Oil and Filter – Refresh

Like everything else the cost of oil and filters for your vehicle is going up. One of the methods that I use to save money on oil and filters is by examining what I am buying.

Let’s start with oil, the first thing you want to look at on a house brand oil bottle is the place of manufacture. Most of the time comparing the house brand oil with national brands in this manner will allow you to determine what brand of oil the house brand actually is. As an example if you see the manufacturing location as Ashland, Kentucky, then you can safely assume that the oil in the house brand bottle is manufactured by Valvoline. Normally you will find the price of house brand oil $.50 to well over a dollar less than the national brand and it is the same exact product. If you cannot determine the brand of oil, ask some of the employees, they often know the answer.

Filters are a little different.  You want a top-quality filter, you just do not want to pay top dollars for that filter. One of the best filters on the market is called WIX. Several places that sell automotive parts carry the WIX filter as a house brand. As an example NAPA sells their Gold filter which is manufactured by WIX. The price differences are normally several dollars. But you can even get a cheaper filter pricewise that is still a high quality one. Purolator sells a filter that they call Sure One. I have opened these filters several times and the contents are very close to that of a WIX filter and you can normally find these filters not only at automotive stores but also your national discount stores in their automotive section. Instead of paying $5-$6 for a filter, I can normally get these for $2-$3.

There are also filters out there that are simply not very well constructed. Will they do the job? Certainly as long as you change them often and nothing extreme happens with engine operation. But hold on a second, in another post weren’t we trying to save some money on oil and filter changes? Well, having to change the filter often to prevent failure would defeat that idea. For the money the Purolator is probably the best bang for the dollar out there, again the construction on their Sure One is very good and you can get it just about anywhere for a good price. Stay away from off-brand, odd filters and unless you have some reason to, the ultra expensive filters are not buying you anything either. As a last word and one that I promised before – Fram is one of the worst filters made, in opening a few of them, the can metal is weak, the filter media is about 1/2 of most other filters, the pressure valve is just a piece of spring metal and the end-plates for the filter are made of cardboard and glued to the filter media.

So if you do your own vehicle service, spend a little time to investigate the products that you are buying. Take a look at house brand products and compare them to the national brands. Just remember that the house brand is not a manufacturer themselves and they contract with one of the national brands to make the product for them and put it in their packaging. That little bit of work on your part can save you some big bucks.

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