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  • Bosveld Smeermiddels Team

Can you trust the quality of non-OEM approved engine lubricants?

Non-OEM (original equipment manufacturer) approved engine oils are becoming more and more popular in the automotive market. The big question is do they deliver the same quality as officially OEM approved products, or are OEM approved products worth the higher price tag?

Q8Oils recently published an article where they compared the performance of one of their latest passenger car motor oils with a non-OEM approved product.

"There is a considerable price difference between OEM approved engine lubricants and non-approved products. Many car owners logically wonder whether a cheaper non-approved motor oil really has a lower quality. To clarify this matter, Kuwait Petroleum Research & Technology Center (KPR&T) conducted a comparative study on the quality of the officially OEM approved Q8 Formula Prestige V 5W-30 and a non-approved 5W-30 PCMO. The results speak for themselves …"

To compare the quality and performance of the OEM approved motor oil and the non approved oil, KPR&T conducted the following tests on both products:

  • Viscometric testing

  • Oxidation stability testing

  • Deposit control testing

Results of viscometrics testing

"The results of the viscometrics testing show that the non-approved oil does not meet the VW 504.00/507.00 specifications on CCS and MRV viscosity. Additionally, the pour point is below industry standard, while the shear stability demonstrates an inferior performance."

One of the most important properties of any lubricant is its viscosity. The four primary purposes of an engine lubricant are to: 1. Lubricate, 2. Clean, 3. Cool and 4. Protect. It stands to reason that the proper viscosity will maximize lubricant performance in all four aspects. The OEMs reserve the right to deny warranty claims if the wrong viscosity (or category) oil is used, and that could seriously hurt your wallet.

Results of oxidation testing

Because of its superior oxidation control, the OEM approved motor oil has a more than 50% increased oxidation induction time compared to the non-approved motor oil. Oxidation is the primary mechanism of lubricant degradation, and oxidized oil can’t effectively lubricate machines, therefore non-approved lubricants will require changes more often.

Results of deposit testing

In the panel cooker test, the non-approved PCMO showed almost twice as much deposit formation compared to the Q8 Formula Prestige V 5W-30.

In the micro cooker test, the OEM approved motor oil showed a much higher deposit temperature compared to the non-approved PCMO. The higher the deposit temperature, the better the deposit control.

Test conclusions

By looking at the above mentioned results, it is quite clear that the non-approved oil does not meet the essential industry standard specifications on several important parameters:

  • The CCS and MRV viscosity do not meet the specification and the pour point is insufficient.

  • The shear stability for the non-approved PCMO is inferior to OEM Approved motor oil, resulting in increased engine wear.

  • Oxidation and deposit control in the non-approved oil is inferior, increasing sludge formation and deteriorated engine cleanliness. This will result in poor engine performance and even long term engine damage.

"Analysis show that the non-approved oil is using lower GII quality base oils, non-approved additive technology and a lower quality VI-Improver system, resulting in compromised lubricant performance."

Reasons to use OEM Approved Lubricants

When servicing any vehicle, it is always advisable to lubricants approved by the manufacturer. According to Q8 Oils, here's why:

1. Proven fuel efficiency performance

Increasingly strict emission standards and the race for the best fuel economy urge manufacturers to design and develop new and smaller engines. Even small increases in fuel economy can result in significant reductions in fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.Newer engines require engine oils with new technology and new research. Developing the right oil requires insight into the engine hardware, and a deep knowledge of oil characteristics and additive components specifications.

2. Environmental protection

Many engine oil specifications include constraints to limit the use of some chemicals in order to protect both the engine and the environment. When metals like calcium, sodium or magnesium are burnt, they form ash which can damage the aftertreatment system of the vehicle.

Oil manufacturers invest a lot in the development of new engine oils with reduced amounts of sulphated ash, phosphorus and sulphur (SAPS), offering increased engine protection, while taking care of the environment.

3. Avoid LSPI

Low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI) is an undesired phenomenon that is increasingly emerging in turbocharged, direct-injected gasoline engines.

The pre-ignition causes uncontrolled peak pressures and shockwaves on the piston, leading to severe engine damage such as bent connecting rods, damaged ring lands and broken piston rings. Discover more about LSPI in the article Preventing engine damage caused by LSPI.

To prevent LSPI in downsized engines, new oil features were required, which are now incorporated into the latest engine oil specifications.

4. Avoid warranty issues

For end users, there is another important reason to use an OEM approved PCMO. Using an engine oil that has not been approved by your car manufacturer can cause issues with OEM warranty.

In conclusion

The engine can be one of the most expensive parts of a vehicle to replace or repair, therefore it is easy to see why extra care and knowledge in choosing the right OEM approved product is the best choice. To ensure your OEM warranty is protected, contact our technical experts at Bosveld Smeermiddels for an assessment of your lubricant requirements.

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