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Brand name versus no name motor oil

I just got my oil changed at my friendly corner mechanic. I noticed that he used a “no name” 10-30 oil. It was marked SAE. He told me that as far as he was concerned with Pennzoil or other brand names, all you are paying for is the name. This shop has been in business a long time and they do heavy-duty truck repairs as well as car repairs so I figure they know what they’re doing but the brand loyal part of me has my doubts. Any opinions out there?

Beyond those #'s the important thing meeting spec required by your vehicle. The real difference between oil is the additives used to keep its various properties.

Some years back, Consumer Reports did an article on motor oils and had a laboratory analyze the oils. The same brand with the same weight and specifications tested differently depending on the part of the nation where the oil was purchased. This wasn’t true for all brands of oil tested, but it was true in several cases. I would bet that a refinery in a particular part of the country may supply oil for several brands and the oil is really the same. This would save on shipping costs.
I bought some Wolf’s Head motor oil a couple of years ago and when I read the label on the jar carefully, the oil came from a Quaker State refinery. I have a 30 year old Oldsmobile that I purchased new and I’ve used practically every brand of oil. The car has gone 240,000 miles and still doesn’t use oil. Once I purchased Citgo oil and with the rebate, the price per quart was zero. I think that if one uses the oil that meets or exceeds the manufacturer’s recommendations and changes the oil on a regular basis, the brand isn’t critical.

That’s very helpful and informative. Thanks!

Oil for your car has to meet requirements listed in your owner’s manual. Ther shoulod be a series of numbers after the SAE designation that tells you what SAE specs the oil neets. Those are likely to match the specs in your manual.

If you saw SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) on the container, there was also probably an API (American Petroleum Institute) deignation on the container you didn’t see. This means this person does enough oil changes where it’s cheaper to purchase the oil by the drum, than to buy it by the quart.


The only what you could call “bad oil” I’ve ever seen (and I don’t even know if it’s marketed here anymore) was a non-API brand of recycled motor oil that is or was sold in some quick shop type stores.

This product was essentially used motor oil that had been filtered and repackaged. It was pretty thin stuff and somewhat dark in color right out of the can.
If you’re stuck at night somewhere and in dire straits because of lack of oil it could be used to get you to where real oil is sold; no further.

It was pretty nasty looking stuff.

I don’t see problem if the oil meets the specs but, it’s a personal preference thing If you happen to like a paticular brand of oil for whatever reason, you should use what you like, find a mechanic that stocks what you have had many miles of postive experiences with, or find one who lets you bring your own oil.

People do develope strong loyalties to oil type,filter types,gas brands, etc.

Why fight peoples loyalties? If it’s possible I will use whatever oil the customer wants.