Are UOAs a valid way to choose oil?

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53
Location
Nashville, TN
Got another question for the more experienced folks out there. In my browsing the site I've learned about UOAs and their use regarding engine maintenance which I see as an excellent tool for diagnosis on the condition of a vehicle. However I also see references where someone asks about whether oil A or B is better and someone almost always seems to mention something like "get oil A, its had great UOAs". Isn't that an apples to oranges comparison unless the vehicle the UOA was done on is identical to the vehicle in question with same engine, mileage, driving style, etc. In other words how much validity is there to someone saying that because they had a good UOA with Mobil 1 in their 2005 BMW with 5000 miles that I should use it in my 1990 Ford Ranger with 100,000+ miles on it or my 1999 Honda Passport with 70,000 miles.
 
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2,324
Location
Baltimore, MD
im not really big on uoas unless it is to see if there are problems in your engines but if the same oil shows excellant uoas under many different driving conditions, vehicles, etc then it should be considered a good oil.
 

zombie_tech

Thread starter
Messages
53
Location
Nashville, TN
quote:
im not really big on uoas unless it is to see if there are problems in your engines but if the same oil shows excellant uoas under many different driving conditions, vehicles, etc then it should be considered a good oil.
But is it really telling you something about the oil or just the condition of the vehicle? If you just bought a used vehicle and did an oil change and then after maybe 5000 miles did another oil change and had a UOA done do the results tell you anything about the overall quality of the oil or just how it handled that situation? Unless you know the maintenance history of a vehicle and ran different oils through it for consecutive oil changes how can you compare oils by a UOA result?
 
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2,324
Location
Baltimore, MD
true there are many variables that need to be taken into consideration. but if you have a car that you have owned its entire life and you do periodic uoas, they should help indicate a problem if one exists. and there would need to be a lot of experimenting involved in figuring out which is oil is better.
 

zombie_tech

Thread starter
Messages
53
Location
Nashville, TN
I just don't think that using someone else's UOA to decide what oil you should use is very bright unless the vehicle and conditions matched up to your vehicle and conditions.
 
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40,659
Location
Great Lakes
Well, obviously. If your car mfr. recommends 20w-50 oil, it doesn't mean you should use some 0w-20 oil just because someone else got a good UOA on it on his vehicle. So, for your question "Are UOAs a valid way to choose oil?", I'd say no. I might use a UOA though for trend analysis to see if there's something wrong happening with the engine or to establish a max safe OCI. But even then, it doesn't appear to be an exact science.
 
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4,009
Location
Calgary Canada
I always search the UOA's based on car/engine model. That has led me to 3 different oils for the three different oils I maintain. I also consider the climate and driving patterns described in the UOA's when I have a choice between a few different oils with that engine. Finally, my program is to follow up with UOA's in my car to see how the oil did. In this way, my thought is previous UOA's that I found on BITOG can get me into the ball-park for picking a good oil for each of the vehicles I maintain.
 
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4,478
Location
Southern California
UOAs are simply one more tool that we have at our disposal on BITOG. The more UOAs among different engine families we can access on a given motor oil that support confidence in its blender's expertise, the better we can judge that motor oil's potential in a specific application - at least to a point. But, the inverse is also true - if a specific formulation shows relatively poor performance in a given engine type, and YOU own an example of that engine type, you might wish to exclude that particular blend from further consideration.
 
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