What makes European car oil special......Volkswagen ratings, etc?

Messages
58
Location
NJ
Hi everyone,
I recently purchased a new Volkswagen GLI, the requires VW 508 - 0w20 oil. This is the first modern European car that I have ever owned, so the world of "special" oil is all new to me. I come from a Japanese car background (Toyota/Nissan and an air-cooled VW and an Explorer) so for the past twenty-five years or so, I have mostly run Mobil 1 5-30 with great success and much longevity. In Japanese cars oil changes are simple, in that I can buy the oil at Costco or Walmart easily.
So what exactly makes European engine oil different from the run of the mill Mobil 1 5w30 that I have been using for a very long time? In the VW world there are 502, 504, 508, etc spec oils, I assume there are some major differences between them all?
At the moment Costco has Kirkland 0w20 oil on sale, yes the weight is correct for my new GLI, but obviously it doesn't meet the VW 508 spec. I of course will not be using the Kirkland oil in my car, but it makes one wonder why the "correct" spec oil is so different. If someone put the wrong VW spec oil in a car, but the weight of the oil is correct, will the engine self destruct within a few miles? I wonder how many "quick oil change" places don't use the correct spec oil in European cars.......
I figured I would ask the experts here, because this is new territory for me.


Thank you!
 
Messages
6,970
Location
Wet side WA
Special in who's mind. I have very serious doubts its any better than domestic oil. The hype you hear is more involved with trade than actual quality. If it isn't so much better why aren't we seeing more 1,000,000 mile cars using this oil?
 
Messages
40,604
Location
Great Lakes
If it isn't so much better why aren't we seeing more 1,000,000 mile cars using this oil?
Most people don't care to keep their cars that long, so why should manufacturers spend money on trying to make engines last that long?
What people do care about is more power and better fuel economy, and meeting such requirements results in more stressed engines, which possibly requires a better lubricant?
 
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40,604
Location
Great Lakes
So what exactly makes European engine oil different from the run of the mill Mobil 1 5w30
This question gets asked a lot around here.

Most engine mfgs have come up with their own oil specs these day... VW, MB, BMW, Ford, Chrysler, GM. I suppose the Japanese makes are the only hold out making it do with regular API stuff, and more power to them for doing so.

There are various comparison tools and oil spec docs that you can review to find the differences between specs. API specs have become more stringent over the years in order to address issues faced by modern turbo/DI engines, inching closer toward mfg specs, but maybe not quite there yet. Some engine manufacturers decided that API/ACEA is not good enough, and that if they're going to warranty your engine, then they are going to require you to use a specific lubricant.
 
Messages
6,970
Location
Wet side WA
This question gets asked a lot around here.

Most engine mfgs have come up with their own oil specs these day... VW, MB, BMW, Ford, Chrysler, GM. I suppose the Japanese makes are the only hold out making it do with regular API stuff, and more power to them for doing so.

There are various comparison tools and oil spec docs that you can review to find the differences between specs. API specs have become more stringent over the years in order to address issues faced by modern turbo/DI engines, inching closer toward mfg specs, but maybe not quite there yet. Some engine manufacturers decided that API/ACEA is not good enough, and that if they're going to warranty your engine, then they are going to require you to use a specific lubricant.

Yes they do because it give them an extra slice of the pie.
 
Messages
1,233
Location
Vancouver
If I was warrantying a vehicle for several years I would probably also want to make sure the oil being used was of adequate quality. The reason the euros can use a longer drain interval is because of these specs. If they used a regular API spec, there would no way to ensure the customer wouldn't just use basic, cheap oil and continue to try to run long drain intervals. This is why the Japanese are mainly still using ~5k interval.
 
Messages
6,970
Location
Wet side WA
I don't know about 508.00 oil specifically, as it's kind of new, but in general, most of the oils that carry mfg specs don't cost any more than all other synthetic oils at places like Walmart, etc.

Its just like D1G2 GM gets their slice of the pie they have to pay GM to license the oil and pay for the cert. What does that really do for us. Nothing more unless you enjoy Oil hype.
 
Messages
40,604
Location
Great Lakes
What does that really do for us. Nothing more unless you enjoy Oil hype.
I haven't seen any data out there that would confirm or deny your statement.

In general though, if one has an issue with a particular engine manufacturer's oil requirements, then one should not be buying their products. Alternatively, buy the product and ignore their oil requirements, and face potential warranty claim issues.
 
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6,267
Location
KY
I haven't seen any data out there that would confirm or deny your statement.

In general though, if one has an issue with a particular engine manufacturer's oil requirements, then one should not be buying their products. Alternatively, buy the product and ignore their oil requirements, and face potential warranty claim issues.

Precisely. Some “experts” complain about manufacturer oil standards but in 37 years of continuous BMW ownership I haven’t found that finding and using the proper oil to be either difficult or expensive- although there are those who find reading their owners manual and correlating the recommended standards to readily available oils to be far too intellectually challenging.
 
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Messages
25,781
Location
MA, Mittelfranken.de
Hi everyone,
I recently purchased a new Volkswagen GLI, the requires VW 508 - 0w20 oil. This is the first modern European car that I have ever owned, so the world of "special" oil is all new to me. I come from a Japanese car background (Toyota/Nissan and an air-cooled VW and an Explorer) so for the past twenty-five years or so, I have mostly run Mobil 1 5-30 with great success and much longevity. In Japanese cars oil changes are simple, in that I can buy the oil at Costco or Walmart easily.
So what exactly makes European engine oil different from the run of the mill Mobil 1 5w30 that I have been using for a very long time? In the VW world there are 502, 504, 508, etc spec oils, I assume there are some major differences between them all?
At the moment Costco has Kirkland 0w20 oil on sale, yes the weight is correct for my new GLI, but obviously it doesn't meet the VW 508 spec. I of course will not be using the Kirkland oil in my car, but it makes one wonder why the "correct" spec oil is so different. If someone put the wrong VW spec oil in a car, but the weight of the oil is correct, will the engine self destruct within a few miles? I wonder how many "quick oil change" places don't use the correct spec oil in European cars.......
I figured I would ask the experts here, because this is new territory for me.


Thank you!

It has very little if anything to do with them want a piece of the pie or things like that. They (the various manufacturers) have a set of requirements from the oils they use in the vehicles and generate a spec. Those specs can include things that are specific to their engines or even one specific engine.
Those may be piston cleanliness, sludge control, thickening and fuel economy. When an oil is presented for certification it has to meet those standards nothing more and nothing less.

Sure it helps with warranty claims for possible lubrication failures but also is good for the owner, using a spec is like a guarantee of serviceability.
Oils that do not carry the spec may or just as importantly may not meet the requirements. The results from using non spec oils can be from nothing happening to excess wear or sludge and sorter engine life. Do yourself a favor and use spec oil.
 
Messages
13,801
Location
Kendall, FL
My opinion is they have their own specs to make sure a level of quality is met. I don't believe, however, these approvals alone are necessary to keep said vehicle running well for hundreds of thousands of trouble free miles. So long as what's used is of excellent quality and meets your driving style/preferred OCI. No different than for any other vehicle.
 
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Messages
1,843
Location
Danville, Indiana
I don't know about 508.00 oil specifically, as it's kind of new, but in general, most of the oils that carry mfg specs don't cost any more than all other synthetic oils at places like Walmart, etc.
I've been reading that Walmart Supertech holds up to 10k OCI's, too, so I don't think that separates the 508 from most US oils. Not saying that's bad. It is obviously good. Just not special.
 
Messages
1,233
Location
Vancouver
I've been reading that Walmart Supertech holds up to 10k OCI's, too, so I don't think that separates the 508 from most US oils. Not saying that's bad. It is obviously good. Just not special.

The standard for VW's specs starting about 12 years ago (since 504/507 came out) isn't that they can handle a 10k interval. It's that they can handle a 20k interval (actually, 30k kilometres). Not all markets take advantage of the longer interval due to types of fuel in those markets, or other factors. But in many markets they are approved for 20k intervals, or two years.

Additionally, until the newer spec 0w20 oils recently came out (508, LL-17FE+ etc), Euro specs had a much higher HTHS requirement than standard API oils. A 5w30 meeting the main euro specs would be still be minimum 3.5 HTHS.
 
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