'Ask the expert' at Castrol

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Feb 14, 2004
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
I 'asked the expert' at castrol.ca if the GC was a PAO (I was bored). Here is the answer I received. I don't think my question was really answered. Opinions?


Castrol Syntec is a 100% fully-synthetic motor oil, as is the Syntec
0w-30 available from Germany. Synthetic motor oil starts with synthetic
base oil. There are many different chemical processes available to make
synthetic base oil due to advances in the technology of synthetics.
These chemical processes are different than the simple refining
techniques used to make conventional base oils. For conventional base
oils the process is simply a separation and subtraction process. Once
the base oil is separated, the subtraction process cleans and removes
impurities and undesirable compounds, such as wax and sulfur.

Synthetic processing uses select crude components that are chemically
converted to create molecules that are different from the starting
material. Synthetic processing rearranges, builds up and breaks apart

This chemical processing produces synthetic base oils that are
engineered to provide consistent and predictable superior performance
over conventional base oil counterparts. Synthetic base oils exhibit
superior performance at both extreme hot and cold temperatures.

Synthetic base oils are then mixed with specialized additive systems
that can be engineered to meet more demanding performance specifications
than what is achievable from conventional motor oils. The combination
of synthetic base oils and choice additive systems offers many benefits
for your engine.

Consumer Relations
Castrol North America
[email protected]
SOunds like a common cut and paste answere. Probably someone in India with a set of standard answeres to chose from.

Originally posted by FowVay:
That is the longest answer for "NO" that I've ever read.


Yes, that's what I thought as well, however, I was under the impression that the green 'made in Germany' Castrol is a PAO. I'd like to thank Castrol for creating this higgledy piggledy mess.

[ February 17, 2004, 07:11 PM: Message edited by: rcy ]
I once sent Castrol an e-mail asking if Formula R 0w-40 would be available in the United States and the ignoramus who answers their e-mail told me that they do not make a Formula R. I had to send that idiot a link from their own website!!!
I doubt very much that they have chemists manning these web sites to answer questions about motor oil. The people answering the questions probably are fairly low paid people who are given a limited amount of information about motor oils. That is my opinion. Perhaps if the people manning the web site get a very good question indicating exceptional oil knowledge, they may occasionally forward the email to some sort of expert.
CASTROL Australia suffers from the same disease. They prefer to phone back the answers. I emailed them recently regarding the sulphated ash number for one of their popular products.

Phone rings " Hello Dave, first of all, before we start, what do you want to know that for?"

I said I was comparing differernt products.

"We normally don't give out such information, I will have to contact a chemist if you really want to know, but it will take some time to answer.... blah, blah, blah, yeppita, blah, blah, etc etc"

He made me feel so bad I gave up.

I asked a similar question of MOBIL, this time the TBN of the new 0W-40, I received an email in return:


Thank you for your inquiry regarding the TBN number for Mobil 1 0W40. The
answer is 9. Trust this is of Help. Should you require further assistance
contact the undersigned on our freecall number. Thank you for choosing

Peter Morus

MOBIL LUBELINE free call 1800 033 863 fax 03 9286 5148

I have used Castrol products for the last 30 years, now considering Mobil.


[ February 18, 2004, 01:14 AM: Message edited by: DavoNF ]
Considering some of the response's given here, how can you say that any answer in not just marketing hype? These so called experts are mostly likely reading from a set of guidelines (FAQ's) they were given when they got the job and know nothing more than that.

Many companies won't give out much information. they don't want their competitors to know their product formulations or they don't want to consumer to be able to compare them to others as easily. When someone asked a highly technical question it would not surprise me if they thought that person was working for one of their competitors and was going to use the reply to gain a market advantage.

for instance:
I know someone who works for a major discount store chain. Her job is to keep track of the competitors sales, store pricing etc. She is one of many doing this. She roams the stores and compares prices and what not. So I would assume some smaller oil companies are doing the same trying to grab a bigger piece of the marker-place. Just look at all the advertising on TV for the different oils, its a cut-throat business.

[ February 18, 2004, 08:31 AM: Message edited by: Mike ]
I asked castrol why my toyota has a recommendation of 5/30 in N.A. but 0/40 or 5/40 in the rest of the world, was it because of CAFE?

this was the response

"Test criteria and performance demands required of lubricants differs from country to country.

CAFÉ is ‘Corporate Average Fuel Economy’.

Vehicle manufacturers must meet CAFÉ requirements. Therefore, most manufacturer’s primarily recommend SAE 5w-30 motor oil to assist them in meeting these requirements. By encouraging the use of this grade, manufacturers can utilize SAE 5w-30 in their testing to qualify vehicles for CAFÉ.

Lower viscosity oil like 5w-30 will provide an incremental improvement in fuel economy during vehicle qualification. This is important since manufacturers are required to pay significant and substantial fines if they fall short of the CAFÉ limit.

Lower viscosity oils will provide an incremental improvement of approximately 2%.

Thank you for your interest in Castrol, The Technology Leader!

Castrol Consumer Relations."

fairly honest and straightforward, no?
D they still have the chick that looks like Kelly Bundy as the "Ask the Expert"? No wonder you get replies like that...they set you up for the reply ahead of time!.
My take is it's the longest most obtuse way of saying "we're not going to tell you" that they could come up with. I think it's a blanket answer that could cover all the different types of what they would call synthetic.

Face it. The big oil companies consider their formulations proprietary. And the % of their customers who are actually interested is so minscule as to not be worth giving out information that the think could be used against them in one form or another.


Originally posted by FowVay:
That is the longest answer for "NO" that I've ever read.

I e-mailed the ask the expert, too, and got a canned, useless, chaotic answer.

To get the good German Castrol (not the wimpy North American Syntec), is all that is required is "Made in Germany" printed on the back? Is all that is required is that it is green and smells a little alcohol-like?
If it was PAO based you would take a short answer something like that >
At least this was the respont i took from BP Greece about the visco 7000 15W50 (PAO based).
Before I knew about the BP takeover, I asked the Castrol rep what oil would be good for the 10,000hp voith fluid couplings at work.

We were using BP bartran 32, with pretty good success, but their "guaranteed 24 hour delivery" was taking 8 weeks. Our stores destocked, based on the guarantee, and we were siphoning oil between plant to keep them running.....I wanted an alternative.

So the Castrol rep promises to get me an answer.

Two days later, the BP rep rings, to advise me on oils for the Voith. I asked him why he was ringing, and he advised that his field rep had spoken to him. I asked who, he gave me the Castrol rep's name.

Anyway, he advised me to use Bartran HV32 (full of VI Improvers, which we had proven unsuitable years ago, as it shears down too quick).

Wouldn't anwser why 24 hours meant 8 weeks.
berge's answer is about the most useful I've seen from practically every oil company I've tried to contact with a technical question.

Actually, I have to give another honorable mention to Dave Granquist at Red Line. I received a couple honest answers to specific questions from him.

--- Bror Jace
JohnBrowning, I think it is quite possible that, with all the 'outsourcing' of jobs in this country, somebody with limited knowledge in India or China might be answering these questions. They probably rarely receive a really detailed, knowledgeable question. The typical questions they receive are probably questions like how long should I go on one oil change, etc.

It is a waste of time trying to get good answers to good questions from these sources.
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