FRAM (filter)

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Headquarters ,
United States

FRAM is a brand of aftermarket automotive products known primarily for their oil filters. Other products sold under the FRAM brand name include air filters, fuel filters, PCV valves, and similar products, almost all of which use the trademarked orange color. The majority of FRAM filters are sold in the aftermarket, however, the filters are available in the OE markets where they are purchased by major auto manufacturers.

The brand is noted for its trademarked bright orange color, its black "SureGrip" coating on the filter dome, and for its famous marketing slogan, "You can pay me now, or pay me later", which is usually presented as being uttered in its advertising by an auto mechanic, who is explaining to his customer that he can either pay a small sum now for the replacement of oil and filter or a far larger sum later for the replacement of the vehicle's engine.


In 1932, the chemists Frederick Franklin and T. Edward Aldham, both of Providence, Rhode Island, invented an easily replaceable oil filtering element in their laboratory. Sources claim the brand name was inspired in the name of the Fram, a ship used in expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic, as the name translates to “forward”. FRAM was later incorporated in 1934. FRAM is one of the major brands of aftermarket automotive oil filters in the United States and Canada.

The FRAM Corporation was bought by the Bendix Corporation in 1967. Then FRAM was part of Honeywell's "Consumer Products Group" (CPG) until 2011. FRAM Group is now owned by Rank Group.[1] FRAM Group consists of two businesses: Autolite and FRAM Filtration.

Television commercials

Fram became known for its marketing slogan, "You can pay me now, or pay me later", which is usually uttered in its television commercials by an auto mechanic, who explains to his customer that he can either pay a small sum now for the replacement of oil and filter or a far larger sum later for the replacement of the vehicle's engine. American actor Walter Mathews was cast as the first, original mechanic for the Fram television advertising campaign.[2]

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, racing greats Richard Petty, Roger Penske, Dan Gurney, Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins, and "Big Daddy" Don Garlits were spokespersons for FRAM in numerous printed ads.

In the mid-1950s, FRAM teamed up with artist James Bingham who created some pictorials of American scenery and vacation spots. There was also a "Sightseeing with the Swayzes through Vacationland America" series of booklets starring John Cameron Swayze as he and his family traveled North America in their FRAM-filter-outfitted car. The 1940s and '50s are host to a great number of vintage FRAM advertising pieces sought after by collectors.


Fram filters are sold in a variety of sizes to fit most vehicles currently being driven in the United States, and are marketed under many product lines for both oil and air filters. FRAM tests their products at the "FRAM Proving Grounds" engineering test lab located in Perrysburg, Ohio.

Oil filters

Assortment of Fram oil filters
  • Core – used solely at Walmart Tire & Lube Express, not normally available for public sale.
  • Extra Guard – features cellulose and glass blended media and a nitrile anti-drain back valve (ADV) for a recommended 5,000 mi (8,000 km) change interval [3]. Starting at the end of 2017, several part numbers have started to appear with an orange silicone ADV
  • Tough Guard – featuring a synthetic blend media and a silicone anti-drain back valve for a recommended 10,000 mi (16,000 km) change interval [4].
  • Ultra – featuring a dual layer synthetic media with mesh wire backing and a silicone anti-drain back valve for a recommended 20,000 mi (32,000 km) interval [5] (recently updated from a 15,000 mi (24,000 km) interval).
  • Synthetic – (Available in Canada only) 16,000 km (9,900 mi) change intervals.
  • Racing/High performance; High pressure by-pass valves and canister shells,High volume low restriction filtering media
  • FRAM TRT – heavy duty fleet oil filter with a metered additive package that vastly extends oil filter change intervals.

Discontinued oil filters

  • Double Guard – PTFE impregnated
  • Extended Guard – 10,000-mile filter for the longer oil change intervals (when used with synthetic oil) (Replaced by Ultra)
  • High Mileage – for cars with over 75,000 miles. It incorporates a time release additive gel that mixes with the oil, otherwise same as the Extra Guard [6]. This filter is no longer being produced as of 2018, although there may still be stock in stores and online.

Air filters

  • Extra Life
  • Tough Guard – for tough driving conditions

Discontinued air filters

  • AirHog High Performance – improved design of K&N's re-usable air filter
  • Boost – cold air intake systems
  • Platinum Premium – Same as the Tough Guard (sold solely at Canadian Tire in Canada only)
  • Washable – reusable air filter, designed to be washed 20 times

Cabin air filters

  • Fresh Breeze – cabin filter that uses Arm & Hammer baking soda and activated carbon to absorb odors.

Fuel filters

  • Fuel filters (gas, diesel, ethanol)
  • Fuel/water separators
  • Water coalescors
  • Fuel station pump filters

Other products

  • Filter fleet kits (HD)
  • Engine oil analysis kits
  • SureDrain – drain valve with hose that connected to the engine's oil pan for simple/clean drain (Discontinued)
  • Transmission filter and filter kits
  • PCV valve
  • FRAM Full Synthetic Oil 5W-30 & 10W-30 (Produced by Phillips66)
  • FRAM Filter Wrench (Produced by Stride Tool)

Racing sponsors

FRAM from the early days in Rhode Island worked with some of the large Automobile Dealerships in the state such as Tasca Ford, Norwood Chevrolet, Hurd Chrysler-Plymouth, Scuncio Chevrolet, and J.S. Inskip Motors which all had large Motor Racing programs that ran cars in the SCCA and the NHRA. FRAM also worked with many of the early Race Engineering Companies in the Northeast. One of its longest relationships was with the Rhode Island-based Competition Engineering and it backed their Race Team from the early 1950s until FRAM was sold to Bendix in 1967. Because of their early relationship, Competition Engineering uses FRAM Filters and Autolite Spark Plugs to this day. FRAM has backed NHRA drag racing drivers Cory McClenathan, Rhonda Hartman, John Force, and Spencer Massey, and, more recently, off-road sensation Brian Deegan.[7]


  1. ^ Dottie Hanan Smith (1 Feb 2011). "Rank Group to Acquire Honeywell Automotive Products Business". Automotive Discovery. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
  2. ^ "Character actor Walter Mathews dies, Appeared on TV shows including 'Murder, She Wrote'". Variety. 2012-05-06. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  3. ^ "EXTRA GUARD® Oil Filters & How to Install". FRAM. Retrieved 2018-09-02.
  4. ^ "TOUGH GUARD® Oil Filters & How to Install". FRAM. Retrieved 2018-09-02.
  5. ^ "ULTRA SYNTHETIC® Oil Filters & How to Install". FRAM. Retrieved 2018-09-02.
  6. ^ "Oil Filters: Extra Guard, Tough Guard & Ultra Synthetic". FRAM. Retrieved 2018-09-02.
  7. ^ The Motorsports Report

External links

  • Official website
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