Are all oil brands the same?

I was surprised to see that Pennzoil was $2.33 more expensive than Quaker State for a quart of synthetic. This has got me wondering if I shouldn’t have bought the QS.

I’d buy the cheaper name brand oil that meets all the specifications. Some cars require specific grade synthetic oils.



If you Google Pennzoil Ultra Premium 5W-30 Oil (Gallon), you will find the price is all over the map, from a low of $24.99 at Walmart, to 34.99 at NAPA, to a high of $41.99 at Advance Auto Parts…

So, using price as a sole deciding factor, go to Advance to buy your oil. That higher price “must” mean their oil is better… L :smiley: L . . .

And just in case the " L :grin: L " is not enough, I am joking… Retailers will charge whatever they can get for product…

There are cheap/off-brand oils that are NOT good. Stay away from those. Any (and I mean ANY) brand name oil that meets your vehicle specs is good, and will keep your vehicle running for hundreds of thousands of miles (as long as you change it regularly).

As long as the oil container has the API/SAE symbol on it, any oil can be used in your vehicle no matter the brand or price.



Which leads me to think that any oil that meets the specification is fine, but the difference is how long it lasts. Using a cheap oil and changing it every 2000 miles is the same as a name brand with 3000 mile oil changes. I’m not sure of this of course.

I assume there is a bigger difference with the multi grade oils. There is probably less difference between a cheap oil and a name brand with something like SAE 30.

Quaker State and Pennzoil are both owned by Shell, for all I know the oil comes from the same refinery and put in different bottles

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The symbol means the oil meets the minimum requirements established by the American Petroleum Institute and the Society of Automotive Engineers.

So if the $5.00 bottle of oil lasts 7,000 miles, so does the $2.00 bottle of oil.



I’m not aware of any modern engines that specify a single-viscosity oil.

Can you give us a list of modern engines that don’t require multi-viscosity oil?


Only thing would be mowers that still use L-head designs… Any car should use a multi viscosity although I do see generic motor oil for sale at dollar stores. It isn’t even that cheap if you ask me and the one reason to use this is if you have a major oil leak and need to get it somewhere.

SAE 30 oil? What other obsolete technology should we talk about? Adjusting the ignition dwell? Installing a crankshaft seal made out of rope?



Or, how about tie rod ends covered in leather? :smirk:
I was mildly shocked to see that this was still the practice with some cars as late as the early '50s.

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I would advise using a LOT of caution.
It wasn’t that long ago that “dollar stores” were selling motor oil that–according to the Petroleum Quality Institute–“meets only an API SA Service Classification. This is a specification for cars built prior to 1930, over 85 years ago.”

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The only difference I know of is Amsoil&Mobile One use a different base for their synthetic oils than other brands.
If you are changing your oil at the required time/mileage intervals make no difference.
I do keep a bottle of the same brand oil for my vehicles, just a little OCD about that. Adding up the mileage between three vehicles over the past 15 years, about 220,000 miles total, have added a total of one quart between all three. Using a synthetic blend, if your cars calls for synthetic , use only synthetic.

Never seen that one. I mean I’m getting old, but not THAT old… :smile:

I did spend some time this week explaining to a younger tech about how a steering gearbox and linkage worked compared to a rack and pinion.


From the Studebaker Drivers Club site:
I’ve got a number of late '40s NOS tie rod ends that have leather ‘seals’.

IIRC, I’ve seen people posting pics of Stude tie rod ends like that from as late as the early '50s.

Shame on you trying to giveTHE SNOWMAN facts when he has The NONSENSE.

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As an add on, here’s a list from API of their oil categories.

I remember that oil from Dollar General. I think it was posted here a few years ago. The oil was CRAP. Didn’t meet any manufacturers standard. As I said…ANY oil that meets the manufacturers standard for your vehicle will be fine.