Wix vs. Fram Oil Filters- Finding the Best Oil Filter for your Vehicle

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What many people aren’t aware of is the performance of your engine is affected just as much by your oil filter as it is by the engine oil. In this Wix vs. Fram oil filter review, we compare what these two brands have to offer in terms of durability and filtering efficiency.

You may be wondering why the oil filter is so integral to engine performance. Well, it prevents contaminants from making their way to the engine, where they build up to form large particles that hasten wear and tear.

The most important feature of an oil filter is its filter medium. A good quality oil filter will not only prevent contaminants from reaching your engine but be able to withstand the high temperatures of the oil that’s filtering through it.

Choosing the right oil filter, therefore, is part of proper vehicle maintenance practices. So, without further adieu, let’s take a look at some of the differences that exist between Wix and Fram oil filters.

Wix vs. Fram Oil Filters- How do they differ?

End Cap

When it comes to oil filter end caps, those made of steel or metal mesh are highly preferred to those made of cardboard.

This is primarily because cardboard material eventually gets saturated with oil compromising the strength of the adhesive that acts as a seal, attaching the end cap to the filter and center steel tube. So what happens is the end cap comes loose and can no longer prevent unfiltered oil from making its way to the engine.

Now, Fram oil filters are notoriously known for their cardboard end caps. In fact, other than their X2 Extended Guard filter and Fram Ultra filter-which use a metal mesh instead, the entirety of their oil filter line up is made with cardboard end caps.

However, an argument can be made in their defense that it is the strength of the adhesive and how well the end cap bonds with the filter medium that counts and not the type of end cap material.

Wix oil filters, on the other hand, use steel end caps on their oil filters. This makes them robust and reliable when it comes to keeping unfiltered oil from entering the center steel tube and making its way to the engine.

Filter Medium

Now, the filter medium is the heart and soul of this apparatus. The porous paper, which consists of synthetic fibers, traps dirt, and other unwanted contaminants from passing through the pleats.

Wix filter mediums are coarser and have more pleats than Fram filter mediums. This makes Wix oil filters superior to Fram oil filters in two ways. One, more coarseness means it consists of more glass and polyester than its counterpart, which increases its filtering capacity, and two more pleats signify a larger surface area and greater thickness, which also feeds into maximized performance.

I should mention that though more pleats are a good thing, it has been proven not to have a direct bearing on filtration capacity. In the same breath, if the filter medium has too many creases, then its ability to filter unwanted particles is reduced.

Relief valves

Relief valves prevent the engine from starving, which can happen if you stay longer than you should before changing your oil. Basically, what happens is, the oil gets too thick to filter through the filter medium, and it collects around the filter medium.

The weight causes pressure to build up inside the filter casing, which forces the spring downward, allowing the unfiltered oil to flow through to the center steel tube where it finally makes its way to the engine.

Fram oil filters use leaf springs while Wix oil filters use coiled steel springs. The latter is more effective since it can go down further, allowing the unfiltered oil to pass through the top more easily.

Wix vs. Fram Oil Filters- Product Review

Wix Oil filters

As far as oil filter manufactures go, Wix is definitely one of my top five choices. Its main selling feature is the filter medium, the deep creases combined with high-grade synthetic fibers make it a highly efficient filtering element.

Additionally, its spring-loaded steel bypass valve prevents unfiltered oil from leaking into the center steel tube. Wix also happens to manufacture the Napa Gold oil filter, which goes to show how efficient and robust their oil filters are.

Its high-end oil filters, such as the 51372XP Xp Spin-On Lube Filter, have anti-drain back valves made of silicon rubber material, which allows them to offer longer change intervals of up to 10,000 miles. Wix oil filters also happen to be compatible with a wide range of vehicle models.

Pros

  • Their filter mediums trap even the smallest dirt particles.
  • Successfully filters synthetic oil which is known to have more contaminants
  • Can stay as long as one year (5,000-10,000 miles) before a change interval is required
  • Maintains engine performance even in rough conditions.

Cons

  • Wix oil filters are on the higher side on the price spectrum

Fram Oil Filters

Though Fram oil filters get highly criticized, their pricier oil filters are made to last. These oil filters are all about scaling up filtration, with double-layered filter mediums that are reinforced with metal mesh guaranteeing round the clock protection.

Fram’s cellulose filter medium not only consists of synthetic fibers but also resin creating an efficient filtering media. Fram cardboard end caps are made with resin, which makes them strong and allows them to stick better onto the paper filter safeguarding their strength and stability.

The silicon rubber seals can endure high oil and engine temperatures as well as any other rough conditions. As a result, it fully seals and ensures that no unfiltered oil drains back into the pan. Additionally, the Extra Guard oil filters can remove particles of 10 micron, which is on par with Amsoil and Mobil 1 oil filters. Fram oil filters are also compatible with several vehicle models.

Pros

  • Resin saturated cardboard end caps that bond better with the filter media.
  • Has a 95% filtration rate for particle size greater than 20 microns
  • The bottom of the filter casing has a texturized grip, which makes it easy to grip.
  • Works well with synthetic and non-synthetic engine oil

Cons

  • End caps are primarily made of cardboard

In conclusion

When it comes to an oil filter that can endure rough driving conditions and maximize engine performance, Wix oil filters stand out. Fram filters are also worth checking out despite the bad press, especially the high-end versions, which are durable and robust.

I prefer Wix to Fram, however, because of the extended oil filter change intervals the latest versions provide. Their fully synthetic filter media allows me to go past the recommended 3,000-mile mark.

And although Fram high-end oil filter such as the Ultra Synthetic XG16 can go up to 20,000 miles, it can only be used with synthetic oil. There are; however, steps being taken to improve and upgrade Fram oil filters. It, therefore, doesn’t matter what kind of engine oil you decide to use so long as you choose the right filter since those bad boys will filtrate anything.

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Steven Reilly
Steven Reilly is a qualified mechanic and his passion for cars goes beyond just the technical aspects. He is also an amateur racer and all round car enthusiast. When he is not driving them, he can often be found in his garage under the hood of a rare model. Steven Reilly has lost track of the number of hours he has spent setting up his fine collection of rebuilt models. He believes that cars can provide a constructive and fun opportunity to teach the youth important life skills. In line with this, he is developing a community outreach program, potentially dubbed ‘Cars for change'.

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