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Quaker State Motor Oil

Why is Quaker State motor oil so much cheaper than Castrol and Pennzoil? Is the oil quality of Castrol and Pennzoil that much better than Quaker State’s?
Menards has Quaker State motor oil on sale at times for $2.49 a quart.

As long as it has the API certification emblem on it and you are changing it according to the manufacturers recommendations, don’t worry.

Long ago Quaker State used a different base oil than most other brands, and some thought it was inferior.
Today the current specs for conventional oil are so strict that they are almost as good as a semi-synthetic, and Quaker State has to be as good as any other legitimate brand to meet those specs.

Auto makers have a vested intrest is you using a quality oil in your car. Until they start listing oils you should use by brand in the owner’s manual, oil price by brand is not a factor. Do pay attention to their other more important recommendations in your manual.

Quaker State oil was apparently a top seller in the early 50s and the cheaper non detergent variety seemed to cause a great deal of sludging that resulted in engine failures. The brand’s reputation went down despite the fact that their detergent variety, which cost a few cents more, had no sludge issues. In the mid 60’s Quaker State oil became somewhat rare in my neck of the woods. The “good” Quaker State oil had a red top and the few loyal QS customers learned to ask for “Red Top” oil. The company seems to continue to fight the bad reputation. A few years ago I bought several cases of QS 10W40 for 1c per quart when the parts store decided they needed the room for a faster selling brand.

Quaker State has always been considered a cheap oil. It was mainly because they lacked the proper additives to make them a top tier oil. I still don’t use Quaker State because of their reputation which, for me, dates back to the 1960’s. I have never had a problem with Castrol and I see no reason to change. I was a drag racer for 15 years and Castrol was in every engine going down the strip. I have no reason to doubt circuitsmith’s assessment of modern oil but I know Castrol is a quality oil so I will use it exclusively. BTW…I also consider Pennzoil and Havoline to be in the same category as Quaker State.

Some years back, Consumer Reports tested motor oils and found that a for several brands, oil of the same viscosity rating would be different for that brand depending on what part of the nation the oil was purchased. I wonder if a particular refinery may be bottling the same oil under different labels to cut back on shipping costs. A couple of years ago I bought Wolf’s Head oil on sale at Menards. When I studied the label on the bottle, I found that it was really Quaker State.
I had a relative that was a chemist in a Stokley canning factory. He told me that they canned peaches under the Stokley lablel, the Hunts label and a couple of others, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing holds for motor oils.
For you old timers, Billy Beer that was promoted by President Jimmy Carter’s brother Billy was really Falls City beer.

Limited number of holes in the ground and a finite number of refineries built in locations of convenience, very few additive suppliers and a fungible oil pipeline distribution system; motor oil companies have little choice but to “go with the flow” and depend more on advertising then spending all that extra to make an oil different from everyone else…if they want to make a profit.

In the battle for Shelf Space, having multiple brands displayed means your huge, conglomerate corporation sells more oil and squeezes out the smaller, weaker, players…Dig a little deeper and see who really owns “Quaker State Refining Company” …$2.49/Qt is a “price point”, not a measure of quality…Even at $100/barrel, the base price for “oil” is .55 cents a quart…

If you buy motor oil by the 250 gallon “tote” you can get Mobile 1 cheaper than $2.49/qt. That’s what the Monkey Lube places do…Then they charge you as if they used quart bottles…

Today, Quaker State and Pennzoil are BOTH owned by Royal Dutch Shell…Major Shelf Space…

Back up the clock about 20 years and I used Quaker State on just about everything with never a problem. There’s nothing wrong with QS motor oil.

Unless things have changed, I think Quaker State does (or did) run the Wal Mart auto centers as a lease operation.

A major part of Quaker States (Shells) business is running quick-lube places under various trade names…

That’s about what I pay for Mobil oil when its on sale. I quit using pennsoil years ago and wouldn’t even put it in my lawnmower. Rightly or wrongly I put Quaker State in the same category. Could be its not valid anymore but any engines it was used in were filthy.

Long ago Quaker State used a different base oil than most other brands, and some thought it was inferior.

37+ years ago it was inferior.

When unleaded gas was introduced…it raised engine temperatures a couple hundred degrees. I was working at a garage at the time while going to college…we had cars with less then 20k miles coming in that were burning oil. And these cars we serviced on a regular basis…which included Quaker state oil changes every 3k miles. Turned out - Quaker State couldn’t deal with the new engine temps and started to sludge…The shop switched to Castrol and never had a problem since…

I’m pretty sure there’s no problem with their formula now…but 37 years ago…yes…they had a problem.

Originally, all oil in he US came from Pennsylvania. Later, oil was discovered in Texas and Oklahoma. For a long time, oil was classified as either Pennsylvania crude or Texas crude and people were loyal to one or the other, and both side swore that the crudes were different and their choice was superior. I remember these arguments while hanging around the service station as a teenager.

I lived in California at the time and at that time there were a lot of people from the northeast moving to California ad it did seem that the native west coasters were more likely to favor the Texas crude where the transplanted easterners favored the Pennsylvania crude.

Quaker State was a very popular oil at the time. Later, in the late 60’s, the 10w40 oil hit the market. as a new driver with an old car, 55 Chevy, I had tried to use 10w30, but it burned badly so I went back to 30HD for it. I bought a 57 Olds with only 67k miles on it and a fried, who owned the gas station, recommended that I try the new 10w40 as it was not supposed to be as bad about burning. I used it and it did not burn.

I used 10w40 in every vehicle after that until, when hanging around the auto hobby shop on base (Navy) that I noticed that a lot of newer cars, mainly GM cars post 1975 were sludging up badly on 10w40 oil. I remember reading an article in one of the car magazines that I subscribed to at the time about how the VI’s in the 10w40 oil caused the oil to sludge at 295° where the GM engines post 1975 ran an oil temperature of around 305°.

Anyway, Quaker State was heavily promoting 10w40 oil and so when the sludging issue came up, they seemed to get the most blame. I don’t really know that they were actually any worse than the other brands of 10w40 oil or not, in fact I don’t think they were any worse at all.

Times have changed, oils have improved, I guess even the 10w40 oil of today, and engines are better designed so the oil doesn’t run quite that hot, but I still will not use 10w40, any brand. I will use Quaker State 10w30, only if it is on sale and is the cheapest oil available at the time. There is so little, if any difference between the brands that I don’t see the need to buy anything that is priced higher than the cheapest stuff on the shelf, as long as it meets at least the SL specs.

The really good oils are either gone or aren’t sold much of anywhere. I’m thinking of MacMillan ring free oil, Wolf’s Head oil (run with the wolf. I did buy some a couple of years back, but it was bottled by Quaker State), Gulf Single G (Single G was a great harness race horse), Standard Super-Permalube, Phillips 66 Tropartic, Royal Triton, Sinclair Dino-Supreme and many more. I think the auto manufacturers forced the oil companies to take these oils off the market because these oils made car engines last too long.
Seriously, though, oils have come a long way since those days. When I did my own oil changes, I put in whatever oil met the specifications for my car and was on sale. Now, the independent garage and the Toyota dealer where I take my vehicles use Valvoline.
“I quit using pennsoil years ago and wouldn’t even put it in my lawnmower” @Bing–thanks for the tip. Spring is coming and I will stock up on PennZoil for my lawnmower. I’m sitting here dreading the thought of mowing yard for another season.

A lot has to do with the testing methods and quality control. In 1984 Consumer Reports tested a number of oils and there was a difference between oil “staying in grade” which meant that they did not have the viscosity required at certain temoperatures. Texaco’s oils were the worst at that time and that has less to do with the quality of the base stock as it has to to do with the formulation process.

When CR tested oils again some 20 years later, there was much more uniformity in the oils, and they rated them all nearly equal. By then the testing methods and performace quality had tightened up and the bad apples got weeded out.

Today, the spec of the oil represents that particular duty, and it’s hard to go wrong. Where you can go wrong is to pick the wrong spec or put your car through severe duty with a lower spec oil. For instance towing a heavy trailer across the Mojave Desert in July using a 5W20 non-synthetic oil will likely finish off your engine, although the vehicle manufacturer said this oil was OK.

The car manufacturer has to tread the straight and narrow beteen the CAFE dictated gas mileage, engine life, warranty claims for premature failure, etc. In a CVVT engine, starting up in cold weather with a heavy oil can cause valve gear failure withing the waranty period. This will occur much more often than the guy towing his trailer on vacation in Arizona and burning out the engine.

Oil is 25% additives added to the base stock, which can be mineral or synthetic. A non-turbo car can use a wide range of oils, while a turbocharged Europen car with a long drain interval will need the very best oil available (highest spec). We have many posters whom put Walmart oil in their Crown Victorias and got over 400,000 miles of trouble-free engine performance. That’s because a Crown Vic can tolerate almost any spec oil.

@Triedaq Retired or not, you’re still the professor correcting papers. Nice catch.

“Pennsylvania Grade Crude” is paraffin base…Most other crude oil found in the U.S. is asphalt base. The Pennsylvania oil companies tried to use this as a marketing advantage, but the Texas oil companies products did just as good in tests…

most all quality oils are refined from paraffinic base crude oils. Paraffinic Base oils have a stable oil molecule.I have always used Quaker State and Pennzoil oils for years , and my engines are spotless inside. I manage a Pennzoil Quick lube, and people haven’t changed in 30 yrs, they don’t service their engines.Same as 30 yrs ago, they always blamed the oil for failing when it was their fault on not servicing their engines. Pennsylvania Grade crude oils are still the best in my book. and Pennzoil and Quaker State are still one of the best oils out in the market. Change your oil Folks, this going 6000 miles on oil changes just ruins engines. Clean Oil has never failed any of my engines.

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