I beleive that there a several recent posts on Valvoline oils wheather they're the regular dino, MaxLife or the syns/blends. All posts show positive comments all around when the OP asks others for their oppinions about which oil is better, Valvoline or XXXX brand. Often the oppinions are to buy by price. And thats always a good starting place!
Valvoline conventional oil is pretty much like all the other top brands. Their synthetic oil doesn't seem to get much discussion, and I assume the Valvoline share of the synthetic market is pretty low.
According to the Ashland annual report Valvoline is no longer an oil company, and they purchase base stocks and additives and blend them, and of course do marketing and distribution.
I really like the Valvoline MaxLife high mileage oil, and use it in a little 4 cylinder Grand Am that gets well abused by a 17 year old driver. The MaxLife is a nice, robust blend that performs well for the money. I wouldn't think of using a different oil in that engine, I'm that pleased with the MaxLife.
In the past, I have used the blue bottle DuraBlend, before I went to using straight synthetic in that vehicle (Penn. Platinum).
I don't think I've ever bought any of their conventional white bottle oil, or any of their synthetic. Just the two synthetic blends.
Valvoline is completely disappearing from the shelves up here in Canada. Still a fair bit of Maxlife, but the other types are fading away, it would seem.
Maxlife synthetic no longer sold at C-T, Durablend hasn't been sold ANYWHERE in 10+ years, and the amount of Valvoline on WM and C-T shelves, especially the conventional, gets smaller all the time....
I use Maxlife when it is on sale. Otherwise I use Napa brand High Mileage, which is very nearly the same. I get great results from both. I use Napa 5W20 conventional in my girlfriend's Accord. It gives the same good performance. Ashland manufactures Valvoline and the Napa brand oil and Napa is usually half the price of Valvoline brands.
I don't buy it by the jug. I buy quart bottles and my local Napa charges me $3.20 a quart for Napa brand HM 10W30. A quart of Maxlife at Napa is almost $6.00 here where I live. Valvoline conventional is over $4.00 per quart. I get Napa brand conventional 5W20 for $2.39 per quart. I don't even pay attention to the jug prices on Maxlife, and they do not sell Napa HM in jugs. I only use 4 quarts per OC. I have been buying my oil at my local Napa for a very long time, they know me and give me a little discount off the list price on oil and filters.
Come to think of it, I don't recall seeing any type or grade of Napa brand oil for sale in jugs. Although, I do see on the Napa web site, they have Valvoline conventional for $2.79 per quart this month. That is IF and only IF your Napa store chooses to participate in the sale. I'm patiently watching for a sale on Napa store brand so I can stock up a few cases.
When I first came to BITOG 10 years ago valvoline was considered the worst oil out there. I was gone for a couple years and has a much better rep these days.
PYB has been the overall number one conventional since I have been on here. Havoline/Chevron Supreme used to be considered at the top of the heap as well.
The dig on valvoline back then was the weakest add pack of any name brand dino.
I think Valvoline got good again when it went to SM.