Let's Turn the Fram Question Around...

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Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
Having been a member at this site for over five years, I've read more FRAM threads than I care to think about. And they all pretty much say the same things -- which is OK, but still... They all seem to boil down to the Fram defenders saying that, while they may be more cheaply made, they still work fine. The un-Fram crowd (amongst which I count myself) counter by pointing out that the other filter designs are all much more robust than the Fram, and therefore, are much more durable and resistant to potentially devastating failures. Now here's the question that I want the Fram-ers to address face front, and without qualification: If I can get a Purolator, or Champion Labs (M1, KN, STP, Champion, Valuecraft, some Bosch, etc.), that is of obviously much more robust construction than the Fram, what reason remains for me to select a Fram? Even if the Fram's flimsier construction is adequately serviceable, why not get the more robust filter, just because you're getting more for your money? Maybe if you need one today, and it's the only one available, but otherwise, why?
 
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The measurement of a filter is not necessarily its robust construction. The can must be sturdy enough to permit installation and removal. And the overall construction of the filter must necessarily insure that it lasts for the design service interval with some margin of error. The key to filters is how well they filter.
 
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PA
The measure of a filter is how cheaply it can be made and how much volume can be sold so that the CEO can make a 6 figure income.
 
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New Braunfels
 Originally Posted By: wannafbody
The measure of a filter is how cheaply it can be made and how much volume can be sold so that the CEO can make a 6 figure income.
6 figures aint what it used to be I would expect at least 7
 
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Upstate NY
I haven't used Fram, aside from one purchased years ago in pre-BITOG days, since joining. If you're lazy and heading to Wal-Mart with their wall of Frams anyhow, it's easy to find the right Fram from the dozens they have on the shelf. And with the snazzy new "3x better!" label on them compared to the SuperTech's "2x better!" label, who wouldn't go with the more expensive Fram? 3x better has to come at some cost...
 
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3,059
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Columbus, Ohio
 Originally Posted By: Bryanccfshr
 Originally Posted By: wannafbody
The measure of a filter is how cheaply it can be made and how much volume can be sold so that the CEO can make a 6 figure income.
6 figures aint what it used to be I would expect at least 7
Yeah, I would say 8 based on the banking scandal. John
 
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2,371
Location
WA
 Originally Posted By: ekpolk
Now here's the question that I want the Fram-ers to address face front, and without qualification: If I can get a Purolator, or Champion Labs (M1, KN, STP, Champion, Valuecraft, some Bosch, etc.), that is of obviously much more robust construction than the Fram, what reason remains for me to select a Fram? Even if the Fram's flimsier construction is adequately serviceable, why not get the more robust filter, just because you're getting more for your money? Maybe if you need one today, and it's the only one available, but otherwise, why?
I haven't used a FRAM for probably 20 years now. But my guess is the FRAM crowd uses them for these reasons: 1) Cheaper than most filters - I think a lot of people think "an oil filter is an oil filter" ... so why spend $10 when you can spend $3. 2) Easy to get - probably more FRAM filters in more stores than any other brand. 3) Their father always used FRAM back when they were probably the better filter around ... so they use them now, not knowing the questionable construction techniques on the lower priced FRAM filters. 4) Most uses have never seen the guts of the cheaper line of FRAM filters ... and if they did, they probably wouldn't know what they were looking at anyway. 5) They look cooler than a baby puke yellow PureONE because of the orange paint (?) I do think the higher cost FRAM filters seem to be pretty decent design and construction quality. I'd probably use a high end FRAM as an option if I couldn't find a WIX, NAPA Gold or PureONE.
 

Bill in Utah

Staff member
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12,849
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UT
I agree with for the $$ the Frams are NOT the best value. But this "orange can of doom" mindset is not what this site is about. Plenty of engines going down the road with Frams on the side. For years and years. And millions and millions and billions of miles. ALL filters have problems here and there. Thinking that just because you run something other than a Fram is going to make your engine safer is just not. But, since I've been here in 2002, how many Frams have I bought? None. 2 came with a oil deal. I used them with no problems. Cut them open. And they were fine. So were my engines. But they are more expensive than the other filters out there. If they became cheaper I would start using them again. Take care, Bill
 

ekpolk

Thread starter
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Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
 Originally Posted By: SilverC6
The measurement of a filter is not necessarily its robust construction. The can must be sturdy enough to permit installation and removal. And the overall construction of the filter must necessarily insure that it lasts for the design service interval with some margin of error. The key to filters is how well they filter.
This is, in part, what I'm already saying. The point is NOT build for the sake of build. Of course, the point of a filter is to filter. The structure of the filter must ensure that is survives installation, service, and is removable. But beyond that, the question remains -- if the Fram and another brand both do the job, and the other filter is about the same price, and it's much more robustly built, why buy the Fram?
 
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440
Location
Southwestern Ontario
I haven't purchased a Fram since I got the internet in the mid 90s. I've come into possession of a couple of them when they were thrown in with the purchase of a jug of oil. I know perfectly well that they will not damage my engines. I just cannot bring myself to support a product that is inferior to most other similar products and yet is marketed as being the best.
 
Messages
549
Location
New Mexico, U.S.A.
 Originally Posted By: ekpolk
...here's the question that I want the Fram-ers to address face front, and without qualification: If I can get a Purolator, or Champion Labs (M1, KN, STP, Champion, Valuecraft, some Bosch, etc.), that is of obviously much more robust construction than the Fram, what reason remains for me to select a Fram? Even if the Fram's flimsier construction is adequately serviceable, why not get the more robust filter, just because you're getting more for your money? Maybe if you need one today, and it's the only one available, but otherwise, why?
If "more robust construction" and "adequate construction" turn in the same performance numbers, why the heck does it matter? You're not getting more bang for your buck with the more expensively constructed filter unless the additional "robustness" provides performance that the OCofD doesn't. If performance is equal, buy on price. O/T: I suspect that Fram enjoys a higher profit margin on filters than companies peddling metal endcaps. Where does that money go? Into more Fram advertising, probably. That's enough reason for me.
 
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6,918
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NH
 Originally Posted By: tropic
 Originally Posted By: ekpolk
...here's the question that I want the Fram-ers to address face front, and without qualification: If I can get a Purolator, or Champion Labs (M1, KN, STP, Champion, Valuecraft, some Bosch, etc.), that is of obviously much more robust construction than the Fram, what reason remains for me to select a Fram? Even if the Fram's flimsier construction is adequately serviceable, why not get the more robust filter, just because you're getting more for your money? Maybe if you need one today, and it's the only one available, but otherwise, why?
If "more robust construction" and "adequate construction" turn in the same performance numbers, why the heck does it matter? You're not getting more bang for your buck with the more expensively constructed filter unless the additional "robustness" provides performance that the OCofD doesn't. If performance is equal, buy on price. O/T: I suspect that Fram enjoys a higher profit margin on filters than companies peddling metal endcaps. Where does that money go? Into more Fram advertising, probably. That's enough reason for me.
I respectfully disagree strongly. IF two filters are of the same approximate price yet one is built using higher quality components and is built to a higher quality control standard, even if they filter the same new out of the box, you most definitely are getting more bang for the buck. You are also taking less of a risk. The issue is the poorly constructed Fram filter is much more prone to fail due to the cheap quality of components and the cheap construction methods used than filters built to a higher standard. This doesn't mean you have to spend $10-15+ for a Royal Purple, Amsoil, Mobil 1, K&N, etc... filter or you are risking your motor. You can spend $4-$6, which is the same approx price as a Fram, and get a quality filter that is built to a much higher quality standard. You can grab OEM's( AC, MOPAR, Motorcraft ) and the likes of Bosch, Wix, Purolator, Hastings, Bladwin, etc... for the same basic cost as a Fram. Maybe a $1 more at times. A Fram may filter as well as a Bosch, for example, brand new out of the box and when they are in brand new perfect condition. However, if the Bosch is built more solid, with better quality components, which one will do a better job long term and which one is more likely to give problems? Any person with an ounce of common sense knows the Fram is the bigger risk. I am with the OP. I just don't get the Fram lovers. I mean no disrespect by that either. I just don't understand their mindset? You can get filters that are built to a much higher quality standard for the same money( even less at times ). Those filters will do a better job long term and they are much less likely to suffer a failure( collapsed media, end cap coming off, failed ADBV, ruptured housing, etc... )so WHY in god's name would you buy a Fram? ekpolk - I don't get it either.
 
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656
Location
Portland, OR
I'd say the perfect filter is a balance of both filtering ability and flow rate. The ease of removal is important to me as well but I'm not talking about the grippy cover, I like the o ring style gasket that fram puts on honda oem filters. Who's to say that because a filter "looks better" or more "robust" that it accomplishes the primary task of balancing filtering and flow rate better than a filter that has the evil paper endcaps.
 

ekpolk

Thread starter
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Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
ryland: You're still not answering the basic question I'm raising. I did not say that the non-Frams "look better". And I didn't say that "robust" build quality equated with the filtration/flow characteristics of a given filter. You're either missing the point, or side-stepping it. The end caps aren't "evil", they're simply much, much weaker and far less rigid, than the metal variety. As pictured in the other thread, I can easily hand crush a Fram element, including its very weak centertube. Think this is an unrealistic concern? Look what happened to this "overbuilt" Amsoil filter: Many folks here downplay in-service filter failures as being so rare as to be a non-issue. Well, one such failure during an engine's life could well end the engine's life. Had that been a flimsy Fram, I'd bet it would have collapsed completely and earlier. Are you still totally comfortable with paper stabilizing your filter element? The REAL point is, considering the obviously wide range of filters whose filtration/flow characteristics are acceptable, why NOT get the filter that has obviously better build quality? Especially when some of them actually cost less, or just a few bucks more than a Fram?
 
Messages
549
Location
New Mexico, U.S.A.
 Originally Posted By: NHHEMI
 Originally Posted By: tropic
If "more robust construction" and "adequate construction" turn in the same performance numbers, why the heck does it matter? You're not getting more bang for your buck with the more expensively constructed filter unless the additional "robustness" provides performance that the OCofD doesn't. If performance is equal, buy on price. O/T: I suspect that Fram enjoys a higher profit margin on filters than companies peddling metal endcaps. Where does that money go? Into more Fram advertising, probably. That's enough reason for me.
I respectfully disagree strongly. IF two filters are of the same approximate price yet one is built using higher quality components and is built to a higher quality control standard, even if they filter the same new out of the box, you most definitely are getting more bang for the buck. You are also taking less of a risk. The issue is the poorly constructed Fram filter is much more prone to fail due to the cheap quality of components and the cheap construction methods used than filters built to a higher standard. This doesn't mean you have to spend $10-15+ for a Royal Purple, Amsoil, Mobil 1, K&N, etc... filter or you are risking your motor. You can spend $4-$6, which is the same approx price as a Fram, and get a quality filter that is built to a much higher quality standard. You can grab OEM's( AC, MOPAR, Motorcraft ) and the likes of Bosch, Wix, Purolator, Hastings, Bladwin, etc... for the same basic cost as a Fram. Maybe a $1 more at times. A Fram may filter as well as a Bosch, for example, brand new out of the box and when they are in brand new perfect condition. However, if the Bosch is built more solid, with better quality components, which one will do a better job long term and which one is more likely to give problems? Any person with an ounce of common sense knows the Fram is the bigger risk. I am with the OP. I just don't get the Fram lovers. I mean no disrespect by that either. I just don't understand their mindset? You can get filters that are built to a much higher quality standard for the same money( even less at times ). Those filters will do a better job long term and they are much less likely to suffer a failure( collapsed media, end cap coming off, failed ADBV, ruptured housing, etc... )so WHY in god's name would you buy a Fram? ekpolk - I don't get it either.
Actually, I think you might share my opinion. When I say "performance" I'm not just talking about filtration. To me reliability is an aspect of performance. A filter that performs doesn't degrade appreciably over the design service interval. ADBVs don't stop working, media doesn't detach or disintegrate, and bypass valves don't stick. I should have stated that in my post. If Fram can cheaply fabricate a filter that performs, more power to them. It's made them the king of the aftermarket oil filter industry. Considering the popularity of the product, there's a marked lack of documented or suspected failures. People use Fram and drive their cars without issue. I will posit that most of BITOG's disdain for the OCofD stems from the tinker toy internals, not from bad UOAs or stories of catastrophic failure. That said, I don't use Fram oil filters. No reason except that they're simply not worth the price. If I wanted a filter that performs like a Fram, I could buy one for a little over half the price. That's not a knock on the OCofD, it's a criticism of Fram/Honeywell for charging so [censored] much for a mediocre product.
 
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93
Location
Maryland
I don't have anything in particular against Frams. However, since there are better filters out there for about the same price I choose to buy other brands. At my local WalMart I can get a Motorcraft filter for only 10 cents more, and the MC filter is much better built and IIRC filters better than the Frams. So, when I am in a bind, and can't easily get a PureOne, I will reach for a Motorcraft.
 
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Messages
3,666
Location
Chattanooga, TN
99% of the DIY oil changing public do not care about the quality of a filter or oil they purchase, it is based solely on price and, IMO, shelf space. Fram has huge shelf space and many people either assume that is good due to one side of the aisle being devoted to the product and/or want the quickest solution staring them in the face as they enter China mart, Pep Boys etc. A similar example is a couple buying a house, they don't really care that the roof is a 50 year roof vs a 20, A Trane heat pump VS a Bryant a cheap replacement window VS a $750 one etc. They only care how long ago was it replaced. Quality does not come up. So when these people buying Frams sell their cars no one asks what kind fo oil and filter did you use, they only ask (well, if they even ask) how often did you change your oil and the more often the better, don't care if you used synthetic and extended drains (could actually be a detriment in fact) Few American car drivers care about Quality, this board is unique in that regard
 
Messages
656
Location
Portland, OR
 Originally Posted By: ekpolk
ryland: You're still not answering the basic question I'm raising. I did not say that the non-Frams "look better". And I didn't say that "robust" build quality equated with the filtration/flow characteristics of a given filter. You're either missing the point, or side-stepping it. The end caps aren't "evil", they're simply much, much weaker and far less rigid, than the metal variety. As pictured in the other thread, I can easily hand crush a Fram element, including its very weak centertube. Think this is an unrealistic concern? Look what happened to this "overbuilt" Amsoil filter: Many folks here downplay in-service filter failures as being so rare as to be a non-issue. Well, one such failure during an engine's life could well end the engine's life. Had that been a flimsy Fram, I'd bet it would have collapsed completely and earlier. Are you still totally comfortable with paper stabilizing your filter element? The REAL point is, considering the obviously wide range of filters whose filtration/flow characteristics are acceptable, why NOT get the filter that has obviously better build quality? Especially when some of them actually cost less, or just a few bucks more than a Fram?
The differance between you and I is I'm looking for something that is designed to filter my oil, not something thats designed to stop my hand from crushing it if I remove the outer can and sqeeze as hard as I can. Thats like saying sure this pc is just as fast but how will it do if I take a bat to it! Or like the stupid people who live in citys and never drive their cars off road yet feel they need to have their cars lifted and have snorkel kits just incase they do ever leave the city. I suppose your right if some small midget were to crawl under my car when I was at work and get his supprizingly strong and small midget hands around my oil filter I'm sure my fram would be done for! So I guess your filter is better because it guards against evil filter crushing midgets!
 
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