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Motor Oil. Is There Really any Difference?

Discussion in 'ex-Rag Chew Central' started by K2WH, Jul 2, 2011.

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  1. K2WH

    K2WH XML Subscriber Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    We've all seen it, the many commercials of each engine oil manufacturer claiming their oil is better then the other motor oils on the market. Quaker State, Mobil, Penzoil etc. I can understand the higher the level of filtering would make a better oil and present less wear on your engine. Then there are the ones with so-called detergent in them that helps keep your valve and lifters clean. And the ads go on and on about why their oil is better than their oil.

    So; is there any real difference? A difference that will make a difference over the life of an engine?

  2. KC8ADU

    KC8ADU Ham Member QRZ Page

  3. W0BTU

    W0BTU Ham Member QRZ Page

    You bet there is! It's very much a case of "you get what you pay for". This is generally true for both non-synthetic and synthetic motor oils.

    I've seen many engines that were run on cheap oil. After they were opened up, you had to scrape large quantities of sludge out with a putty knife.

    All I've used for many years is Mobil 1 synthetic. The extra gas mileage alone (a full 10% higher) pays for the extra cost of the oil. Not to mention how much longer your engine will last due to lower friction.
  4. N5YPJ

    N5YPJ QRZ Moderator QRZ Page

    I've always liked the oils made for diesel engines, they are blended to have a higher heat rating and don't seem to break down as fast as those oils made for the gasoline engines. I've used Chevron Delo 400 for 25 years in everything I've owned that uses oil. I think you get what you pay for.
  5. M3KXZ

    M3KXZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    10% better fuel economy from just using Mobil 1! Don't make me laugh. What were you using before? Coal tar or something? :D
  6. K8MHZ

    K8MHZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was an ASE auto tech for Chrysler back in the 90's.

    Yes indeed there is a difference!

    Parafin based oils are terrible. I won't mention any names, but two well known 'American' brands really suck.

    A motor that uses Valvoline will be clean as a whistle inside, no matter how many miles are on the engine. For non-synthetic oils,it is the best. I have seen motors with 300k on them spotless on the inside from using Valvoline or synthetic oils.

    The other brands will leave gook (actually paraffin) in your engine. If you have regular oil changes done and your oil filler cap has goo and crud on the inside, I'll bet the oil came from a yellow or a green and white container.

    When people want to know what oil I run, I just take the filler cap off my old van (206k) and let them look into the rocker cover at the rocker arms. Even after that many miles and going 7 or more grand between changes, not only is the engine perfectly clean inside, it runs like the day it was purchased.

    There used to be a commercial about what type of oil is used by most ASE master techs. That oil was, and still is, Valvoline and the commercial was actually true.
  7. KD0CAC

    KD0CAC Ham Member QRZ Page

    You have compair the same types , petroleum then synthetics , also what they were intended for , like diesel or gas .
    Once you make a common sense comparison , modern oils are almost ubiquitous , the additive packages are what make up the difference , the problem with additives is that most people just pickup the oil container & pour , many of the additives are heavier than the oil & sink to the bottom , so you need to shake before you pour to get what you paid for .
    Some of things mentioner here by others were true some yrs decades ago , but generally speaking the oils are not necessarily from one place and the variety of supply is neutralized by the refining process .
    Its almost imposible to find some of the old oil formulations , like paraffin based oil like Pennzoil used to be , that made for build up in the engine .
    As far as synthetics , again it depends on you needs , Amsoil has almost any product you may need and you can get a oil / lube for your specific need , unlike Mobile One , very few varieties .
  8. WA4BRL

    WA4BRL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Motor Oil. Is There Really any Difference?


    Wikipedia article on motor oil

    In particular, read the paragraphs under the heading "Standards".

    and from "Bob Is The Oil Guy":

    There is no "best" oil!

    This question comes up frequently. Everyone has their own personal favorites, but there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all oil, or a best oil "overall". Every engine is different. Every oil has its place. What works for one engine might not work for another.

    So, when you ask for advice, tell us about your car! The more details, the better. Here are the essential points:

    1. What kind of vehicle you have
    2. What your owner's manual says -- not just viscosity, but certifications (look for acronyms like API SM, ILSAC GF-4, etc.) and change intervals as well
    3. Where you live
    4. How you drive (easy? hard? fast? slow?)
    5. What your daily drive is like (short trips? long trips? city? highway?)
    6. Whether your car has any known problems

    Most important on that list is #2. Whatever oil you choose, make sure that it meets the manufacturer's specified standard. Go as far above that as you are willing to pay for. Just never go below it. And never feel you are selling your engine short by "merely" meeting that spec. All of today's motor oils are super high quality blends of oil and additives -- far better than the stuff we were using in the sixties and seventies. If it meets the manufacturer's standards for any modern engine, it's a very good motor oil.
  9. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    You might as well ask yourself if you like Ford/Chevy/Dodge. All motor oils are made to meet certain standards, as Steve posted above.

    Maybe you like Pennzoil or Castrol. Perhaps you prefer Valvoline. But the brand of oil is less significant than what most people think. It comes down to personal preference. If there was a really bad motor oil brand, then the engine manufacturers would be telling people not to buy it. Don't believe all the hype you see in commercials. Who cares if group X uses Valvoline? What does it matter if someone recommends Pennzoil? Make some informed decisions based on reality and research.

  10. W0BTU

    W0BTU Ham Member QRZ Page

    When I first purchased the car we have now (200,000+ miles ago) I was using a very good grade of a non-synthetic oil (Valvoline, IIRC, but I'm not 100.0% certain) as a break-in oil. Every single time I filled up, I checked the gas mileage, and kept very careful records. The average over many, many fill-ups was right around 20 MPG. Exactly how many fill-ups, I don't remember, but I'm guessing 40. Same driving conditions, same drivers, same terrain, etc.

    Finally, I switched over to Mobil 1 (same grade, probably 10W-30), and kept the same careful records. I gar-ran-tee you that the average MPG once I did that jumped up by a full 10% and stayed there.

    The car is now 10 years old and still averages 22 MPG.

    And I have read and heard many first-person experiences exactly like mine.

    Anyone remember the tests that Smokey Yunick did in Popular Mechanics when Mobil 1 first came out years ago? He built an engine for the test, carefully measuring the piston, cylinder, crankshaft, and bearing diameters before assembly.

    He then ran that engine using the same Mobil 1 oil on a test stand for the equivalent of one million miles. Every so often the oil was removed and ran through a special filter. That filtration process was far more than we get just by changing our oil filters, but nonetheless, the oil was the same oil. (Perhaps it was also distilled to remove the blow-by contamination, but I don't remember.)

    And after the engine ran for that million miles, it was then disassembled and measured again. The wear, using micrometers and gauges with .0001" resolution was undetectable. Oh, there were some shiny spots, but no measurable wear.

    Someone will likely say that Mobil paid Smokey and his lab off, but after all the experiences I have had over the years, I am convinced that article was the gospel truth. And no, I don't own stock in Mobil. :)

    Mobil 1, the last time I looked, was $5/quart. YGWYPF.
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