Here I was about to make fun of GM and penalize it with the award for “Stupid and Pointless Press Release of the Day”, but then I actually read the whole press release. Quite honestly, when one reads the headline “2011 Chevrolet Cruze Engines Use Eco-friendly Cartridge Oil Filter”, you kind of expect it to be filler for a boring no-news day.
What’s worse is that the first line of GM’s press release pushes the discerning enthusiast’s bullshit meter to 10.
The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze will make proper oil filter disposal and recycling easier. The Ecotec 1.4L turbo and 1.8L four-cylinder engines will use a cartridge style oil filter which is easier to recycle and service compared to the conventional steel canister-style oil filters.
Anyone who has ever done their own filter changes knows that cartridge filters are a pain in the ass. Aside from the fact that they cost more (even though they are cheaper to produce, since they don’t have a case), cartridge case lids tend to be impossible to budge, since overtightening is really easy. Since most cartridges fit into plastic reservoirs with plastic tops, there is a 100-percent chance that some doesn’t-give-a-shit grease-monkey at the Quick-E-Lube will try to budge an overtightened lid with something other than the recommended filter wrench and put a crack in it. Just ask the local Porsche Boxster owner here who pulled into my friend’s shop with no oil due to a monkey-wrench wielding Jiffy Lube employee.
Recycling canister style filters requires that the metal housing and other elements, like the rubber seal, be cut away or separated, whereas the compact cartridge style is made of only paper and plastic. Because of this, proper disposal of the oil filter is easier for recycling centers.
At this point some environmental jibber-jabber isn’t going to sway me. In fact, most Americans consider themselves environmentalists until it costs them more for something that their neighbors can’t see they are using. Oil filters fall into this bucket. And let’s face it, it’s not really that much of an incremental environmental gain.
So I’m about to go all out and blast GM for its crappy attempt to spin a cost saving decision into a positive PR message, when I finally get to this part:
Another benefit of the cartridge-style filter is that it can be changed easily and is virtually drip free from the top of the vehicle. This lessens the chance of oil dripping to the ground or driveway and possibly making its way into the water system when performing oil changes.
The housing for the cartridge-style filter is part of the engine and reused for the life of the engine. It never needs replacing. The housing also has a screw-on replaceable cap that eliminates the conventional canister-to-engine mating surface that is a potential source of leaks.
Pluck me bald and call me breezy…this is actually news. Having a cartridge filter on the TOP of the engine is a very nice touch. Obviously the hacks in the PR department have never changed their own oil, because this is by far the most important message. It’s not the environmental gains and it’s not about having a filter that is simply on top (any Ferrari owner will tell you changing a top-mounted canister filter without spilling oil is about as easy as teaching your grandfather to tune Weber carbs while speaking only in Piglatin.) The fact that it’s a top-mounted cartridge means less mess…and that’s something for which it’s worth the extra cost of the filter.
So bravo GM — way to do something positive for those who change oil. Now go shoot the person who wrote the press release and replace them with someone who understands what is important to people who buy and service your products.