists in the room, this thing claims to achieve a 99% filtration efficiency at 25 microns or larger when combined with synthetic oil.

Pros/Brand snobbery, long service intervals
Cons/Higher-than-average price tag
Bottom Line/Relive yer yute (or simply enjoy a good filter)

5. Mobil 1 Extended Performance Oil Filter

There was a time when your author would base his purchasing decisions with a critical eye at which racing team they sponsored. If they were on the flanks of a driver I didn’t like, there was little chance they’d snag me as a customer. Put it this way: I exclusively drank Coke for this very reason.

If you’re in that camp, we hope you like either Stewart-Haas Racing or Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. Porsche Supercup series too, by the way. As for the filter, it’s difficult to get a more recognized oil brand than Mobil 1, though the company does seem to offer different levels of filters. This is the mid-grade model.

Pros/This crowd knows what they're doing
Cons/Amazon's compatibility tool may be off
Bottom Line/Tough to go wrong here

6. Ecogard Synthetic+ Oil Filter

Marketed as an enviro-friendly product (hey, it’s in a green box and has ‘eco’ in its name), this filter is said to be designed to maintain performance for the longer oil change intervals on vehicle engines using synthetic oil.

According to the ad copy, it will provide long-lasting engine protection with 2x the filtration capacity compared to conventional oil filters. Without going into details, they say it’s been ‘proven’ to drive up to 10k miles between oil changes. Like others on this list, they promote their solid metal end caps.

Pros/The veneer of econess, decent price
Bottom Line/Best for use with synthetic oils

7. Pennzoil Regular Spin-on Oil Filter

If there was a prize for the most traditional and plainest-looking oil filter, Pennzoil would win hands down. Not that oil filters need to be sexy, of course, save for the ones being affixed to the majority of rigs showing up at a place like Barrett-Jackson (and Bring-a-Trailer soon, we think). This filter simply flies the brand’s colors, bears its name, and is stamped with a unit number. That’s it.

Pennzoil says their filter is among the highest efficiency units on the market with efficiencies of 97 percent or higher when scrubbing particle sizes above 20 microns. They also claim a larger filtering area and advanced media to provide additional capacity. Perhaps we should run one of these things through the official TTAC band saw and find out.

Pros/Just the facts ma'am
Cons/Not as inexpensive as it used to be
Bottom Line/Sail with the Pirates of Pennzoil

8. Champion Spin-On Oil Filter

In the past, your author has associated Champion with electrical items like spark plugs and rotor caps, not oil filters. However, they seem to have cracked the nut with this one, claiming it ideal for OE recommended change intervals up to 12,000 miles when paired with synthetic oil.

Champion says their filter is made with high-strength filter media, helping it weather harsh driving conditions and longer change intervals. Marketing hyperbole aside, ratings from real-world customers – while few in number – are stellar.

Pros/Long life, plays well with synthetics
Cons/Terrifying lack of reviews
Bottom Line/It's another filter


What oil filter brand is best?

Every brand is unique in its own way and oil filters from each vendor have their pros and cons. With that in mind, it’s up to you as to which manufacturer you prefer when it is about an oil filter, and what level of efficiency does that particular piece of equipment offers.

Nevertheless, some most reliable oil filter brands are:

  • Bosch
  • Purolator
  • Mobil 1
  • Motorcraft
  • Amsoil

Also note that while buying, you must always check if the oil filter is compatible with your vehicle, and what other alternatives do you have.

Are K and N oil filters good?

Honestly, many users claim that they heard only bad things about K&N oil filters. Nevertheless, a few points that are a plus include:

  • They can be used with both traditional and synthetic oils
  • They are washable and therefore can be reused
  • They are good for off-road and racing cars

As for cons, some noteworthy factors are:

  • Filtering power is average
  • They can last only up to 11.2K kilometers to 16K kilometers
  • The efficiency level is around 85 percent at 20 microns

With the above merits and demerits, you need to be quite calculative and see which boxes the K&N oil filters check before you invest your money in them.

Are WIX oil filters good quality?

When compared, WIX oil filters are better than K&N. Some factors where WIX filters win the race include:

  • Extremely good filtering power
  • Can last for up to 24,000+ kilometers
  • Efficiency level is as high as 95 percent at 20 microns
  • Designed to be used in regular cars which makes these oil filters useful for the majority of people

As for the downside, the points include:

  • They are non-washable and must be replaced
  • Can be used only with the synthetic oil
  • Not recommended for off-road or racing cars

Keeping the above pros and cons in mind, WIX oil filters could be considered of good quality.

Are Fram oil filters bad?

Despite all the negative reviews that many people have shared on several portals, there are a few consumers who say good about Fram oil filters.

A couple of factors that make these oil filters worth it include:

  • They use resin-based end-caps that are considered to be better than those made of a metal
  • They are tested with ISO 4548-12 standard which is an industry-grade figure for testing purposes
  • Fram Tough Guard or above series filters offer up to 99 percent efficiency at 20 microns which, at the time of this writing, is only advertised by Bosch and merely a few more vendors

With those figures and facts, you can count on Fram oil filters as they are not as bad as they have been portrayed before the masses.

What oil filters have the highest efficiency of filtration?

Although every brand claims that they are the best, those that have received a decent number of positive reviews on Amazon are listed below:

This oil filter claims to have around 99.6 percent filtering efficiency.

This oil filter offers more than 99 percent filtration efficiency.

The oil filter is capable of offering up to 99 percent filtering efficiency.

Note: The products the above links redirect to are merely for references and brand comparison. You can check the efficiency percentage and pick your preferred oil filter type from any of the brands according to your vehicle.

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: Paman Aheri / Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

79 Comments on “Best Oil Filters: Engine Protections...”

  • avatar

    You forgot one.

    • 0 avatar

      Are they still in business, after the Great Toilet Paper Shortage last March?

    • 0 avatar

      Over at TTAG they’re recommending the the best oil filter as a rifle silencer.

      • 0 avatar
        The Comedian

        What is the deal with the ads for those things? 20-25% of the ads I see on YouTube are for filters that totally aren’t filters, and if you just drill a hole in the endcap you have a silencer. Conveniently made with common silencer mounting threads.

        Feels like constant attempted entrapment.

  • avatar
    Don Mynack

    Pretty sure that Honda filter is actually made by Fram. Could be a Filtech though. Motorcraft filters are made by Purolator. What I’m saying is that they are all the same.

    • 0 avatar

      While there are only a couple of manufacturers they are not all the same. It is true that if you put the same grade Wix branded filter next to the same grade Napa filter you’ll find them the same. However if you look at the 3 different grades from Napa you’ll see they are different.

      • 0 avatar
        Don Mynack

        They are all the same filtration media, with the same metal casing, and have been made that way forever. It’s far more important to avoid sludge in your engine than worry about oil filters – go OEM if the price is right otherwise go store brand or one that’s easy to change (Fram with that grippy thing or the K&N with the ratchet top thingie). Or…whatever the mechainic throws on there, which is the one that costs the least 99% of the time.

        • 0 avatar

          Not all filter media are the same.

          Some are cellulose/paper and some are now synthetic media.

        • 0 avatar

          There’s a bunch of engineers in Japan likely still laughing their butts off at where they put the filter on the NC Miata. You have about 1″ to swing your filter wrench, a crossbar directly below the filter giving you maybe 1.5″ once you unscrew it, and then the fun of trying to shimmy it out before tipping it over to spill out any trapped oil into something other than one’s driveway.

          I go with Fram for the grippy stuff and the unmissable orange case. If I was leaving the filter on for insane intervals I’d sweat the quality, but that thing’s getting thrown away every 4000 miles. The big bucks are in the Mobil 1 it’s filtering.

          • 0 avatar

            Getting the filter off the NC isn’t a big deal – once you have gotten under the car. The pain is having to jack up the car and slither under it.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe. I worked at FRAM years ago and witnessed many private label filters in production. Each of them had a different spec, i.e. amount and type of filtration paper, # of folds, etc.

      Just saying that you can order chateau brion or a hot dog at your favorite restaurant.

      Oh, and by the way, check under the hood of every new, million dollar Ferrari and you’ll see two FRAM filters. Good enough for Ferrari, good enough for me.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m no longer in the Honda parts game, but when I was, and when we came out with the ’88 Legend which took a new spin-on filter(the PL2)(the previous model Legend used a cartridge filter), I got a call from Fram in Providence RI if I could send them a couple of sample PL2’s. Not long after that, they called again, this time looking for our best price for 20,000 PL2’s. American Honda Motors wasn’t pleased with me selling filters to Fram, and doubly so because a one-time order like that would tap out most of the nine Honda PDC’s in the States, so we compromised and broke the order up into two 10,000 shipments with the second one being delayed until enough stock was built up to also handle all the Acura dealer orders concurrently. So at least in one case, when you picked up a Fram filter for your 88> Legend, you were actually getting a Honda filter.

    • 0 avatar

      You are correct. Honeywell = Fram. Same as the Subaru “blue” OEM filter. From a commodity perspective, they are all the same.

    • 0 avatar

      There are currently two OEM honda filters living on dealers’ shelves across the US, useful for every Honda-powered automobile built since the late 80s (although it’s not recommended for the S2000, and it won’t work at all on the GM-powered first gen Passport).

      The more common one is 15400-PLM-A02, the made-in-the-USA Honeywell one pictured above. They come individually shink-wrapped in 30 piece cases

      The less common one (depending on backorder statuses..statii..statecees?) is the 15400-RTA-003. It’s a made-in-Japan offering from Mahle Tennex, and comes in little white boxes inside a lager case of ten.

      There are also 15400-PLM-A01 out there, but we really don’t see them much anymore. If I recall correctly, they were made-on-Earth by Filtech.

      So, yes, while I’m going to recommend the OEM filter, there are some who swear by the Filtechs and others who like the Mahles, while most people just care that it’s blue and has the Honda logo on it.

      (not that some dealers haven’t hung some gray market blue filters on a car as sold it as the genuine article…)

  • avatar

    Actually, every u-tube video shows that Fram are the worst filters. Guys actually cut them apart. And you can tell that Purolator makes Bosch and some others

    • 0 avatar

      Funny you should mention that – I just watched one that I found (YouTuber It’s from August 2018, and he cut open NAPA Silver, STP, Purolator Red, Fram Extra Guard, and Bosch filters, and compared the components.

      The Fram was the only one with paper-based end plates for the media, and the lowest density media (least flutes), although it is rated at 97 percent efficiency and 13g of “dirt” capacity, versus 99 percent and 14g for the Bosch. He also recommends premium filters (synthetic media) with synthetic oil, for longer drain intervals.

      When I owned Toyota Previas, I used Motorcraft filters because they used a silicone anti-drainback valve, and had a longer can (more capacity).

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve seen a bunch of videos that claim Fram is worst, but their evidence is: they cut open some filters, and the Fram “looked cheapest.”

      Good engineering is finding a sufficient solution with minimal cost. I don’t need a solid-gold oil filter, and I’m not filtering oil on the Space Shuttle; I just need something that A) filters the oil sufficiently, and B) is otherwise cheap. Fram seems fine on both counts.

      If you want to compare oil filters, ideally you would fit a bunch of different brands to a fleet of identical cars, with identical oil, and identical driving, and compare longevity of the engines. The videos I’ve seen don’t do that.

      • 0 avatar

        Fair enough, however… I remember one reviewer said something about some material used in Fran that wasn’t belong in the hot engine. I have to re-watch

      • 0 avatar

        It isn’t just that it looks the cheapest it is the cheapest made and the effeciency is less than many other brands. When you look at the filter media held up to the light you’ll see the inconsistency and larger holes than you do in a better quality filter, plus there is much less media and dirt trapping pleats compared to the other brands.

        When you cut apart a used one it is not uncommon to see signs of bypass due to the paper and spring seal compared to the steel end caps you’ll find on other brands.

        Yes it still filters and it isn’t going to kill the engine immediately, however why would you pay more for a lower quality part?

        • 0 avatar

          Using cardboard (or engineered fiber) for the end caps is a no go for me so I never use Fram. Spending a few extra dollars for a filter with good silicone and proper metal end caps to prevent the oil from bypassing the filter is worth it to me. It isn’t like you change these every month so an extra $6 is a no brainer.

          • 0 avatar

            The thing is the standard Fram Extra guard is more expensive than many quality OE filters.

            I just checked Auto Zone for the PH8A the #1 selling filter for several decades. They want $11.99. Meanwhile you can buy the Ford Motorcraft FL1a which fits the same applications for $8.99. The Motorcraft is a much better built filter at 3/4 the price.

          • 0 avatar

            The “Orange Can of Death”…I used the OCOD on a crappy K car and the engine never experienced any failures in over a quarter million miles. So, while they made be made with cheaper materials they seem to work just fine.

          • 0 avatar
            CKNSLS Sierra SLT

            There is absolutely nothing wrong with these type of filters as long as they are used and the OLM (or whatever it’s called in your vehicle) is followed. You know-on the “Internet” even if a filter goes in to to full bypass (highly unlikely) for a full oil change interval it’s not like it’s going to blow up or even cause irreversible damage.

      • 0 avatar

        @stuart – agreed. You’d have to send the oil to a lab to know which filter works the best.

        Commercial operators do use lab analysis to determine engine wear and optimal oil/filter change intervals.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      The “Internet myth” that refuses to die. The Fram Ultra is one of the best filters you can buy.

  • avatar

    Me, I stick with the OEM filters (Toyota and Hyundai/Kia), and I buy them through dealers that sell parts online at a discount. I’ve noticed that Walmart now sells a limited selection of Toyota filters, but they don’t with a crush washer for the drain plug, which is something I always replace.

    • 0 avatar

      I get oil changes for under $20 synthetic including filter. And non syn under $15 – Pep boys has these deals. But lately they have less oil+filter deals. In this case, I will do what you do. In fact, for my Toyota, these inserts are way cheaper on ebay from a dealer. I get box of 10 @ $3.20 each including shipping. nice

  • avatar

    One of my uncles was head of maintenance for a chemical plant and is the best automotive troubleshooter I’ve ever run across. We were walking toward his father-in-law’s ancient pickup and he said “It changes its own oil” – I looked at him funny – he said “yeah it leaks enough that it always has fresh oil, I just change the filter periodically.” [That truck also had a factory ‘work’ light mounted under the hood – how thoughtful OEM’s were back then.]

    Oil filters – I know very little about oil filters (I usually buy the “99%” level Frams). But I am very interested in learning more from someone who knows.

    • 0 avatar

      Bob is the oil guy has a number of threads with links to more than you ever wanted to know about oil filtration.

      • 0 avatar

        @Scoutdude, thank you for the recommendation. Wow those guys are really into oil filters.

        TL;DR (recent thread and only 3 pages currently):

        They talk about a Fram Titanium which I thought at first was a joke, but it’s real (apparently exclusive to Advance Auto Parts).

        I have been at the “Tough Guard” 99% level, but may step up to “Ultra” next time around. [My new mantra is ‘don’t be cheap’ but I have my limits – the existence of the “Titanium” allows me to step up to “Ultra” and still not be buying *the* most expensive one – lol.]

        (General takeaway is don’t buy *anyone’s* super-cheap oil filter. “Silicone anti-drainback valve” appears to be a reasonable indicator of the nicer ones. The “Economy” vs “Standard Replacement” vs “High Performance/Heavy Duty” classifications on are illuminating.)

        • 0 avatar

          When I worked in the parts business I learned from an old-timer that most cheap oil filters, and many of the name brands, are made by Facet. They just paint them a different color, put a different label on them and drop them in a different box. That Pennzoil filter is likely the same as the house brand filter.

          The irony is no matter how well you maintain your car, some idiot will rear-end or T-bone it and it’ll end up in the wrecking yard with an excellent engine. So while fussing too much about which brand of filter is best is kind of fun and interesting, but won’t really make much of a difference when something else goes wrong, like a relative who borrows it, a water hose develops a pinhole leak, and he just keeps on driving while it’s overheating.

        • 0 avatar
          R Henry

          “Silicone anti-drainback valve” appears to be a reasonable indicator of the nicer ones.”

          Such a thing is pretty unnecessary when so many filters are mounted vertically, with open end up….that oil isn’t going to drain up!

          • 0 avatar

            R Henry,

            I’m not arguing for or against the need for an ADBV – I’m just saying as a customer I can use this as a break point to evaluate where that filter falls on the manufacturer’s ‘scale’ – just like if I open the hood of a vehicle and it has hood struts, that tells me it’s not the same class of vehicle that has a prop rod (in the mind of the OEM).

            But since you bring it up, this way to the rabbit hole:

            There’s more, but that is a good start.

            It seems to be more about the oil in the galleries above the filter. Orientation of the filter matters, as does gravity, but the “altitude” of the filter on the engine also plays a role, along with hydrostatic pressure. (There is a whole subplot regarding backflush.)

            TL;DR: From ‘Sayjac’ – “The adbv does more than just hold oil in the filter, it also holds oil in the oil galleries leading to the filter also helping prevent or reduce a dry start condition. So even filters with a thread end up orientation can require an adbv.”

            [It is interesting to note parallels between commentators on BITOG and TTAC. Smile.]

    • 0 avatar

      In July of 2020 I was going through some serious mental challenges and have completely changed my thinking on this subject. Unfortunately the latest TTAC methodology recycles product comments from the past, thereby threatening to drag me back into old [and so very destructive] thought patterns. My therapist says this is almost certainly going to cause some yuge issues for me. (Maybe I can sue VerticalScope?)

  • avatar

    Maybe I’m a moron but I’ve kinda come to be of the mindset:

    Change the oil and filter at least on automaker schedule or earlier. Use their specified oil standards and weights, and the brand of oil and filter don’t really matter.

    This will get you a lot farther than all the Joe’s out there changing their oil every 50,000 miles, or never, but when they finally do they use the BEST filter and oil on the market.

    In all my years just keeping up on maintenance and fluid flushes has kept all my cars mechanically excellent and purring like a kitten for hundreds of thousands of very troublefree miles.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Jerome10–No you are not an idiot that is exactly what you should do. Stick with the manufacturers recommended weight and if it specifies synthetics then stick with synthetics. The brand of filter doesn’t matter as much as long as you stick with a routine. One exception is that if you have a turbo engine do not go over 5k miles–turbo engines get hot and you should not take a chance going 10k miles between oil changes regardless of what type of oil or filter.

  • avatar

    Over on BITOG, where the OCD folks obsess over minutia like this, they used to call Fram the “orange can of death”. And I used to snark at them asking since Frams seem to be used everywhere, why America’s roads weren’t lined with dead cars, or America’s pick-a-parts predominately full of Fram filter equipped stuff.

    • 0 avatar

      “The Orange Can of Death” was used almost exclusively by me in my K car back then and it lasted over a quarter million miles with no lubrication induced failures of any kind.

      How horrible were they really? The local mechanic used to install a generic white can labeled “Group 7″…at a cost to them for less than a buck…

      Does anybody really experience lubrication-related failures anymore other than the occasional outliers?

  • avatar

    Things change every 10-15 years in the automotive oil filter world. Years ago, Mobil 1 synthetic oil filter made by Champion labs was the best with Purolator being a close second. Honda had two filters, one made by Champion labs ( great filter) the other made by Fram…not so good. Of course, at that time, Fran was the orange can of death. Fast forward a few years, companies get bought out, they go out of business..etc. Now Fram Ultra is one of the best filters out there, NAPA good as well, Mobil1 just so-so, Purolator kind of fell out of favor. I’ve been following Bob is the Oil Guy for about 15 years now and that seems to be the new trend. I use either OEM Toyota for my Corolla ( 10,000 mile intervale, simple engine) and Fram Ultra for my wife’s Pilot ( 8500-10,000 mile interval). I used to buy Mobil 1 back in the day but not I stick to Fram Ultra. The Ultra is good for 20,000 miles. Ocassional I use the Top Sider and suck the oil out at 10,000 miles and keep the filter in place. Yeah, I know blasphemy. Well, the Pilot with the cylinder deactivation of death is going strong at 220,000 miles.

    • 0 avatar

      Why would anyone that’s that anal about the oil filter use anything but a full synthetic oil? For one, it encourages 10,000+ mile oil change intervals, turbos, no matter.

      For me a full synthetic oil encourages 50,000 mile intervals since my 4.6 V8 (16 valve) is rock solid, overbuilt, found everywhere if I’m wrong/mistaken, and (a used 4.6) was likely over-serviced at less than every 5,000 miles.

      • 0 avatar

        Because even the synthetics use up their additives when you drive and that can cause damage as well. It isn’t just the base stock that goes bad. Each engine and car is different and driven differently. Mom and pop that drive 3 miles at a time everyday will have to change more often mileage wise than the guy with a highway commute of 40 miles each way.

        • 0 avatar

          So why not run a full synthetic oil anyway? It not like they giving regular oil away. It’s funny though (to me only I guess) I changed my oil and (cheap) filter at 45K mi 2 months ago (from insane stir crazy) and couldn’t get a reading on the dipstick, (I had to bring it out to bright light), the oil was too clear. At first I “thought” WTF??

      • 0 avatar

        The truth about 20,000 mile oil changes:


        I go by the adage: “Oil is cheaper than an engine”

  • avatar

    While my current EV doesn’t have an oil filter or changes, that might not be the case forever. Apparently, the Model Y has filters on its transmission. Not sure if they have to be changed though.

  • avatar

    Seriously? You put Fram in 2nd?

    First you do the “best drills from Stanley Black & Decker” and now you do “The best filters from Fram”.

    These paid ads have really jumped the shark.

  • avatar
    john q public

    It really is about the filters efficiency rating at what microns. I never have trusted the Ecore style for longer oil changes (8to10k plus) but have no proof they fail either though. Also you have to watch if the filter has a manufacturer change at some point, that can change everything. I’m not sure if Motorcraft has a fit for the Honda, but always has been a quality filter especially for the price. They used to fix the Fords 4.6’s start up knock, by using an original Motorcraft filter… Long Live IC engines!!!

  • avatar

    TCW way after the fact: I’ve used Fram in all my vehicles since 1975 with each one leaving my possession with 275,000 miles+ (one at over 400K) and no oil related issues. I usually use their middle grade filter although I’ll cheap out on the lower grade – and sometimes go up a notch. I change the filter every oil change cause it makes sense to me to do so. In the research I’ve done on oil itself the common thought is blends=5K, full=10k. I choose to change at 5K so I don’t bother with full synthetic. It feels like throwing money away. Some may reply that using Fram should feel the same. To each his/her own – no worries. My youngest brother used full when it first came out (Mobil 1) and changed every 2K – the car was a Shelby Charger GLH with the turbo. I thought he was a little overboard, but it was his car so who was I to challenge his choice. That is what it comes down to on some aspects of this whole topic. Use what works with proven longevity by your own experience. Expert recommendations are just that – valuable but not the last word. I find it more valuable on what to avoid than on what’s the best. Agree with many and would guess that many filter brands are made by the same manufacturer and private labeled so not a significant amount of difference given the same “grade” level.

  • avatar

    IMO the knocking of Fram filters comes mostly from an actual incident of 30 yrs ago. A production run of the threaded end of the filter for a, then new, motorcycle had threads that were slightly oversize. With the production tolerance on the threaded boss on the engine, there was sometimes insufficient thread engagement. The filter could move enough so the seal was no longer working. So most of the engine’s oil leaked out. Since this was ahead of the front tire some riders crashed along with others that were following. This problem mostly showed up in racing where the engine was operated at high RPM continuously.
    Most racing organizations in the USA prohibited ALL Fram oil filters. Fram fixed the problem and recalled all the unsold potential problem filters. IDR if there were any injuries/lawsuits/settlements.
    There was no internet at the time, but the rumor mill worked in a similar fashion. Many letters to motorcycle publications proclaimed that all Fram filters were junk. With no actual evidence other than the failure of one part number.
    I worked in the vehicle repair business for more than 30 years. The only problems I saw with oil filters were due to installation errors; Wrong filter, Not tightened enough, Not removing the gasket that stuck to the engine from the previous filter, and so on.
    There was, not sure if it is still around in some form, a website by a guy that did a lot of work and spent some money to research new oil filters. At the time, 15-20 yrs ago, there were basically 3 makers of 90% of the oil filters sold in the USA. Fram, Champion Labs, and I don’t recall the 3rd. There were photos of the filters, outside and cut open, showing the only difference was the color and labeling. The various brands, very proud of their “unique and special” filters chased the guy around the net for a while. Not sure if I’m interested to look for the site again.
    The question people have to ask is, do they think a serious company would put out a product that could ruin an engine? Today’s engines are worth many thousands of $$$. If the filters were failing and leading to engine failure it would be figured out pretty soon. Then the oil filter “brand” would be paying a lot of money.

    • 0 avatar

      Correct there are only 3 or 4 companies making filters and just slapping a label on them. Thus the differences between brands is nothing other then who they sponsor at the race track.

      I use Mobil 1 or Wix, no problems in all my years of driving. I’ve seen some that add a 3/4″ drive to the bottom which allows you to tighten or loosen with a ratchet vs trying to find the right filter wrench. Many vehicles are packaged so tightly that getting your hands around the filter isn’t that easy.

      I’ve never bought a filter based on price. If a filter I trust was twice as expensive I’d still buy it. Anything that cost less then a full tank of gas (IE <$50) is not worth pinching pennies over. Worse case an oil change is a twice a year maintenance cost thus your are looking at tenths of a penny per mile for a filter… thus no reason so cheap out.

  • avatar

    I always have been using Honda oil filters but now I have decided to try a new oil filter. Most of the filters look same in structure and looks. I am very confused about picking the new one. Although i have gone through they have given valuable information. But can you also guide me to pick the best oil filter for my Honda Accord 2009?

  • avatar

    Is Wix no longer in the picture?

    • 0 avatar

      Half of those filters above are made by purolator, including WIX, Bosch, Penzoil.. And Fram… actually when people take Fram apart, the verdict is – this has nothing to do in my engine

  • avatar

    Amsoil and NAPA Platinum, hands down

  • avatar

    I find many comments here seem to be based on anecdotal evidence, or more likely the result of years of marketing prowess from manufacturers.
    For years I have been sending oil samples to Blackstone Labs for a variety of vehicles – trucks, cars, motorcycles. In addition to the usual analysis results, you can pay a bit extra for a particle count analysis. It comes back as a standard ISO code.
    In addition, my two Chev trucks have an oil pressure gauge and oil life monitor (which is a fantastic invention). I notice the pressure drop start to increase typically around 25% on the OLM, but mothing serious. By 5% left on the OLM, the pressure drop is noticeable but still not too bad. It is important to keep revs down until the oil has warmed up, particularly when it is -40 outside !
    The conclusion I have come to is to stick with OEM filters.
    I was quite surprised when I used a particular oil filter which shall remain nameless (but has a 1 inch nut on the end) as my 5.3L chev engine is tight between the filter and crankcase. The particle count came back as unable to do as it was too dirty.
    So for me, OEM filters and Mobil 1, or Dexos for a newer GM (which I suspect is just Mobil 1 anyways, but I have no evidence).
    And yes, I run my vehicles down to less than 5% on the oil life monitor. Repeated oil analysis shows the oil still has life left even at this reading (the OEM does have a safety factor built in).

  • avatar

    This subject is largely religion, not science. If you want your engine to last, focus on the oil itself: use an oil of the appropriate weight and change it often enough that it degrades minimally (as determined by analysis if you like). If you do that, the filter is really not going to make much difference at all.

  • avatar

    Oil filters won’t be going away in the EV era. Tesla has started using them to filter gearbox oil:

  • avatar

    Why bother splitting hairs? 8 years from now it’ll be in a junkyard and someone will score (!) a sweet “like new” engine thanks to your overly anal service regiment.

    • 0 avatar

      8 years?? My personal vehicles are currently 26, 18 and 16 years young. (My wife’s SUV is only 11 years old – because I spoil her.)

      Current U.S. fleet average is 12.1 years:

      [All figures subject to revision when this comment gets reposted over and over for the next 60 months.]

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    After thrashing about for decades with different filters and oils, now I just use the Walmart brand Supertech filters and synthetic oil every 5000 miles in my one remaining ICE.

    My anecdotal evidence says that going cheap has made no difference in oil consumption, performance, or fuel economy.

    For me, it’s just as important to change ATF, which I do every 25k miles.

    I don’t miss the oil change hassle in my EV. The only fluid my car has needed in 28k miles are 2 gallons of window wash fluid.

  • avatar

    Every single one of these comparisons, and almost the entirety of the Bob is the Oil Guy site is nothing more than opinion based on visual appearance with no supporting engineering or testing evidence to back it up.

    When I was a field service tech, I changed hundreds of filters yearly, ranging from Fram, to Wix, to Baldwin to Kralinator, to Mann. Some were heavier than others. Some were far more expensive. Neither characteristic was any indicator of quality, and no Fram equipped piece of machinery ever had an oil or filter related failure. I always look at these comparisons as `These Are the Companies Who Bought The Most Advertising` this month.

    I had to laugh when I looked at the oil change reminder sticker on my windshield today. I was just over the 5000km recommended interval. My oil life monitor says I still have 69% oil life left. What a racket.

  • avatar

    The author said:

    ‘What definitely does require a filter is the oiling system on your car’s engine.”

    Perhaps you are not old enough to remember air-cooled Volkswagens which had only a rather coarse screen, and no filter.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      The air-cooled VWs had a 3,000 mile oil change interval as well, and you were not supposed to use multigrade oil in them. I used 40-weight in my slightly hopped-up engine in the summer, when oil temperatures routinely hit about 300 degrees F. In the winter, I shifted to 30-weight. I also had installed actual oil pressure and temperature gauges.

  • avatar
    DOHC 106

    Fram is my go to oil filter for my older vehicles. No issues.

  • avatar

    My Suzuki DRZ400 SM has a standard every 6,000 km oil change interval but the owners manual states to change the oil filter every other oil change. I pop in a filter every time. Anyone else ever run across that sort of recommendation?

  • avatar

    I try to use OEM, nowadays you can find them for the same price as aftermarket and I assume the filters that come from the factory were vettted by the engineers.

    I do remember specifically owning a Volvo 240 and several “experts” warned me to ONLY use the OEM (Mann) because it supposedly had a unique design for how it was mounted and that the wrong aftermarket filter could have real oil issues.

  • avatar

    Changing the oil and filter on a routine basis is the key irregardless of the brand of filter.

  • avatar
    Joe K

    Fram? Seriously?
    Fram when hey make a filter to a mfg spec for OE labeling and use ma be acceptable.
    Fram under its own label, from everything ive seen and read (automotive engineer here) I wouldnt use on a Yugo.

    And no WIX?

  • avatar

    Second the notion for Super Tech branded, Walmart filters and oil. Been using them for years now. However, they’ve reduced the stock, so Walmart no longer offers a filter sized for my 4-cylinder Equinox.

    Had to go with the orange can of death, the only fit they had in stock.

  • avatar
    Polka King

    This list is dumb as hell. Number one is Honda OEM because it looks nice on the engine? Fram despite all the autopsies and evidence against? No NAPA Gold, which is very highly regarded among car people, none of whom you apparently know?

  • avatar

    Speaking of oil additives [sorry, is this a tangent?]:

    My nephew stopped by with his amazing GMT800 pickup this afternoon to confirm that a front wheel bearing is needed (270,000 miles, about time). I showed him my range of ‘approved’ and ‘under test’ oil additives, and explained that many people think that the whole additive category is useless snake oil. “So listen carefully with both ears,” said I.

    Had him start the truck and leave it running. We both leaned under the hood to get away from the wind and I slowly added a well-shaken can of “RESTORE” to the crankcase. The change in sound was sudden and conspicuous. He heard it too (so I’m not crazy). Science!

    [Then I ordered two more cans – I don’t like to run out of that one.]

  • avatar

    Seriously – oil filters are great at one thing – filtering oil, which is what you want but the idea of an extended change interval for your filter is total BS!

    Why would anyone want to keep in the oil circulation stream crap that’s trapped in the filter potentially coming back into play if it escapes the filter media for any longer than you have to is beyond me – never mind 10K or greater!

    Common sense alone would tell you to get a new filter every time you change your oil so having an oil change interval of 3/4/5K and a 10/15K filter means that your filter ends up holding 3/4/5 times as much crap as a regular filter all that time filtering worse over it’s extended lifetime vs a cheaper regular filter if you change your oil every 3k and keep the filter.

    Now about these synthetic oils that have 10K lives or greater – thing is, oil gets used up in everyday use, and whilst there may be a crap ton of detergents in the oil to keep the sludge liquidy, the oil itself starts working harder to keep all that crap carrying it through your block itself – so there’s a double whammy happening here for folks who buy into this idea of an extended life filter

    1) your oil filter could potentially hold 3 times as much crap as a regular filter all the whilst filtering more poorly as it fills up – and the potential for all that filtered crap to escape through failure back into your engine exists!

    2) your long life oil is carrying way more crap in it because it’s in use longer and it’s doing its job way worse than oil that gets changed every 5k because your engine is still dirtying it the same way whether your oil gets changed every 5k or not but the oil still has to work for that extended interval anyways so your saddling the oil will more crap itself to carry over that extended interval and

    3) The fact is that the oil and the filter work against one another over time – the oil tries to hold the crap in suspension and the filter tries to take it out but since they’re both stuck for 10 or 15k they’re working harder against one another the whole time as guess what – your filter is also filtering out the oil additives that were added to keep that oil running for that extended interval as well the crap in suspension making the oil worse, and plugging itself in the process so you end up with a filter that’s not filtering as it ages and oil that not getting cleaned properly with 3 times as much exposure as it’s staying in 3 x longer with poorer lubrication properties for a longer in use interval = bad engine life.

    Your so SOL buddy if you buy into this idea- and why did you do this? to save money on an oil change??

    At the end of the day, changing your filter EVERY OIL change is more important than the filter itself and by extension, changing your oil with the filter at the manufacturer interval (or as recommended by the on board computer diagnostics) is the way to go – paying for an extended life filter that’s essentially NOT filtering at the end of it’s life over a long oil change interval is idiocy at it’s best, and to buy the idea that your oil can somehow last 10K or whatever is truly sucking at the ballsack of marketing ignoring reality.

    A cheapo filter for me with regular synthetic oil wins vs. overpriced long life filter and more expensive long life synthetic oil.

    A longer life filter and an extended interval oil can coexist happily if you change one maybe, preferably the filter and top up the oil but no way if both are kept for a longer service interval.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.