European Oils and the Mercedes Approval Process

Not open for further replies.
Jul 2, 2003
I tend to be partial to European formulated engine oils, a bias increased by having lived and driven in Europe. What I would like to hear from you all in the form of first-hand info or educated guess is: (1) Are European oils really that much better? I know they cost more but is that due to formulation issues or taxation on petroleum products in Europe (or both)? (2) How legit is the Mercedes approval process? Do they actually test oils in their engines and compare physical and technical results to produce the approved list or is it more a "political" thing (you can define political for this exercise both in terms of relations with the major oil producers and with the national entities in which Mercedes are sold or are popular? I find it interesting that of their 229.5 oils, there are French (ELF and Total), US/World (Mobil 1), German (Aral and Fuchs), UK/Northern Europe/World (Shell). Of course the Italians did get left out (Agip/ENI). Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Originally posted by moribundman:
Agip did not get left out. Look at this chart:

MB sheet 229.5 approved oils; "MB Longlife Service Oils"
for passenger cars with gas and diesel engines with extended drain intervals beyond 229.3 oils, to 30,000 km, min 1.8% fuel saving, service interval indicator FSS, first oils introduced summer 2002
Aral SuperTronic M SAE 5W-30
Elf Excellium 229.5 5W-30
Fuchs Titan Supersyn SL MB SAE 5W-30, MB Longlife Service Oil, first 229.5 oil
Mobil 1 0W-40
Shell Helix Ultra AB SAE 5W-30 (Mercedes-Benz)
Total Quartz 229.5 5W30

There is no Agip here...
Yannis, you're right, I was looking at the MB 229.3 spec oils.

over the last 45 years I have witnessed the products of DB' lubricants approval process
In the early years an "Approval" booklet was produced and this covered all lubricants and greases. It was both brand, application, type, viscosity and MB engine model specific

It was a succesful process then - and still is now! Some of their engines were very "hard" on the lubricants of the day - especially their diesels - use a non approved lubricant and you suffered the consequences

Having worked for Caltex-Chevron in Denmark and Daimler Benz I can assure you that the Approval process was Warranty "binding" and taught many persons many things about Tribology and etc.
I have visited Stuttgart, Worth and Sindelfingen many times and understand the Global marketing needs from the MB Engineers. As well, absorbing the disasters of failed dynasties like British Motor Corp. - Leyland!

I used MB approved lubricants ( with specific knowledge of their engines ) in "problem" engines from other manufacturers during the 1960's and later with great success. Those manufacturers at the time were not only the more well known names like Volvo, Ford, Opel etc.but Moskvich, ZAZ and etc.too

Whether they are as strict today I do not know but I can tell you that within the last 14 days here in Australia, ExxonMobil witheld marketing a batch of Delvac 1 in order to amend the labeling to satisfy the requirements of DB ( now of course DaimlerChrysler )

I have always put a great importance on the Approval of Porsche ( owner ),MB ( ex owner ), VW Group ( owner ) and the MIL specs.
ACEA is also there to satisfy the needs of these and other Euro manufacturers - as a counter to the USA's standards which led the World in a general sense for decades.
Better or Worse? Well, "different" and to meet their specific needs!

The Euro philosophy on engine design has always been different due to the various cultures, tax requirements, use factors and the over riding needs in enviromental management ( remember acid rain/Black Forest ? ). And manufacturing standards too!

I still purchase my lubricants and fuels ( about $A200 000 annually ) using the measures noted above - and the needs of my equipment. If I see the MB Approval and Porsche too, I feel more comfortable


Thanks so much for the extremely insightful answer. With all the hype and corporate politics, it is great to get an insider's perspective on what is real and what is PR. I believe that sometimes those things one thinks have got to be legit are the very things that aren't (and vice versa) and the only way to know is from someone who is or has "been there."

Again, thanks.

Not open for further replies.