Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Can you add a different brand of motor oil to your engine?

Topping off with a different brand of oil is ok

Adding a different brand of motor oil to your engine when it’s low on oil is generally safe and will not cause any immediate harm to your engine. In most cases, it is acceptable to mix different brands of motor oil, as long as the oils have the same viscosity (e.g., both are 5W-30) and meet the required specifications for your vehicle. However, there are some important considerations to keep in mind:

You can add a different brand oil to your engine as long as it’s the same viscosity

Ensure that the different motor oils have the same viscosity rating, which is indicated by the two numbers on the oil label (e.g., 5W-30). Mixing oils with significantly different viscosities could lead to inadequate lubrication or oil flow issues.

The different brand oil should have the same rating

Obviously any oil is better than no oil if you’re stuck image of API dounut showing service ratingon the side of the road. But if you have the opportunity to buy oil and you want it to be as compatible as possible with the oil in your engine, purchase oil that has at least an SN+ rating or better; like SP or ILSAC GF-6A or GF-6B (if your engine requires 0W-16 viscosity oil).

Look for terms like “API (American Petroleum Institute) service rating” or “ILSAC (International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee) certification.” Mixing oils that do not meet your vehicle’s requirements could affect engine performance and longevity.

Synthetic vs. Conventional

If your engine is filled with synthetic oil, it’s best to add synthetic oil. If you add conventional oil to top off synthetic oil, your oil life monitor will no longer be accurate.

While mixing these types of oils is generally safe, it’s best to stick with one type (either synthetic or conventional) for the long term to avoid any potential compatibility issues.

While adding a different brand of motor oil when your engine is low on oil is usually fine in an emergency or for a temporary solution, it’s advisable to stick with the manufacturer-recommended oil and brand for regular oil changes. Consistency in oil type and brand can help maintain engine performance and longevity. If you’re uncertain about which oil to use or whether it’s safe to mix different brands, consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual or speak with a qualified mechanic for guidance.

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Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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