Oil Quality Matters – Bulk Oil Locations Fail Standards More Often
Tim Esterdahl | Oct 30, 2013 | Comments 9
There are many reasons why changing your own oil is a good thing to do including, apparently, ensuring you are using better quality oil. A recent study says that one in five bulk oil samples fails to meet quality standards.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) conducts an annual testing survey of motor oil from a variety of sources and the results may surprise you. In a recently released study, it found that bulk oil dispensaries can have oil that isn’t the same quality as what you would buy off the shelf. Bulk oil dispensaries are those found at commercial shops like oil change places and dealerships. In fact, API says that over the past 5 years it has tested 1,8000 motor oils and found nearly 20 percent of bulk oil samples fail to meet their standards.
API’s standards for its “service symbol” include testing the SAE viscosity grade and whether it has “resource-conserving” properties in it.
There is also a starburst certification mark which relates to the oil meeting “latest International Lubricant Specification Advisory Committee (ILSAC) standard. The ILSAC standards are developed by vehicle and engine manufacturers, oil and additive companies and industry trade associations such as API, ACC, ASTM and SAE. These oils provide engine protection while also delivering improved fuel economy and emission system protection.”
“The Motor Oil Matters program reminds consumers about the importance of using quality motor oils in their cars and trucks,” said Kevin Ferrick, API’s Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System manger in a press release. “The Motor Oil Matters program also calls on certified oil change locations to go the extra step to verify the quality of the oil on invoices and receipts.”
API has developed their own certification program and consumer website, www.MotorOilMatters.org.
While the study is interesting, there are two pieces that stand out for us. One, it shows that changing your own oil is, again, the better way to go. And two, it brings up a question on what API is trying to do. The entire messaging on their website site seems to be trying to get oil installers, marketers and distributors to be “MOM” certified at a cost of several thousand dollars. This makes us question their motives.
What do you think? Does the study reaffirm your reasoning for changing your own oil or is it a bunch of hogwash? Have you ever gotten a “bad” oil change?
Filed Under: Auto News
I do my own oil changes. It’s cheaper, easy, and brings piece of mind-even more so now in light of this article 🙂
My dad took his 10′ Tundra to the dealer for an oil change. They used bulk instead of synthetic. They have always used synthetic on my 12′. They told him they didn’t start using synthetic till 2012, I call B.S.
I would agree DJ. Since 07 I took my truck to the dealer for oil changes. They use Castrol synthetic back in 07. I do mine now because I want to. So I can take a look underneath and rotate my tires. As for the bulk oil not being what is stated if you did do oil changes and you kept your receipts and the oil was subpar and the engine broke down what can the dealer tell you? They gave you the oil and you bought subpar oil. Now personally I want some change back for getting less than what I paid for. Since 96k miles I started doing my own oil changes. Currently at 167k miles.
I always change my own oil. This way I know exactly what oil goes in and what filter goes on. This just confirms that I need to keep changing my own oil. The link is interesting, though. Glad the SAE and ILSAC are looking out for Joe Consumer.
In 50 years I have never had anyone do an oil change.
At a dealer or anywhere, how could we possibly know what they put in our engine. I’m sure the vast majority are honest but, I gaurentee that there a places out there who use the lowed grade bulk stuff they can get and charger people for high priced synthetic Mobile 1.
I buy Mobile 1 in 6 quart containers at the best price I can find which is usually WalMart. What is the Walmart SuperTech brand synthetic? They don’t refine oil so it must come from oil companies but which one? I suspect it’s what ever they get at the best bulk price at any given time. When my cars get old near what I figure is the end of their working live I switch to the cheaper WalMart synthetic, so far no issues. For that mater how do I really know what is then the Mobil 1 container.
All I can says is that for 25 years I have run Mobile 1 10W-30 with 15,000 mile change intervals with a filter every 5000 miles. Two of my cars went 300,000 each with no oil issues. My old 19 year old T100 was just sold with 150,000 miles and runs like new with no oil consumption. On my 2011 Subaru I run Mobil 1 0W-20.
I can’t count the oil changes over 50 years but, it’s a bunch with a much lower cost by doing it my self. Likely thousands which is in my retirement savings.
have had a few bad experiences with the VERY FEW oil changes at authorized dealerships. One was underfilled by 1/2-3/4 of a qt. while one dealer cranked on the oil filter so darn tight it cracked the rubber oring around the canister style housing on one of my GM vehicles and leaked oil from the filter gasket being cracked.
I don’t trust them anymore or no one for that matter.
Interesting though you’d think that all oils nowadays even bulk would meet standards, guess I was wrong. Not a fan of bulk oil in huge drums either.
well said, bulk oil dispensaries can have oil that isn’t the same quality as what you would buy off the shelf.
Such kind of dispensaries are those found at commercial shops like oil change places and dealerships.
In fact, API says that over the past 5 years it has tested 1,8000 motor oils and found nearly 20 percent of bulk oil samples fail to meet their standards.
Agreed with you Mike T,While the study is interesting, there are two pieces that stand out for us.
1- it shows that changing your own oil is, again, the better way to go.
2- it brings up a question on what API is trying to do.
I got my oil changed on a new 2014 Chevy Spark, the service report said 5 qts, but the owners man. says 4, so I pulled the dipstick when I got home. the level was OK but the so called Dexos 1 seemed dark and smelled used, I drained it , and the oil was near black. I went back to the dealer, and they showed me the oil from their bulk tanks, and it looked the same. They said the oil is a Dexos compliant Mobile 1 synth blend. In the 40 years I have been changing oil I have never seen supposed new oil that color, and smell. I think my dealer is using cheap garbage. also with several different weights required by the various vehicles they sell, how can 1 bulk Dexos satisfy all the various viscosity requirements?