The smell of oils

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Jun 19, 2002
Everytime I use a different oil, I smell it before I put it in. I don't know why and I know it probably doesn't mean anything. Here are my recent observations:

Havoline - smells mineral oil, they all smell the same.
Mobil Drive clean - smells mineral oil
Mobil1 (tri-syn) - almost has a kind of sweet smell.
MaxLife - can hardly smell a trace of mineral oil. It also has a somewhat sweet smell.
Royal Purple - Smells mostly like a mineral oil

The reason I posted this is I'm now curious as to what synthetics have a dominant smell, or is the differences in the additive package? From my testing (if you call it that), I'd say that esters have a dominant smell. But what about PAO's?
Chris A,

I have two 4 oz. bottles each of pure PAO and TMP ester and at room temperature, neither one has any real smell to it.

I have a Qt. bottle of non Detergent 20W20 mineral oil that I use for lubricating electric fan bearings and it contains only a non-foaming additive, and barely has a smell.

I would have to say its the additives that give rise to the "sweet smell of vapors."

Now when you heat the base oils, the esters definately smell sweet, while the PAO smells more like mineral oil. In any case, I would not breath the volatized vapors of any fluids.
Well, now this IS a funny topic because, my friend and I have been doing this over the past few weeks (not straight of course!

So far, the only oil that smells so clean (I know this means iddly squat!) that one could drink it (not literally) is Castrol Syntec. If they were to lower Syntec to say $3-$3.50/qt then I would buy it as it has done well from what I've heard. But now Im thinking Shaeffers for sure!
What is interesting about MaxLife oil is that if one reads the MSDS on it they will find that its a group II oil mixed with what looks to me like a PAO. The CAS# is what gives me that feeling. If not a PAO its definetely NOT your regular run of the mill dino oil.

This is why it doesnt smell bad.
This is your brain on drugs!

This is your brain on Havoline uncut "SL"

Background...sound of eggs cooking....

Sounds like some serious huffing going on, Y'all enjoy yerselves, I'm sticking with tequila!
Try Motul 300V. It is the best smelling oil ever! It seriously smells good enough to drink.
My personal favorite is the Pennzoil multigrades. The smell of it reminds me of Corn oil that you cook with. Makes me want to use it in my engine for that reason alone! MMMMM good!
In the old days, 20 years ago when I lived in Texas and everyone was using straight 30W because it was so darn hot, you could blind fold me and line up Pennzoil, Quaker State, Valvoline, and Castrol, and I could smell them and tell you which ones they were. Strange but true. I can't do that anymore.

Canuk: If you want to use Pennzoil because you like the way it smells, that's good enough for me.

Originally posted by VaderSS:
How about the way gear oil used to smell. That stuff was POTENT. Probably the sperm whale oil...

One of the worst lubricant smells I ever smelled was the supercharger fluid GM sells for the 3800 series blowers! Man that stuff reeks!
Sprintman, " Checkout Delvac 1. Like a good Burgundy/pino should smell for those into wine? In otherwords stinks like the barnyard. This post really is 'off topic' "

Hey, nothing wrong with that smell as long as you step in it!

The sweetest smelling oil I ever came across was the 0W30 Gulf-II synthetic. Now I don't know if this is true, but someone from the refinery told me they put perfume in it top attract female cumstomers.

Now just think about this for a minute. A beautiful woman with sweet smelling motor oil on her body. Could a guy really ask for more?????

most of the smell comes from the additives, but the amount of Sulfur in the base oil can vary it significantly.
If you look at the Sulfur in the Chevron and Excel (Pennzoil) base oils, it is less than 6 ppm. Exxon 100 LPSN is 3900 ppm. Mobil at 2500 and Shell at 1700.

Where in the HECK did you find a 0w-30 Gulf II dyn. oil at? Thats interesting! I thought that it was only sold overseas now?
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