- Car Care & Maintenance
Is Premium Grade Motor Oil Worth the Extra Price?
Premium Motor versus Standard Brands
Is Premium Motor Worth the Extra Money?
A few years ago, when I represented oil and lubricant distributors, I wanted to earn the business of the local police department. I convinced the head of their maintenance facility to set up a test. The Kansas City Missouri Police has a fleet of over four hundred units including counting cars, wreckers, and paddy wagons. The goals of the test were two fold. First we wanted to establish the proper oil change intervals. The second was to research and see if a premium grade of motor, such as Castrol GTX, that I believed was a superior product, would have better performance versus the oil being purchased based on the lowest bid.
The test was set up by selecting 10 cars from each of the four different divisions. The driving in each division was slightly different as vehicles driven in suburban areas experienced more freeway miles versus inner city cars, which have more sever stop and go traffic conditions. Five cars of the same make and model in each division were changed to Castrol. Five others cars were selected by the same manor and they were chosen to be monitored while using the current low bid oil product from a major oil.
We tested the used oil from each vehicle using a laboratory oil analysis program. We began extending the miles between changes to see how far we could go before significant breakdown of the oil occurred. The cars on Castrol showed a reduction of engine wear metals when compared to the current oil product being used in all areas. The largest differences in the performances of the two different oils happened once we extended the change from 5,000 to 6,000 mile intervals. At that time most manufactures recommended oil changes of up to 7,500 miles, more often for severe service a category that police cars would fall into.
After the test was completed Castrol was the clear winner. The management of the police department’s maintenance facility was impressed to the point that the entire fleet was switched to Castrol. The Castrol Company found the test so effective and professionally done by the facility that they made it a national test center. They provided 50 new engines each year and paid the police garage to install and then to remove those same engines at 100,000 miles for tear down examination. This was done to test various additive packages for the future improvement.
Although Castrol is a major European oil company they, only market lubricating products in the US. Most major US oil companies seem to only manufacture oil products to a price point. Motor oils represent less than 1% of revenues for the major oil companies. I read later in Consumer Report’s motor oil tests, that Castrol was proven to be superior. Working in the industry, I came to believe that if your main livelihood is oil and lubricants, you will focus on building a better product. My conclusion is that using premium brand oil will extend engine life. My favorite came to be Castrol based on experience with many fleet and industrial customers.
After 25 years in oil and lubricants, I made a career change and created my own brand of aqueous parts cleaning systems. I strive to make sure the equipment I have represents a higher degree of quality for the cleaning job of my customers. Please visit us at our website for the best in parts cleaning equipment, please visit us at KC Quality Systems.