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Warning on Amsoil Oil Filters in Toyota, Lexus, Pontiac Vibe

Toyota LogoAmsoil has released an announcement for anyone using their EaO9 and EaO10 Absolute Efficiency Oil Filter or planning to use one.  The most common applications are in the 1.8 liter Toyota built engine found in Toyota, Lexus, and the Pontiac Vibe.  Apparently these filters are getting clogged quickly with sludge produced by these engines.  Toyota has yet to explain the cause of the sludge development, but because these filters are of such high quality and filtering capacity, they are catching the formations and prematurely filling the filter before the rated 25,000 or one year lifespan is up.  For this reason Amsoil has released a warning, and there are now labels being adhered to the boxes, recommending this filter for the standard OEM recommended drain for these vehicles.

Other brand filters are not effected, since they do not offer these extended intervals, and in many cases, since the quality of the filter is less, it won’t capture this sludge which will continue to circulate within the engine.  If you are planning an Amsoil purchase in the near future, unless you want the higher quality of the Amsoil Filter, cost effectiveness might warrant the purchase of the Wix filter counterpart also available through Amsoil.  This is still a good quality filter which will go the standard interval.  If you already have the Amsoil Oil Filter, there is nothing wrong with this filter, in fact it is doing it’s job only too well.  If you are still looking for the best engine protection, then this filter is still for you.  If your reason for purchasing this filter was to save money in the long run by only needing one filter for the standard Amsoil recommended drain, then consider the Wix as a better cost effective choice.

There is still nothing wrong with using the Amsoil motor oil at the recommended extended drain interval, just change the filter.  The question comes to mind, if this is the findings of using a high quality synthetic in these engines, just imagine what the standard oil others are using must be doing.

This gives flashbacks to the early 2000s when Toyotas had problems with their V6 engines.  At that time there was an oil circulation issue that didn’t permit the oil to flow as freely and was literaly baking petroleum oils in 300+ degree temperatures.  Even some synthetics were having problems.  Because of this, Amsoil considered these engines Severe Duty and only recommended drains of 15,000 miles or one year.  I believe later Toyota acknoledged the design problem and may have had a recall, or at least a TSB.  This effected many V6s in both Toyota and Lexus brands.  If you have one of these, and weren’t aware of this issue, you might wish to look into it more.  Your engine may not be protected as well as it could be.

4 comments to Warning on Amsoil Oil Filters in Toyota, Lexus, Pontiac Vibe

  • Matt

    2004 Vibe I bought brand new for $20K and has under 70K… The last oil change I switched from Castrol Syntec and Fram $7 filters to AMSOIL $10/qt and AMSOIL’S $17 Oil filter… Alas. I had about 5K on the AMSOIL oil and filter and experienced sudden and total Engine failure.. It now sounds like a John Deer and barely runs.. sounds like parts are flying all around in the bottom end… Just made the last payment on it… At first I thought it was Toyota junk… now I get the Amsoil notice in the mail ( a bit too late ) that tells me to change my oil at the normal OEM intervals with their expensive oil..
    No Thanks.. I’m going back to Castrol Syntec or Mobile 1 and Fram filters… I never had a problem with other oils and cheap filters at 5-7K intervals (changing filter at 3500)

  • Hi Matt,

    Sorry I didn’t see your comment in my blog until today. For some reason I get sent notices of spam attempts that have been blocked, but not real messages needing me to look at and approve.

    Sorry to hear about the problem with your Vibe. In defense of Amsoil, the filter is working fine, it appears to be a problem with these engines from the manufacturer, and from what I understand it has something to do with a setting in the computer that is causing the sludge buildup to develop. There have been some of these cars with no problems at all, but others do have this buildup. Once Amsoil found out about it, they sent the notices out to safegaurd themselves and customers who might have one of these engines that may be affected. I personally have run my Mustang 30,000 miles on the same oil, and my minivan for around 20,0000 with one filter and oil analysis always showed the oil still good for continued use. A friend of mine who is really lazy when it comes to his oil changes has gone at least 2 years on both before deciding to get more from me. I wouldn’t recommend this unless you were doing analysis to make sure the oil is holding up and able to protect the engine, but his car is still running after 10+ years and he runs it hard.

    This doesn’t help your situation though, ultimately it sounds like something that would need to be addressed with Toyota, the manufacturer of the engine, although they will probably state that under normal drains this doesn’t happen, which seems to be the case. This just points the finger back to Amsoil.

    Without knowing any of the legalities of this, who to blame, and who is ultimately responsible, my first suggested coarse of action would be to contact Amsoil. The main Amsoil number is 715-392-7101. Ask for the Warranty Department and explain what happened. Since initially you were using Amsoil and the filters based on their recommended interval at the time, this would be my first step, and see what they can offer. From there they can probably let you know your next coarse of action, whether it be some documentation from the shop you may have taken your car to, etc. Even with the filter clogged and no longer filtering, it would go into bypass mode allowing the flow of oil to keep going inside your engine. These deposits then, instead of being caught by the filter, may have settled elsewhere causing an oil passage to get blocked up. Your mechanic could probably show proof of that, and if they have a sample of the oil still this could also be tested to determine what exactly was happening within the oil itself. Whatever the case, they could give you advice on what steps you can take to try and solve this problem.

    I hope this helps a bit.


  • Suzy

    Do you know if Amos oil is backing this up? After 7 years of running Amos in my 2003 Vibe, my engine went in February of 2009. The dealership couldn’t explain it and we had an oil sample sent to Amos for analysis because the dealer thought that there was antifreeze in it. Of course the Amos test came back normal and said it had nothing to do with the oil. No this really ticks me off, Amos should be paying for this. Also, after running 12,000 miles on the new engine we went to put Amos oil back in it and that’s when our sales rep told us that Amos said that if I was to run their oil that I would have to change the filter every 3,000 miles. A little to late! Just curious if you know if Amos is standing behind their name.

  • Hi Suzy. I’m not sure why the filter I have here for my blog sends me all the spam notices, but not when someone makes an actual comment to check. I just went into the settings and noticed your question. It may be late, but hopefully it still helps a little.

    The flaw here isn’t on the part of Amsoil. Not knowing all the details, but if the Dealership said they thought antifreeze got into the oil, this wouldn’t be a flaw in the Amsoil product or Filter. Apparently from the oil analysis results, the oil was still good and not showing any type of contamination. As for the filter being to blame, this same filter is being used in many other applications using the extended use recommendations without any problems. Also not all the Vibes and vehicles using this Toyota engine have had issues. The last I heard, it was believed to be something within the programing of the car computer, with not all the computers running the same program causing some to have the problems and others were fine. This again wouldn’t be the fault of the filter and when Amsoil found out about some of these engines having problems, they released the notice to safeguard themselves and owners should they have one of the vehicles that might be prone to the problem. I’m guessing they may have gotten some calls from other concerned owners, so my best suggestion would be to contact Amsoil directly and see what their stance would be and what steps they might recommend.

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