The Freezer Test!

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Jan 1, 2003
Daytona Beach
When I read a previous post by someone that put some quarts of oil in their freezer, I thought "What a GREAT Idea"! I've been looking for a good oil to run this winter, why not check the stuff in the garage and see how they compare. Well here are the results of my little informal test. I had three different brands of oil, the "elixer of the Gods" GC 0W-30, some Chevron Supreme 10W-30 and some Mobil Drive Clean (not blend) 10W-30. The test was to keep the oils in my freezer at 0 deg. F for 24 hours then see which ones would pour out well. Well the "winner" is the GC 0W-30 no big surprise, somewhat thicker, but flowing pretty well. The "looser" was the Chevron Supreme, THICK, nearly molasses like, long thin trails when you stopped pouring. Definitely NOT a wintertime oil! The real surprise was the Mobil Drive Clean conventional, EXCELLENT, nearly as free flowing as the GC for 1/4 the price, and rated a weight grade or so heavier too! I mean the difference was barely discernable between it and the GC at 0 deg. This MAY be one of the reasons for it's good performance in UOA's. Now the "test" could be a little more scientific I realize. But this was enough to convince me, try it yourself, you have everything you need!
I have had a small plastic cup of mobil 1 5w-30 SS and a cup of regular dino 5w-30 havoline (chevron version) in my freezer for over one month. Interesting that while the havoline turned a milky white it still pours very easily. The mobil stayed it's original color and also pours easily. This is at 0 f. also. Very unscientific test also.
The difference is, even at 0ºF, GC retains its full complement of vitamins and minerals.

Originally posted by pscholte:
The difference is, even at 0ºF, GC retains its full complement of vitamins and minerals.

I'll pass on the iron...

[ October 08, 2003, 10:49 PM: Message edited by: Tommy2 ]
I did this 10 years ago, except outside when the temps hit -25F. Mobil 1 5W30 vs. 5W30 Dino.

I simply poured the oil from one dixie cup to another to see how much they thickened. The Mobil 1 poured nearly as well as when warm. The dino stacked up on the receiving end like a molsasis would. In fact, after I was done pouring, the surface of dino oil looked kind of like the top of a Fannie Mae chocolate candy.

Ofcourse, the wife thought I was absolutely nuts.

[ October 08, 2003, 11:35 PM: Message edited by: DockHoliday ]
Perhaps we could organize a group of people here who have freezers and have each group test two or three motor oils (nobody would be able to afford to test every oil). We could test all of the most common conventional and synthetic motor oils.

There would probalby be some surprises, like the surprise above that Mobil Drive Clean flowed almost as well as GC.

And we would find out what motor oils really are good for the cold. How about testing the new Quaker State Winter Blend?

Originally posted by Mystic:
There would probalby be some surprises, like the surprise above that Mobil Drive Clean flowed almost as well as GC.


Please understand that the GC knew it was up against a dino oil and it wasn't really trying.
Yeah, that was probably it. The GC knew that it was up against a 10 second runner, and why run a 9 second and risk injuring yourself when the competition is so poor? You could pull a muscle or something.
I see you TRULY understand. This is an interesting experiment, though. Your idea was a good one...people could just test a little of what they have on hand and report the results. It would have to be scientifically exacting, just a rough idea of which oils handle the cold better than others.

[ October 08, 2003, 11:47 PM: Message edited by: pscholte ]
Of course, the wife thought I was absolutely nuts.

So did mine she was ready to call for pickup from the guys in the white suits, I filled +10F freezer with every brand of oil I could buy in the local area. Mobil 1 was the only synthetic I could find at the time, this was 15 years ago. After two days Mobil 1 was the only one that would pour out of the bottle. But the old Phillips Trop-Artic was in second place.
I am pretty curious about that Quaker State Winter Blend. Quaker State says that they tested it in North Dakota. They seem to be saying that it can flow as good as Mobil 1. It costs less then Mobil 1 and would give protection to an engine in the cold. But how about if there was a warm spell-would it still protect?

If it works as well as they claim, it might be worth consideration by people in states like Minnesota. Lee cost and still protection.
The ones that have seen active duty in my freezer are :
Castrol SLX 0W-30, didn't even seem to notice it was cold (at over $30 per litre, it wouldn't want to have noticed it either).

Mobil 1 0W-40, and Redline 10W-40 appeared much the same.

Valvoline XLD 20W-50, you could hold the jar upside down for 5 seconds before having to turn it back the right way.

Shell Helix 25W-70 behaved similarly to XLD, however, displayed some transverse ridges across the direction of flow that I took to indicate close to solidification.
A while back I asked a question-of the three conventional motor oils that have looked really good in UOAs at this web site, which is the best? The three oils were Pennzoil, Chevron, and Castrol. Supposedly Castrol does not have a really low pour point so it came down to Pennzoil and Chevron. Well, I guess the amswer is Pennzoil is the best! Because the Chevron lso apparently does not flow well in the cold.
Guys, I posted my Havoline Synthetic freezer test results in a previous post. Interseting that the another person from this post had their regular havoline turn milky like mine did.

I have also put Castrol GTX 10w-30 in my freezer and it was on par with pennzoil 10w-30 and the Havoline synthetic 10w-30. I ran 10w-30 GTX in my previous ride, a 99 Grand Am, and it started the same as any oil out there. The only oil I've ever seen that is truel remarkeable in cold weather is mobil 1. It just doesn't seem to thicken up at all in my freezer at least
If you want, we have a bearing freezer at work, ( to freeze the bearings that go in the Pratt & Whitney F100-220 jet engine) that I can use, it goes down to -40 F.
What is really strange about this is Castrol 5w-30 really did well in one of my ice box tests. And it has one of the highest pour points of 5w mineral oils. It poured as well as motorcraft 5w-30. Do you think Castrol may have screwed up and put gc in a GTX bottle? I doubt it. My wife opens the ice box and just rolls her eyes. She wants to make me motor oil freezer pops.
I tested Mobil1 5w-30, Castrol GTX 5w-30, and Castrol Syntec 5w-50 a couple years ago. The Mobil1 5w-30 was pouring pretty good, but the Castrol 5w-50 was thick as ever. The Castrol GTX 5w-30 was pretty decent , a bit thicker than the Mobil1 in appearance but much better than the Castrol 5w-50 syntec. I did the test because I was led to believe that the synthetic Castrol 5w-50 protected at both extremes of temps. But when I used the Castrol 5w-50 in my Prelude in winter the car was strained when it came to starting in dead cold use. So I had to see for myself and found out that my suspicions were right.
Drew99, I think this is called the "cloud point" when referring to diesel fuel. Though it's usually not a test applied to motor oil, when determined for diesel fuel, it is the point when the "wax" or parrifin starts to crystalize. These crystals can then collect on filter media surfaces and cause plugging of the filter. Since in the fuel systems of diesel tractors, there are no bypass valves, the results are a dead engine.
If someone would devise a scientifically exacting test, I think we could get some good info here, and maybe another chart like the GC list of lot numbers. The test will not be easy to come up with. It should not influence the temperature of the fluid being tested, it should be repeatable, and it should be able to be performed with stuff found around the house or easily (read cheaply) purchased. I have a cloud point tester for diesel fuel at work, it will go down to -40F as well. It will be able to tell you when the oil gets solid! BTW this is known as the "pour point" in fuel oils.
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