Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

What oil brand is best?

What oil brand is best?

This article on which oil brand is best is just one in a series.

If you’d like to know more about oil click on the links below.

Choosing the right motor oil

Chrysler’s 3.5-liter engine has oil sludge issues

High mileage oil and oil filters

Oil Viscosity Warning

Synthetic Oil Facts and Myths

Synthetic oil versus conventional oil

What motor oil to use

What oil brand is best

What oil should you use

When to change oil

Best Oil filter

I hear this question all the time and people get really emotional with their preferences. But many of the “facts” that get repeated are simply unfounded, out of date, or are based on a misunderstanding of how modern motor oils are made.

The first myth is that because Penzoil oil is from wells in Pennsylvania, it has too much wax and is no good.

oil filter, wrong oil, do I have to use synthetic

Oil filter filled with sludge

Who knows if that was ever true in the past, but it’s certainly not true now. Some motor oil companies refine their own base stocks and others buy base oil on the open market. But one thing is true, nobody makes base stock from just a single oil well or a single region of the country. Base stock is pretty much base stock. It’s like buying AA jumbo eggs. If it’s grade II or III base stock, it all meets the same standards.

Where brand difference really comes into play is in the area of additives and which base oil the company uses in their synthetic offering.

Let’s start with oil additives. Approximately 75-80% of every quart of oil is base stock. Additives make up the rest. And those additives are detergent, anti-foaming, anti-corrosive agents, and suspension agents. Plus, every motor oil contains an anti-wear additive. In addition, muti-viscosity oils contain viscosity improvers (VI), seal conditioners, and pour point depressants. The exact types of additives and the exact recipe for each brand is different for each company and are considered industry secrets.

Anyone who tells you that brand X has more anti-wear or better detergent is either blowing smoke, or wants you to believe they have insider information. Yeah, and they have the secret formula to COKE too!

So the bottom line is NOBODY knows what’s in any brand of oil except the oil company’s chief chemist. As long as the oil meets current API standards and the car makers specifications, it’ll work in your vehicle. Whether one oil works better than another is simply one person’s opinion versus another.

For more articles on oil and filters, click here

Don’t know what oil to use, click here

Want to know the advantages and disadvantages of synthetic oil versus mineral oil, click here

Learn about the new GF-5 and DEXOS ratings, click here

Facts and myths about synthetic oil, click here

Want to know more about high mileage oil, click here

Don’t screw around with oil viscosity, read why here

Want to know more about oil filters? What’s the difference between an economy filter and a premium filter? Click here

© 2012 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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