Is all name brand oil that meets specs the same?

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Okay well how do I know which one is the best oil and which ones surpass the requirements?
I think you can only make your own conclusions based on additives, base stocks, UOA's, NOACK volatility, HTHS, etc.
Even then you can't be totally sure but using that type of info seems logical to me.
 
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You'll never know. You can go by two things: 1. How tough the standards actually are and 2. Claims made in regards to the standards. There is a high probability under typical oil change intervals and driving conditions minimum standards are good enough not to make a difference. I don't think it's any secret being timely and consistent on oil/filter changes is more significant than branding. I don't care what you use, if it's spec'd for the engine and you change it regularly the rest of the car and external engine accessories should fall apart well before the oiled internal parts wear out (except for engines with bad designs/known design issues).
BUT if you do lack taking care of your maintenance OR you actually believe going 10k+ on an oil change is a good idea (I don't personally) the claims vs the standards might actually mean something to you. I won't look them all up but Valvoline, Pennzoil and Castrol all boast about how many times better than the standard their oil performs here or there. For example here is one from Valvoline extended performance:
  • Full synthetic formula that is 10X stronger against oil breakdown vs. industry standards as tested in the industry Sequence IIIHA test
Depending on how hard your particular engine is on oil, what type of driving you do and how long you wait to change oil that MIGHT BE (or might not be) worthwhile over unknown claims of breakdown other than meeting "the standard"

I also don't take standards as gospel. Why, because why would car manufacturers want your engines to last forever. That's bad business. Minimum standard is likely based on being stringent enough for a reliable 200k miles since 90% don't keep vehicles post l past that. I want over 300k+ miles so I do take into consideration oils that have X times better claims vs not knowing. Even without concrete test claims I know Exxon/Mobil 1 does SOMETHING to claim their extended performance to be extended performance so while I won't increase oil change intervals if I use Mobil 1 in going to pay the extra 50¢ per gallon per 5 gallon jug vs regular M1. I'm not going to miss the $2.
 
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I think you can only make your own conclusions based on additives, base stocks, UOA's, NOACK volatility, HTHS, etc.
Even then you can't be totally sure but using that type of info seems logical to me.
Perhaps you can but I am not qualified to read a PDS showing typical values and/or an SDS and make quantitative quality determinations.
 
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I'll push back a little bit. Let me provide VOAs (done by others, I assume they are honest), of the same/similar oils but different companies that show fairly significant differences. Big variations of Moly, Boron, and other ingredients. I assume one formula "must" be a better performer. It would seem that all oil companies would gravitate toward the better product, but that costs more.

First, this inexpensive Carquest/Fram 5w40 has no Moly (a highly regarded friction modifier) and only 68 Boron (a cleaner and friction modifier).

Here's a Quaker State 5w40 Euro. 93 Moly and 242 Boron.

This Mobil1 0w40 has 80 Moly and 313 Boron.

And this Redline 0w40 has over 569 Moly and 91 Boron

I'm inclined to believe, to an extent, MORE MOLY and BORON is probably beneficial. So on the low cost end, we have Carquest and the high end we see what Redline looks like.

How much it matters, is up for debate. But we do see big VOA differences in formulas.
The only problem with your thinking is that you are making assumptions on nothing more then your feelings of what should be in an oil based on no science at all.
They all meet the same requirements of the engine maker. I cant remember the last time I saw a vehicle in my state blowing blue smoke from worn out piston rings or the last time I ever heard of a blown motor.

With that said, even if you choose oil based your comparison above, which I want to say I am not in anyway is inferior to anyway someone else buys oil because in the end, if its the correct API it is all the same even if the reason is wrong. That wrong reason is oil marketing materials get into some peoples head make one product sound better then the other.

As far as flaws in your thinking and what I perceive as marketing getting your head. Your making a comparison of Carquest oil of one viscosity with Mobil 1 of another viscosity. Yet the Mobile 1 Truck and SUV dual rated oil 5w40 oil has no moly in it and almost the same amount of boron as the carquest, two elements that are important to you but make no difference as far as the performance of any of the products mentioned.

All motor oil of the same ratings are equal. Different ways of meeting those standards.

Not that this has anything to do with the conversation but does show a point about different ways of meeting standards.
Piston Aircraft engines, one major concern with them is the build up of piston deposits so NO Moly or Boron is used in AeroShell 15w50 oil and its not even a "full synthetic".
I think we can agree aircraft oil is a pretty important oil much more so then automobile.

From Shell -
"The combination of non-metallic anti-wear additives and selected high viscosity index mineral and synthetic base oils, give exceptional stability, dispersancy and anti-foaming performance. The advanced additive package in AeroShell W 15 W 50 provides excellent protection to engines operating at extreme ambient temperatures. The ashless anti-wear additive package provides exceptional wear protection for camshafts and lifters and other wearing surfaces."
 
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While store brands could offer the same benefits, some people still prefer name brands that ride on their long lasting reputation and being in business for long time. Nothing wrong with that either, people pay extra for well established brands.
 

OVERKILL

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Yeah, but at half the price of M1 you can change oil twice as often. Perhaps half shorter OCI will be more beneficial with cheaper oils?
Just buy M1 on sale and then the differential is nowhere near as large. I change via the OLM, so I'm running the same interval regardless. Short changes are a waste of resources, though I understand many won't share that opinion.
 
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M1 EP with rebate was great for $10, but with 3 cars, its not enough to last. I got turbo GDI, and I think it dilutes oil a bit, need to have it tested. It may need sooner oil change than OLM OCI….
 
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If brand name is truly the only difference, and ALL else remains the same (comparing the same product levels)... I will go out on a limb and say all national brand motor oils are equivalent: Mobil, Valvoline, Castrol, Quaker State, Pennzoil, etc. Just my $0.02.
I can hardly wait to see all the hair splitters tell me how wrong I am LOL.
 
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If brand name is truly the only difference, and ALL else remains the same (comparing the same product levels)... I will go out on a limb and say all national brand motor oils are equivalent: Mobil, Valvoline, Castrol, Quaker State, Pennzoil, etc. Just my $0.02.
I can hardly wait to see all the hair splitters tell me how wrong I am LOL.
Nobody would be able to have a definitive prove, it comes down to personal preferences and personal satisfaction with the brand.
 
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Both of my vehicles simply require that the oil meets the API starburst symbol, idiot proof I guess (?)…so basically cones down to price!

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OVERKILL

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If brand name is truly the only difference, and ALL else remains the same (comparing the same product levels)... I will go out on a limb and say all national brand motor oils are equivalent: Mobil, Valvoline, Castrol, Quaker State, Pennzoil, etc. Just my $0.02.
I can hardly wait to see all the hair splitters tell me how wrong I am LOL.
In some cases the upper product levels don't exist though.

Mobil Super would be the equivalent to Kirkland or Supertech, then there are three tiers of product above that though, which don't exist in those competing brands. So while they may all have the same approvals (particularly when we are talking API stuff) the component selection and additive package on the upper tier oils are considerably better. This may result in better performance than the minimum spec required in some of the tests and may result in increased cleanliness.
 
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