European Oil Better Than American Oil

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Jan 1, 2006
Mount Dora FL, Penfield NY, Roswell NM
Three years ago, the Renault Laguna II, I leased stated that the first service should be at 30,000km and every 30,000km after that. (My calculator tells me that 30,000km is 18,750miles).

Well I finished making arrangements for my leased Renault Laguna which I will pick up in about six weeks. Received information on their cars, and every Gasoline car listed shows that "First Service is at 18,640 miles" (I'm not going to quibble between 18,640 and 18,750 miles ).
All their gasoline cars are like this, not only the Laguna II that I will pick up.

The majority of their Diesel cars are to have their oil changed at 9,320 miles (half the gasoline car's intervals) but a few are as much as 12,420 miles.

BTW, although many of you don't like French cars because they are - well, French, I have leased Renaults since 1989 and have never had any iota of problems, with any of them.

1989 - Renault 21, 1.9 Gasoline Engine.
1991 - Renault 21, 2.2 Diesel Engine.
1999 - Renault Laguna II, 1.6 16V DOHC Gasoline.
2001 - Renault Laguna II, 1.8 16V DOHC Gasoline.
The 2001 was the best shifting manual transmission car that I've ever had, and that includes the Honda and Toyota I once owned. This year my lease car will be a:
2006 - Renault Laguna, 2.0 16V DOHC Gasoline.
With the price of fuel over there, I would be just as happy with the 1.6, except they don't make the Laguna in that size anymore. (They have learned from us, making them bigger each year).


01 GoldWing
02 Continental
03 Marauder
The European automakers realized that they could sell twice as many cars if they changed the OCI to 10K from 5K miles, and sell four times as many cars if they extended the OCI to upward of 20K miles from 5K.
Diesel Renault of my sister has OCI at 18,000 miles, as did her previous gasser Renault. Thats standard at the moment. BTW, Europeans pay too much to change their cars twice as often:)
Looking back of the bottles I don't think so... But here, for the last decade PSA group engines are known for their reliability. On my former company maintenance and repair costs for Peugeots (diesel and gas) were like 1/3 of a 2 lt diesel VW. Less trouble at the higher kms too. Eventually they shifted all the fleet to the Peugeots (and a Citroën). The one failed was a diesel because of lack of coolant (cylinder head was erroded).

This year I came close to buying a Citroën C5. Looks like it is the only European with a suspension! If not that, their HDI engines proved to be dependable diesels. Many diesel or gas alternatives to choose: 1.6, 2.0, 2.2, 2.4, 3.0. But talk about too thick an A pillar and lack of visibility, and local importer's ignorance for not bringing the station wagon, or AT with a diesel!
When I go over in mid May, I have two friends with new cars. One is a:

Beautiful Peugeot 607 (one of the few truly beautiful French cars), and the other is an:

Alfa-Romeo GT (Italian Sports Car - Fast).

Will check their owners manuals to see what kind of oil change intervals these two cars call for.


01 GoldWing
02 Continental
03 Marauder
You are gonna beat me to the punch; our family is going to World Cup this summer; I hope to have some oil info to report. We are currently booked for Germany and Switzerland but may also include Italy and France...rental will be a BMW 525i or equivalent...oh boy...oh boy...oh boy.

PS On the original subject: I am a Euro oil believer fast and true.
Reliable Renaults?
I don't think so.
Look the german TUV 2006 reliability index for models 2&3 years old, laguna is in the bottom.

web page

and for older models ,renault twingo is in the last place.

web page
Could be, but I've never had one iota of problems with my last two Laguna II's or the two 21's I had before that.

You have to understand though that I only lease them for between 3 and 7 weeks, and put on less than 10,000km each time.


01 GoldWing
02 Continental
03 Marauder
Thats interesting. The VW Beetle which scored terrible in the US (Consumer Reports) scores higher that the Honda Accord! As do other VW models. Maybe the Krauts are a little nationalistic when reporting problems on their own countries cars.
By the way, here's the scientific question that CR uses:

"If you had any problems with your car in the last year that you considered SERIOUS because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, check the appropriate box(es) for each car. INCLUDE problems covered by warranty. DO NOT INCLUDE: 1) problems resuulting from accident damage; or 2) replacement of normal maintenance items (brake pads, batteries, mufflers) unless they were replaced much sooner or more often than expected."

Maybe the Krauts are a little nationalistic when reporting problems on their own countries cars.

As one of those genuine, native Krauts, I can assure you that the VW Sharan didn't have the engine fires that plagued the Ford Glaxy, which is built on the same platform.

PS: You ought to have said "their own country's cars," you Ami.
BTW I fail to realize 30K kms is a broad generality. More or less my perception is like 15 to 20k kms for the common majority of new irons. For instance, Alfa recommends 20K kms possible with only one Selenia 10w 40 oil. Which appears to be a CMCC G5 (PAO?).

I guess it would be illegal in US to require a brand name for a replacement item. So some "fine" details ,technical or legislative, may play a big role.
German Engineer friends tell me it is there belief that North American oils are superior.

In the meantime we at BITOG indulge in our AutoZone operations to abduct as much GC as our wallets or wives allow. Each side of the Atlantic is fixated on what is on the other side rather than local goods
For regular (non-synthetic) motor oils, I’d say the US (& Canada) have far superior oils than in Europe. In Europe they have just recently built a couple of modern Grp II based hydrocracking plants (2004).


oil report
In the European market, the need for higher fuel economy and higher performance engines created a market
for higher quality base oils years ago. PAOs were initially the only choice for the top-tier engine oils. Since then, Group IIIs have grown and penetrated into this market. Blends of Group III and Group I are typically used for mid-tier engine oils. Group II is virtually absent in Europe probably because the market developed before Group II technology was available for license and excess supplies in the region precluded building new base oil plants. But Group II imports are now trickling in to fill the gap and Group II will begin to be manufactured in Europe when Petrola Hellas starts up in 2004.

They’re still blending Grp I basestocks in a good portion of the motor oils in Europe and as pointed out, even in the mid-tier with Grp III’s. It only takes 6-8% aromatics to half the oxygen stability of an oil, so while they might just get under the wire for a NOACK volatility requirement by blending with a Grp III, the finished product will hold up no where near as well as even a Grp II based oil. It’s almost like pouring garbage into a Grp III basestock just to meet a few of the spec’s. A 5w-30 Grp II oil can meet the minimum spec’s like a 5w-30 synthetic, but it doesn’t have as high overall performance. A 50-50 blend of Grp I/III will likely have well over even that 6-8% of aromatics.

In order to blend a high quality non-synthetic 5w-30 (and even maybe a 10w-30) on a cost effective basis, one pretty well needs Grp II basestocks. For the heavier basestocks (that have lower volatility), with a Grp I based oil one can meet the spec’s easier, so low cost PCMO’s in Europe are likely 10w-40’s and some of the heavier spec’d oils. They have no way to blend (or didn’t until very recently) a low cost 5w-20/30 so it seems the oil companies push heavier weight oils in the low end. They have to do something with all that Grp I solvent refined oil capacity.

And then there is the European Grp III basestocks. A Grp III produced by the all hydroprocessing route like those produced here in NA by ChevronTexaco/Petro-canada are superior compared to the “old” Grp III oils, yet Europe had no plants (AFAIK until recently) to produce these high quality Grp III’s. So, so what type of Grp III oils is Europe using? Likely not overall as good as the Grp III’s in NA. unless they were importing them. When ChevronTexaco built their hydrocracking plant in 1993, they basically put the US 10 years ahead of he rest of the world in oil technology for non-synthetic PCMO’s.

The synthetic PAO’s and Grp V’s are good in Europe, but I would be hesitant to buy any of their other oils unless I knew what was in them.
Would the lack of decent Group II and Group III explain why Europeans generally use synthetic oils and why Group III can't be called synthetic over there?
"When ChevronTexaco built their hydrocracking plant in 1993, they basically put the US 10 years ahead of he rest of the world in oil technology for non-synthetic PCMO’s."

The RLOP plant I thought was in the late 80's??
anyway you are 200% correct.

No they are not better. Mobil 1, Amsoil, Redline and PP are every bit as good.
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