There are many good oil filters for your car or truck. There are also bad oil filters that should be avoided. What are the worst oil filter brands – the oil filter brands to avoid?
The oil filter brands that you need to avoid are the following:
- Fram Oil Filters
- Frantz Oil Filters
- Supertech Oil Filters
- Manufacturer Brands of Oil Filters
- Motorcraft Oil Filters
Based on car owners’ actual testimonies, these brands could not do what they are supposed to do – clean and filter the engine oil before it circulates inside the engine. So, they can’t protect car engines from impurities that can damage the engine’s cylinders, pistons, and other delicate components.
Read on to learn more about the oil filter brands that you should avoid, why you need to stay away from them, and other information related to this topic.
Also, note that this list of oil filters to avoid is this author’s opinion. Some authors have disagreed with this list, instead favoring oil filters such as Fram, Supertech, and Motorcraft.
Oil Filter Brands to Avoid
Many car owners are not fully aware of the importance of the oil filter in their cars. Most of them buy a particular oil filter because it is cheap. They don’t know that the oil filter plays a vital role in keeping their car engine in tip-top shape.
If you want your engine to feel smooth, there should be very minimum friction between all the mechanical parts that comprise the engine. This is the function of the engine oil. Over time, the oil will get dirty. This will increase the friction between the parts of the engine.
That’s the reason why you need a good oil filter. It will filter out all the impurities and keep the oil clean.
There is a great difference between a good filter and a cheap filter. It is not just the price. The greatest difference is how they fulfill their functions. A filter can only perform its work efficiently if made of quality parts and built to last. The worst oil filter brand can’t do this work.
The oil filter brands you need to avoid are made of flimsy materials. Their build quality is not as strong as the more expensive filters. These cheap filters allow unfiltered engine oil to circulate inside the engine, causing damage to its delicate parts.
Based on the actual testimonies of car owners, here are the oil filter brands that you should never use in your car or truck.
1. Fram Oil Filters
Fram is famous for its low-cost filter products typically available at your local car parts store. A division of Allied Signal originally made these filters. Honeywell has manufactured them since Honeywell acquired Allied Signal in 2011.
A car owner testifies that they bought a Fram oil filter, installed it, and started the engine. Immediately, they heard, in their own words, a horrendous sound of severe metallic grinding. But the sound quickly died down.
When they started the engine the next day, they heard the same horrifying sound. It’s the same thing day after day, and they start their car every time. They thought that there was not enough engine oil inside the engine.
It turned out that the Fram filter was defective right out of the box. This car owner saw that it does not have a drain back valve. This valve should prevent the oil from flowing back. Since there is no valve in the filter, the oil keeps flowing back.
So, every time they started the car, it always had a dry start. Whenever they turned the ignition key, there was no oil in the engine for a few seconds. That’s the reason for the worrisome metallic grinding sound from the engine.
Fortunately, this condition did not cause any serious damage to the engine. They quickly changed the oil filter to another brand. But they wonder: if this obvious defect has escaped the manufacturer’s notice, what other defects in the oil filter were they not able to see?
Other reasons why Fram oil filters are one of the top oil filter brands to avoid are as follows:
- The pleated filter media is thin, and there’s not enough of it in the filter canister.
- Manufacturers made the drain-back valve out of a cheap stamped metal and not a spring.
- Producers designed the outer wall media to be thinner than other filter brands.
- The seam of the media has no metal clip and can split open, allowing unfiltered oil to circulate inside the engine.
- Fram oil filter has cardboard as end caps.
No less than an oil filter production line engineer employed at an Allied Signal Fram factory had volunteered information about this oil filter’s unsatisfactory features. This engineer said that Fram did not apply any quality control and volunteered the following information:
- Several Fram designs block and goes to bypass after filtering only a few contaminants.
- There are pleat designs that are so packed and tight against the center tube. In just a short time, they will be blocked off with impurities.
- There’s a problem in threading the filter base. Poorly formed threads have strands of metal left behind.
- Paper end discs that are not correctly centered on the elements and leakage paths will often develop.
- The paper filtration media is of poor quality.
- The process of curing the paper resin was inconsistent. Elements can range from being visibly burned to white.
2. Frantz Oil Filters
One car owner swears that there is an oil filter that they will never use – Frantz. They believe that it is just an aftermarket filter. This filter uses two oil lines and a canister that has a replaceable element in it. The car owner says that any engine manufacturer does not approve of this oil filter.
The Frantz Filter Company initially makes Frantz oil filters. John Frantz founded this company in 1953. It initially focused on products and processes for cleaning automotive oil. In 2014, Lubrication Specialists, Inc., a company that produces Hot Shot’s Secret products that focus on specific solutions to diesel engine problems, acquired Frantz Filters.
3. Supertech Oil Filters
Another oil filter brand you should avoid using is Supertech. Supertech produces Supertech oil. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. established this brand when it partnered with Wix, a well-known manufacturer of oil filters. Supertech’s oil filters used paper cover plates, although they also produce enhanced versions with steel cover plates.
The Supertech oil filter is more or less at the same level as Fram as far as the product’s quality is concerned. Their oil filters are built and made of almost the same elements. If you were to open either of these two filters and examine their insides, you would find similar, if not precisely, the same parts and the same materials and design.
Walmart used its economic clout to promote Supertech. Wix provided the oil filter engineering aspect. Walmart ventured into the oil filter market as a response to the entry of Bosch into the automotive market.
After Bosch announced that it was venturing into the car market, Walmart dropped its distributorship of Purolator, another oil filter brand. It started producing Supertech with the help of Wix. This business partnership began only about ten and a half years ago.
4. Manufacturer Brands of Oil Filters
Car owners swear that they would never use oil filters that carmakers themselves manufactured. For instance, Ford and Suzuki use the oil filters that they make in their car models.
Some car owners won’t use manufacturer brands of oil filters because they are overpriced and are barely adequate for the job they are supposed to do. These filters were made by an oil filter manufacturer who offered the lowest bid. Then car manufacturers stamp their brand name on the filter canisters.
5. Motorcraft Oil Filters
Based on its official website, Motorcraft is a registered trademark of the Ford Motor Company. That means all Motorcraft oil filters are made under the management of Ford. In other words, this filter is a Ford product.
One customer related their experience buying a Motorcraft oil filter at a local auto parts center. They noticed that the boxes on the shelves looked like they’d already been handled, with some of the boxes visibly opened.
They picked up the nicest-looking box. Immediately, they noticed some rattling sounds coming from inside the box. Upon opening the box, they saw the plastic cage inside the filter rattling from end to end.
They also noticed that the whole oil filter tilted slightly, just like the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. The elements are not bonded. They could open the seam with just a little effort.
The filtering element showed signs of uneven heating or coating as well. The car owner believed that if they installed it in their car, it was very likely that most of the oil circulation would bypass it.
This car owner believes that the supplier could have faked the product. Or they could be overstocks or rejects that were re-stuffed together with fakes. They are wondering: could Motorcraft’s service centers be involved? These concerns and questions cause end-users to doubt the authenticity of the oil filters.
Difference Between Good and Bad Oil Filters
You need to avoid oil filter brands that are low quality because they are a waste of money. They can also cause damage to your car engine. To avoid them, you have to be aware of the difference between a good and a bad oil filter. What are the things that you need to look for?
The oil filter component that filters oil is called the media. A good oil filter will have a filter media that is typically double the media’s amount in a cheap oil filter.
When you stretch the filter media of a good oil filter, it is usually double that of the cheap filter. The more filter media there is in the filter canister, the longer and more efficient is the filtering power and vice versa.
Once the media is full, it will no longer filter the contaminants in the oil. It will result in unfiltered oil being re-circulated inside the engine. If this is not corrected, impurities will contaminate the oil and cause damage to the engine parts.
Anti-Drain Back Valve
A good filter will always have an anti-drain back valve. This valve is important because it prevents oil from draining to the motor’s bottom when your car is not running. When some amount of oil is still up there, it reduces the chances of dry starts.
Dry starts are detrimental to your engine because they result in excessive wear on the engine parts and a lack of lubrication during the first 10 to 15 seconds of engine startup. This is where most of the wear and tear of the engine occurs during its lifetime.
A good oil filter will have a better build quality than a cheap one. The filter will be heavier because its body will be thicker steel. It will have more filter media and better rubber gaskets.
Modern synthetic oil lasts up to 10,000 miles. You will need an oil filter that can handle that kind of mileage, not change oil filters often. Cheap oil filters are only good for 3,000 miles, and then you have to change them.
Conclusion: Worst Oil Filter Brands
Stay away from these brands of oil filters because they will not serve their purpose:
- Fram Oil Filters – most of these filters are built from cheap components.
- Frantz Oil Filters – this filter has a filtering media made of toilet paper.
- Supertech Oil Filters – this filter has almost the same quality as Fram filters.
- Manufacturer brands of oil filters are mostly of inferior quality and are made by suppliers and stamped with the car manufacturer’s logo.
- Motorcraft Oil Filters – these filters have inferior quality materials and build.