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346 Posts

It basically works out to some sensible service interval. ....

..... but the scale of impact is hard to quantify.
Interesting topic. Perhaps one of the most debated, or least gets lots of posts on many auto-related sites.

I've used Fram filters for over 40 years. I think I've tried just about every popular name brand made. There are several problems I see when I read about oil filter tests or oil tests:

1) All the data is not quantitative or qualitative enough for me.

2) There is insufficient data, at least that I can find, that conclusively determines the *amount* of engine wear directly attributed to particle or chemical contaminants in the oil.

3) Common engine failure directly caused by the properties of crankcase oil lubrication is almost non-existent.

Will *dirty* crankcase oil cause internal engine components to wear more than *clean* oil? YES. How much is the question.

If you change your oil and filter as prescribed/recommended by the maintenance manual for your vehicle, the percentage of owners that will experience engine failure directly attributed to the oil and filter, whatever brand you use, will be most likely non-existent.

I think the oil filter tests are similar to the argument for synthetic oil vs. petroleum-based oil...... even the top UOA (Used Oil Analysis) companies that test the oils say "it doesn't matter"....

Here's two questions and answers right off of Blackstone's website in their FAQ section.....

What's the best oil to use?
Ah, the million dollar question. We are an independent lab, so we don't make recommendations. It has been our experience that oil is oil, and either petroleum or synthetic-based oil will work well for just about any engine.


Come on, you're holding out on me. I should use synthetic, right?
Buddy, you should use whatever you want. Synthetic oil won't guarantee a longer engine life any more than my eating organic food will guarantee I'll live until I'm 90. We here at Blackstone generally use regular petroleum-based oil because honestly, it works just as well for us.


And, of course there is the infamous 1996 Consumer Reports oil tests performed on New York taxi cabs.

The anti-drain back valve spec is a joke. I have tested several oil filters on my Toy truck (I'm on my 4th Toyota truck), and after parking the truck overnight, not one filter had any oil in it in the morning. In fact, if I park the truck after it's at normal operating temp, and wait for an hour before changing oil, the oil filters are always empty. So, how long does the "anti-drain back valve" work? If one filter has a "better" anti-drain back valve, does that make it a "better" filter?

I'm sure there are oil filters that filter "better" than another, but how much better is necessary to avoid engine failure due to the oil filter capability?

I'm sure I don't know very much about oil or filter technology, so I'd appreciate anyone out there that does to enlighten me?? :grin:

That's just my worthless opinion. :D

· Registered
346 Posts
Most of the valid testing on filters by SAE publications are done on diesels. There everything naturally routes to the most sensible conclusion in terms of economics. There measured wear was statistically altered by filtering below 10um. That's not to say that 10um filtration will lower your wear in a gasoline engine. Much wear in a diesel is due to soot agglomerating into larger particles ..and causing abrasive wear. That's why they have bypass filters.

In those "the wear is what the wear is".

As far as particulate? Agreed. At least not to the point where we can make much sense if it in terms of the typical engine's life.

Paraphrased, doe it really matter if your heart was that of an 18 year old ..if your kidneys and liver are failing you at 85+ years of age?? It may to the transplant recipient to speak. That is, the chassis retirement is what ends the useful life of most engines.

Chemical issues can surely be more damaging. For every gallon of gas you burn at sea level, you produce 1.4 gallons of water. That's in zero humidity air. If you have moisture in the atmosphere, it lowers its density ..and you need to gulp more air. In any event, that water production, if not vented/vaporized, will form acids. Oil have buffers to resist acid formation ..but they have their limits.

These are typically non-factors since most people change their oil way too often. Oil is "apparently" cheap here. There are only so many things you can do with the leftovers/fractions/coproducts from fuel production. You can make plastics ..which we see people carting out of Wally's by the ton ..and you can make lubricants. Just consider them a value added co-product that you can't store or just throw away either. You'll pay $30liter for M1 in Europe and it's not due to the tax structure.

Much more true than not.

There is no magic oil. It doesn't exist. That's why you either have to justify any added cost with longevity in service or due to the severity of the service. A top tier synthetic has to carry itself in avoided costs or added service (like being in Frostbite Falls, ND @ -40) ..or it's just a waste of money.

That is, it's only when you're outside of the prescribed envelope where anything other than standard is required.

That all said, we're creatures that require distinction in all things. We hate just lining up and conforming. We have to "do it our way" and always have a love affair with our machinery. We like the notion of building better mousetraps.
I will agree that "when you're outside of the prescribed envelope where anything other than standard is required.", other factors should be considered.

For example, depending on the air quality (like Iceland's lava dust), I might want to buy a better oil filter than that dreaded FRAM filter.

Or... if I were living in very cold climate, I would be running nothing but synthetic oils and lubricants. Why? Simply because synthetic oil seems to work better (flows easier) at very temperatures than petroleum-based oils. Would I be reducing my "wear" factor? I don't know, but I know I'd "feel" better about using synthetics.

With that said, I'd love to see valid testing comparisons performed on the daily drivers in South Dakota vs Southern California to determine if, in fact, synthetic oil produces greater longevity in engine life because of its flow charactistics in very low ambient temperatures.

But, I don't think I'll see any test data.... mostly just the typical marketing hype. :smirk:

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346 Posts
..So, I don't think you can find an argument here ...if that's what you're looking for :D

Nope, not looking to get into a protracted debate, I am just always fascinated by the amount of text written (lots of marketing hype and lots of opinions) vs. any actual certified test data presented. :grin:

I certainly don't want to, in any way, discount peoples experiences, they do have meaning and relevance. My "experience" tells me that Toyota makes the best vehicles I've ever owned, and my first choice in passenger car tires will be Michelin. That doesn't mean much to a Ford and BFG lover. :p
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