Reader Question: TP Oil Filters?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply! 

Brad asks: I wanted to get your thoughts on those aftermarket filtration systems that use toilet paper as a medium. Have you had any experience with these?

My reply:  TP systems claim they save money because – IIRC – you never change the oil but rather just the roll of TP and add oil as necessary, to make up for normal consumption, etc.

The concern I would have about that – accepting for the sake of discussion the claims about the oil being effectively filtered – is the diminution over time of the additives in the oil. New/late model car engines are very “oil sensitive” and I would never use other-than-recommended type/viscosity/rating (which includes the additive package) and would adhere to the recommended change intervals to avoid problems with the engine and with the warranty.

New/late-model vehicles also often have variable cam/valve timing systems that are hydraulically (oil) powered and anything that affects pressure/volume could potentially cause expensive problems with these systems – and those problems would not be covered by the manufacturer because of owner modification of the oiling system.

It would be interesting to try out one of these systems, then have a lab evaluate the condition of the oil over time and then disassemble the engine after say 50,000 miles and check wear patterns, etc.

It may be true that TP filtration is superior to the factory cartridge/canister systems and regular full changes. But if you run this experiment, do so with the understanding that if the results aren’t good, you’ll be the one paying the bill!

. . .

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  1. The old oil is most often recycled and put to other uses. So there is no real waste of the oil. And you are right about the additives. Just like latex products go smelly after awhile due to the lack of biocide used to keep the bacteria at bay. The biocide is constantly under attack by bacteria until the biocide is all consumed, then the bacteria populate like crazy.

  2. eric, TP has all sorts of tiny particles coming off it from being cut with saws. When your oil pressure gets really low and you think you might have an engine going, you certainly might. It’s been running on less and less flow since you started using TP. If it’s so good, why can you cut open an Amsoil or other premium(or any filter for that matter)and find material not anything close to being TP? They could all have their custom cut TP for nearly nothing if that were the case. Talk about cheap filters…..

    There’s a reason filters vary in price. I’d much rather buy the most expensive filter I can get than have to replace an engine, same for oil, not the only reason I use Amsoil but one of them.

    The pickup I have now used to use a quart of oil every 3K but I drained out that extended life(sic) oil and ran some cleaner through the engine and then put Mobil 1 in it because I knew from experience it would be really nasty fast after not using synthetic. It used nearly as much Mobil 1 but once I changed to Amsoil it went about 4500 miles and used a quart. I changed it again and it doesn’t use oil, none, nada. It quietens that top end that old roller systems seem to always have.


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