Synthetic label - are you sure?

Messages
2,351
Location
Southwest Virginia
From Tom Glenn article in Lubes-N-Greases Magazine, August 2014: "Even more concerning, what’s to stop a marketer from labeling as synthetic a run of the mill conventional PCMO containing Group I or II base oils? Unfortunately there is very little to stop it, since no tests exist to verify that the finished product is made entirely from Group III vs. Group I or II or a blend of these. What’s more, even if one could prove the product was not made with synthetic base oils, there are no legal or regulatory penalties to stop the practice since no official/legal definitions exist for the category. With Group II base oils costing about 35% less than Group III and finished synthetic oils selling for roughly 50% more than conventional, a strong incentive for cheating certainly exists - and sources say it is taking place." Full LNG Article Tom NJ
 
Messages
17,340
Location
Silicon Valley
That's the main reason why Europeans have their own ACEA spec, GM has the dexos, and Toyota requires 0w20 (because you can't make a group 1/2 0w20).
 
Messages
7,418
Location
FL, USA
This gives you a good reason to check the specs sheet. Mobil 1 0w20 has a mrv of around 9,000 at -40. Group 2 oils can not meet these specs. Same with TGMO with a 40F spec of 36. VSP however with a 40F spec of 47 isn't all that inspiring.
 
Messages
11,844
Location
PA
Originally Posted By: PandaBear
That's the main reason why Europeans have their own ACEA spec, GM has the dexos, and Toyota requires 0w20 (because you can't make a group 1/2 0w20).
Originally Posted By: gregk24
This gives you a good reason to check the specs sheet.
^ All of this. If you look for the right approvals and specs, you'll get the right product no matter what it's made of. If you try to focus on what it's made of, you're at the mercy of marketing teams -- and even if they're telling the truth, the product might miss the mark. Total no-brainer.
 
Messages
12,925
Location
Northern Kentucky
Yep, the specs sheet helps. Although if the company can use the premium additive package and make an oil perform to certain specifications the exact base oil composition isn't extremely important.
 
Messages
7,485
Location
S California
Maybe oil should be classified by is base stock or combination of base stocks and the word "synthetic" ignored. Tell me this. What does "semi-synthetic" mean would be useful in making a choice? And after all this, most people get what ever oil someone else picks, anyhow. Or if a DIY person then, whichever oil has the best advertising campaign. After all who could argue against an oil with a banner at a NASCAR race?
 
Messages
40,715
Location
Great Lakes
Originally Posted By: d00df00d
If you look for the right approvals and specs, you'll get the right product no matter what it's made of.
Agreed. "Synthetic" is not a spec. Alas, for many people, the term "synthetic oil" is synonymous with premium quality. Those are the people that may be duped here.
 
Messages
3,508
Location
Delaware
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Originally Posted By: d00df00d
If you look for the right approvals and specs, you'll get the right product no matter what it's made of.
Agreed. "Synthetic" is not a spec. Alas, for many people, the term "synthetic oil" is synonymous with premium quality. Those are the people that may be duped here.
+1 Synthetic or not no matter the group means nothing. It is the performance tht matters.
 
Messages
1,227
Location
Columbus Nebraska
I agree with what all have answered to the OP, but I think (and maybe I am wrong) that he was saying that no matter what it says on the bottle or on a "spec sheet" that the company could put lower quality oil in the bottle, and who would know, since even the lower cost oils from major companys are good stuff now days.
 

MolaKule

Staff member
Messages
21,908
Location
Iowegia - USA
There is no standard for defining a semi-synthetic's percentage of higher group base oils. A partial synthetic or para-synthetic is a mixture of one or more Group I through III base oils combined with base oils of Groups IV and/or V, with a PI package and a viscosity index improver. In today’s vernacular, a semi-synthetic is a mixture of one or more Group I through III base oils with a co-base of PAO, usually with a PAO content of 10% to 50% of the total base oil makeup. When PAO is added to mineral base oils, the oxidative stability and VI of the final mix is improved.
 
Messages
17,241
Location
Upper Midwest
Like most everything I read from this organization, it is short on specifics. They provide no proof that fraud is occurring of course, they can only come up with "sources say it is taking place". Why doesn't Lubes-N-Greases check it out rather than writing what is essentially a worthless article? And as others have pointed out the composition of the oil is virtually meaningless, the specifications are what's important. Is the magazine alleging that there are oils out there that do not meet their published specifications? If so, perhaps they should be investigating that. How about showing me that my M1 0W-40 doesn't meet ACEA A3/B3?
 
Messages
772
Location
Ohio
Thanks for posting the article. I found the following quote of the most interest: How does a consumer know that the motor oil they are paying a premium for is in fact synthetic? I'm fine with establishing requirements for “synthetic” product. But why not sharpen the point a bit: Is the API interested in assisting the consumer in determining whether the motor oil they are paying a premium for is in fact somehow superior? Especially in light of the singular nature of the API's approach to PCMO labeling (currently SN). The API is either going step up to address the potentially different tiers of product or stick to their single shot muzzle loader in a cartridge repeater world.
 
Messages
40,715
Location
Great Lakes
Originally Posted By: old1
that no matter what it says on the bottle or on a "spec sheet" that the company could put lower quality oil in the bottle,
Well, I guess that depends on what exactly is listed on the "spec sheet". If the spec sheet says that an oil officially meets MB 229.5 spec, then I don't really care if the manufacturer uses PAO or Canola, and neither does Mercedes. All they care is that the oil passes the stringent tests that are required to obtain the 229.5 certification, and rightfully so.
 
Messages
11,844
Location
PA
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Originally Posted By: old1
that no matter what it says on the bottle or on a "spec sheet" that the company could put lower quality oil in the bottle,
Well, I guess that depends on what exactly is listed on the "spec sheet". If the spec sheet says that an oil officially meets MB 229.5 spec, then I don't really care if the manufacturer uses PAO or Canola, and neither does Mercedes. All they care is that the oil passes the stringent tests that are required to obtain the 229.5 certification, and rightfully so.
Well said.
 
Messages
45
Location
NC
There's no way this is happening intentionally. Can defects slip past in the manufacturing process? Statistically unlikely, but given enough volume, it's reasonable that some errors are made. Would any legit manufacturer do this intentionally? Would a world class manufacturer blindly allow inferior product out the door? If no, would they dedicate valuable resources to manage passing inferior product off as something it's not? Come on.
 
Messages
262
Location
Central Florida
API is dependent on the oil industry for their income. Their standards are substandard compared to ACEA. Their "pay to play" strategy destroys their creditability. Charge for testing is fine... but a royalty for every Qt. sold...Seriously, are they gonna tell Shell or MobilExxon that one of their brands didn't make it. They should be totally independent and not make a dime from the sale of any company's product. A good example is Valvoline NEXGEN that failed the NOACK done by PQI but was passed and certified by API. Who was right? Who got the $$$? Who knows.....JMHO
 
Messages
13,893
Location
Kendall, FL
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Alas, for many people, the term "synthetic oil" is synonymous with premium quality. Those are the people that may be duped here.
99% of the populous
 
Messages
13,893
Location
Kendall, FL
Although I agree with the 'no matter what it's labeled as, so long as it meets approvals' line of reasoning, wouldn't it be more credible to have things delineated in the manner which european countries demand the oil companies separate conventional from synthetic? Allowing them to get by on specs alone also allows for a company to say they meet a spec but didn't want to pay for the right to put 'approved' on the bottle.
 
Messages
1,723
Location
Virginia
Originally Posted By: mdboulier
There's no way this is happening intentionally. Can defects slip past in the manufacturing process? Statistically unlikely, but given enough volume, it's reasonable that some errors are made. Would any legit manufacturer do this intentionally? Would a world class manufacturer blindly allow inferior product out the door? If no, would they dedicate valuable resources to manage passing inferior product off as something it's not? Come on.
This. While it might be happening, I highly doubt it's being done by any oil company with a respectable reputation at stake. Pennzoil is still trying to shake the rumor from the 60's that their oil causes wax build up that will clog your engine. That never happened and some people still believe it, so imagine if they were actually busted putting primarily Group I and II oil in their synthetic oil and then lying about the specs. They're not going to do that, they would lose so much of their market share that it's not worth the minor profit increase they would make by doing it. Now some small no-name discount brand oil, they don't have a reputation at stake, so although I don't know that it's actually happening I would assume that's where it's more likely to happen. Those are probably the oils that get busted by PQI for not meeting the minimum specs required. But any of those big brand-name companies, none of those guys would do that because of the long term affects against their reputation.
 
Top