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FRAM is a brand of aftermarket automotive products known primarily for their oil filters. Other products sold under the FRAM brandname include air filters, fuel filters, PCV valves, breather element filters, 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. Another popular slogan is "Before you slam it, FRAM it".
The FRAM brand was born when the original chemists, Frederick Franklin and T. Edward Aldam, invented an easily replaceable oil filtering element in their Providence, R.I. laboratory. The name FRAM was derived from the chemists' last names—the first two letters of Fredericks's last name "Franklin", and the last two letters for Edward's last name "Aldam". Other sources claim that the brand was inspired in the name of the FRAM vessel used by Roald Amundsen and other explorers to their expeditions to the artic and antartic, because Fram means “Forward”. and moreover it's pronounced the same in many languages. Incorporated in 1934, the FRAM Corporation was formed by James Edward Bigwood with the help of Steve Wilson. Steve Wilson was the first president of the FRAM Company, and James Bigwood was the treasurer. James Bigwood chose the colors black and orange to be FRAM's colors. FRAM is one of the major brands of aftermarket automotive oil filters in the United States & Canada.
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.
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 & his family traveled North America in their FRAM-filter-outfitted car. The 1940s and 50's 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.
- Core - sold solely at WalMart's Tire & Lube Express
- Extra Guard - for everyday driving
- Tough Guard - for heavy duty or tough driving conditions and 7,500 mile change intervals
- Ultra - Featuring a fully synthetic media for a 15,000 mile change interval
- High Mileage - for cars over 75,000 miles. It incorporates a time release additive gel that mixes with the oil
- Synthetic - (Available in Canada only) 16,000 km oil filter for longer change intervals.
- 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)
- 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 (gas, diesel, ethanol)
- Fuel/water separators
- Water coalescors
- Fuel station pump filters
- 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 & filter kits
- PCV valve
- FRAM Full Synthetic Oil 5W-30 & 10W-30 (Produced by Conoco/Phillips)
- FRAM Filter Wrench (Produced by Stride Tool)
FRAM has backed NHRA drag racing drivers Cory McClenathan, Rhonda Hartman, John Force, and Spencer Massey, and, more recently, off-road sensation Brian Deegan.
- Dottie Hanan Smith (1 Feb 2011). "Rank Group to Acquire Honeywell Automotive Products Business". Automotive Discovery. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
- "Character actor Walter Mathews dies, Appeared on TV shows including 'Murder, She Wrote'". Variety Magazine. 2012-05-06. Retrieved 2012-05-12.