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Royal purple

One of my friends (he’s a real mechanic, not a shade tree like me) swears by this stuff, said he wouldn’t use anything else in all of his rides. I go with what’s on sale at Wally world so long as it meets all of the certification stuff. I won’t bargain buy and get Wally oil, but I feel Mobil or Pennzoil is good oil. Any comments?


I’m not sure abut Pennzoil, but Mobil 1 is high quality oil

Mobil 1 is only available as full synthetic, so it’s not cheap

Royal purple is supposed to be good, but it doesn’t seem to be available everywhere

I believe it’s also full synthetic, and I believe it’s supposed to be “high performance”

BTW . . . what car is this for?

Nothing that I can imagine would make Royal Purple better than other top-grade synthetics for use in cars following recommended change intervals. But they sure get a big premium for it.

I believe off-roaders and muscle car guys like to use Royal Purple . . .

$10 a quart seems pretty high to me. I don’t go synthetic, just regular dino at normal intervals. But I’m religious about intervals. I can usually get 5 quarts of dino mobil at Wally World for about $15, or $3 a quart. With a $4 filter, my oil changes are about $20. The vehicle? A Toyota Yaris. Rocketman

Royal Purple may be “better” (per all the marketing), but better than what’s needed only helps those who profit from selling it.


Chevron oil is even cheaper when it’s on sale at Costco, significantly less than $3/qt

+1 for @JoeMario. I’m also a real mechanic…certified in both automotive and diesel. Royal Purple is no better than any oil out there including Castrol. I have used Castrol since my drag racing days and Royal Purple was known as an overpriced name way back then. I have never used a synthetic oil and just don’t see any good reason to switch. I don’t use turbochargers or superchargers any more and I used dino oil with them for years.

“Royal Purple” is motor oil with some purple dye in it…It’s been around since the late 1950’s…It was reincarnated in 1986 by a fellow named John Williams…Pep Boys and Wally World both sell it…

You mechanic friend probable sells the stuff, so it cost him 50% or less than the $10 he wants you to spend.

Premium motor oils like Mobil1 are as good as they come. If you have a European car with a turbo, a special Euro spec of Mobil1 would apply. Royal Purple probably does not meet that spec.

Read what’s on the can and then compare it with Mobil1.

I see Royal Purple in the same light as Amsoil. Both companies make claims that are so vague that you can’t pin them down and ask them to prove them, and after talking to the folks who sell them, I usually feel like I need a shower.

Thanks for all of your comments! Rocketman

Just as an aside, the purple oil from the 1950’s wasn’t the same as Royal Purple. It was a purple colored oil called “Royal Triton”, sold by Union Oil. It was such a fine oil that even Marilyn Monroe used it:

I do “bargain buy” oil for my Saturn, change when ever the little light tells me to, about every 5500-6000 miles and it now has 264,600 miles on it. Yes it uses a little oil, I just finished a 6897 mile trip and used a total of 4 qts of oil in that time.

Sometimes mechanics, and I am talking about very good mechanics, have a bias for a particular brand of motor oil. My dad bought the newest car he had ever owned, a 1954 Buick which he purchased in 1955. He found a top notch mechanic, but this mechanic insisted that MacMillan Ring Free motor oil would really prolong the life of the car. My dad used the MacMillan oil until the mechanic closed his business. At that time, the car had about 60,000 miles on the odometer. Nobody else handled the MacMillan oil, so he switched over to Quaker State. I bought the car from my dad and drove it to 160,000 miles and it did not use oil and the heads and pan were never removed from the engine. I saw the car on the street two years later. I doubt that the brand of oil really made any difference. However, we were really nervous about switching from MacMillan to Quaker State–we thought the engine might blow up any minute.

I bought a very used (96K miles) Suburban that had Quaker State quickie lube stickers all over the door jamb. Good, a guy who changes his oil! I switched to Mobil 1 and after 1500 miles, the oil looked like had been through 50K miles it was so dirty. It was scrubbing all the crap left by the other oil.

When I changed a head gasket, 20K miles later, the inside of the engine looked like I’d barbequed a pig inside. It had crusty deposits all over the inside with soft rounded edges like I was washing it with solvent (I was, with Mobil 1). This wasn’t the first Pennsylvania crude oil fed engine I’d seen with this crud. Too much paraffin in Pensy-crude dino oil stock.

We all have been affected (scarred?) by our experiences and we buy motor oil accordingly!

@Mustangman–When we used Quaker State in the 1954 Buick this was back in the late 1950s through the mid 1960s. We used straight weight oil–30 weight in the summer, 20W-20 in the fall and spring and 10 weight in the winter. I wonder if some of the sludge you experienced may have been due to the use of 10W-40 oil which was popular back in the 1990s. The owner’s manual for my 1978 Oldsmobile recommended either 10W-30 or 10W-40. I used the 10W-40 and had problems with pre-ignition due to carbon build up. I would have to add a can of Casite motor tune-up to the gasoline about once a month and would also pour Casite through the carburetor while the engine was running to alleviate the problem. I then heard, ironically on Cartalk, that certain 10W-40 oils in certain GM engines would have this problem. I switched to 10W-30 and the problem of pinging on acceleration disappeared. I used whatever brand of oil was on sale in those days. Apparently the polymers that were put in the oil to extend the viscosity range to 10W-40 was the cause of the carbon build-up.

@Triedaq, you are right about the 10w40 vs 10w30 stuff. I remember reading about those studies a long time ago, now that you remind me. The build-up may have been helped in other ways, too. Hot idling, maybe. I tore down a Chevy 305 out of a farm truck with 83K miles that idled in the fields a LOT. The insides had massive carbon clumps everywhere touched by oil. We shoveled it out and I apologized to my machinist for the mess it was going to make in his hot tank! Best seasoned engine block, I’ve ever used.

It may be that that Suburban did not get enough oil changes for the driving conditions.
It’s also possible that the shop that applied Quaker State stickers was not using QS oil, rather some inferior bulk oil.
I don’t think you can condemn a brand of oil based on one vehicle with unknown maintenance history.
I haven’t used QS in many years, but I wouldn’t hesitate to use it (or any other major brand) if it were on sale at the right price.

I’ve heard a lot of people talk smack about Quaker State oil (not just you guys, by the way), but I’ve never heard or read anything substantial to back up those claims. Most of the guys that are dead set against a certain brand of oil seem to be referring to incidents that happened decades ago

Perhaps I’m naive, but I believe that the present day motor oil is pretty decent . . . provided you use the correct viscosity, change it in a timely manner and use the oil that meets the specs for your particular engine (Dexos, eurospec, turbodiesel, etc.)