Good oil? No way to find out.

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Jun 21, 2003
I think that some information presented in this post might be very controversial or simply wrong. However, I can’t be silent reading your discussions about advantages and downsides of engine oils.

I see a lot of experience and knowledge behind most of the posts. As well we can see many lab conclusions, analysis, test results, objective, and subjective oil ratings. I’m sure all posts have some ground to back this information up; otherwise you wouldn’t post information (hopefully).

My opinion – there is no way you can find the best oil for your engine, or gearbox, or differential. All information presented in test and labs quite far from reality. It is certainly biased, unless tested by independent government organization with no knowledge which brand or grade is it beforehand.

But the real problems are driving conditions. There are too many variables to consider. Factors like engine type, operating temp, how well it was maintained, outside temp, driving style, humidity, etc. etc. must be taken into consideration. One type of oil might be good for one type of car and driving conditions, other oil can perform better for other car.

There is no way, I suppose, to see what is the wear for the specific engine unless you take absolutely same cars put them in a gear and run at 5000 rpm for 6 (or more) months with recommended oil changes, or maybe extending drain interval. After the test disassemble both engines, transmissions, and etc. and compare their wear values. I think only in this case you can tell which oil protects better and offer less wear numbers for conditions similar to test. You can also compare fuel economy, oil analysis and make some conclusions base on them.

Also organizations must take into consideration cost-benefit analysis. Is it worth to put in fleet engines synthetics at cost 4 times higher compared to regular oils? If synthetic can provide extra 20,000 miles to the engine does it really matter for commercial engine with half a million miles already on it? Or is it just simpler to throw it away and buy a new track?

If I am wrong, please indicate my mistakes and misunderstanding so I can extend my knowledge of lubricants, their effects and properties.

Thank you,
My opinion is that there is no such thing as "the best oil" for every car. Some oils perform better than others in one engine, but might not be the same in another.

But on this site we have been able to see which oils are consistently better than others. Plus it's pretty fun to do experimentation too, which is why I don't just run one single oil in all of the cars I do oil changes with.
Well the real key in the engine being used and the driveing conditions. If you compare say Mobil 1 5W30 that has been in a Toyota 22RE wich is pretty gentle on oil to a Toyota 3VZE wich is really hard on oil you will get totaly different results!! When compareing oil you really have to have either the same engine or a very similar design and alot of samples. If not then you have an apple to orange comparsion. If you find an oil that does well in engines that chew oil up then it should stand to reason that it would protect well. You also get into the marginal return issue. If you do not have a sludge monster how much better off would you be with redline compared to the price leader M1.Then you have to ask your self if you really need a synthetic at all? Why not a group II+? I am sure most of us at this site could get long life with group II+ oils and more frequent drains. I look at this site kind of like a hobby that just happens to benifit my car's. I am trying to see just how little wear I can get from the right oil or sweetened home brew. It is not unlike getting a fast speed trap at the track! THat 9.99 ticket is for bragging rights not for any other reason!!
I would more or less agree with Titanium Alloy as all the variables that he elluded to would impact on the how the rating of whether an oil is good, marginal or bad is reached. Regarding those who run tests and the like, in reality one has to conduct a sufficient number of tests in a controlled manner to make any significant claims. Those that are familar with any of the ASTM laboratory bench tests or the many dynamometer engine tests are aware of the precision statements that are part of those standard procedures. Repeatibility and reproducibility for any test need to be adhered to if one is going to make claims of good, better or best. Single vehicle car tests are great for experimentation, but would certainly not hold up to any technical review as they would be considered inadequate.
I agree there is no “best oil”, there is only the oil that is best for you and for your driving situation. And I think this forum is a great way to figure that out.

I’d used Mobil 1 in all our cars for many years with excellent results. But I was intrigued one day reading about Redline synthetic. It sounded so much better than the Mobil. More horsepower! Faster turbo spool-up! Made from the only base stock that can withstand the heat of a jet turbine! The stuff was indestructible! And only $2 a quart more—here it was, the world’s greatest oil—and you only need to change it once a year!

So I switched. And sure enough, the engine (WRX turbo) DID perform better from a subjective point of view. Oil pressure was better, the engine felt tighter, and I swear there was an increase in induction howl that made the car sound like a Tie fighter out of Star Wars. Ok, don’t ask me to explain why the changes, but it did seem like I was getting a better deal with the Redline.

Then I found this site and saw the increased wear numbers for the Redline and the alarming way the TBN plummeted on many UOA’s. Not so with the Mobil. The UOA’s I saw were telling me that the “increase” in performance from the Redline was coming at a generally higher cost in engine wear.

Not saying that Redline is not a good oil—it’s certainly one of the best, especially if you are into better performance. But engine longevity is more important to me (the WRX already has enough performance to endanger the ol’ license just as it is!), so the info posted on this site was invaluable in helping me make an informed decision to switch back to Mobil 1.
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