Can you trust the quality of non-OEM approved engine lubricants?

Kirsten Lykke Bach 8 April 2021 Automotive, Passenger Cars
OEM approved engine oils

Non-OEM approved engine lubricants have established a considerable market position in the automotive engine lubricant market. But do they deliver the same quality as officially OEM approved products? Q8Oils compared the performance of the new Q8 Formula Prestige V 5W-30 passenger car motor oil with a non-OEM approved product.

 There is a considerable price difference between OEM approved engine lubricants and non-approved products. Many car owners logically wonder whether a cheaper non-approved motor oil really has a lower quality. To clarify this matter, Kuwait Petroleum Research & Technology Center (KPR&T) conducted a comparative study on the quality of the officially OEM approved Q8 Formula Prestige V 5W-30 and a non-approved 5W-30 PCMO. The results speak for themselves …

Extensive testing according VW 504.00/507.00

To compare the quality and performance of the officially OEM approved Q8 Formula Prestige V 5W-30 and a non-approved 5W-30 PCMO, KPR&T conducted a series of tests on both products:

  • Viscometric testing
  • Oxidation stability testing
  • Deposit control testing

Results of viscometrics testing

The results of the viscometrics testing show that the non-approved oil does not meet the VW 504.00/507.00 specifications on CCS and MRV viscosity. Additionally, the pour point is below industry standard, while the shear stability demonstrates an inferior performance.

Results of oxidation testing

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Thanks to its superior oxidation control, Q8 Formula Prestige V 5W-30 has a more than 50% increased oxidation induction time compared to the non-approved motor oil.

Results of deposit testing

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In the panel cooker test, the non-approved PCMO showed almost twice as much deposit formation compared to the Q8 Formula Prestige V 5W-30.

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In the micro cooker test, the Q8 Formula Prestige V 5W-30 showed a much higher deposit temperature compared to the non-approved PCMO. The higher the deposit temperature, the better the deposit control.

Test conclusions

The non-approved VW 504.00/507.00 oil does not meet essential industry standard specifications on several parameters.

  • The CCS and MRV viscosity do not meet the specification and the pour point is clearly insufficient.
  • The shear stability for the non-approved PCMO is inferior to Q8 Formula Prestige V 5W-30, resulting in increased engine wear.
  • Oxidation and deposit control is inferior to Q8 Formula Prestige V 5W-30, increasing sludge formation and deteriorated engine cleanliness. This will result in poor engine performance and even engine damage on the long term.

Analysis show that the non-approved oil is using lower GII quality base oils, non-approved additive technology and a lower quality VI-Improver system, resulting in compromised lubricant performance.

Lubrication challenges of hybrid vehicles

During speeding up, a hybrid vehicle switches from one to the other engine at the proper time, yielding a win-win in terms of energy efficiency. This is translated into lower fuel consumption and reduced CO2-emission.

However, it also brings some specific challenges:

  • When the combustion engine kicks in when the hybrid car is already travelling at speed, it introduces a heavy load on cold start, increasing the risk of engine wear.
  • Because the operation time of the combustion engine is short it is more prone to moister and acid formation.
  • Under-usage of the combustion engine can lead to fretting wear.
  • Short journeys during which only the electric motor is used, increase the risk of water accumulation in the combustion engine.

These special engine operating conditions result in low oil temperatures for which the additive chemistry has to be compatible. In this harsh environment, water ingress and sludge formation can cause serious oil degradation over time. In combination with the use of bio-fuel, this can further accelerate the oil degradation process in HEV-applications. It means only the highest quality engine oils are suitable for hybrid vehicles.

4 important reasons why you should use OEM approved PCMO

Q8 Formula Prestige V 5W-30 is approved according to VW 504.00/507.00, which is considered as one of the most severe PCMO OEM requirements.

When servicing a car, it is advisable to only use motor oil that has been fully approved by the manufacturer.

Here’s why …

  1. Proven fuel efficiency performance

Increasingly stringent emission standards and the race for the best fuel economy urge OEMs to design and develop new and smaller engines. The newer engines require engine oils with new components and innovative formulations. Developing the right oil requires a perfect insight in the engine hardware and a deep knowledge of oil characteristics and additive components specifications.

  1. Environmental protection

Many engine oil specifications include constraints to limit the use of some chemicals in order to protect both the engine and the environment. When metals like calcium, sodium or magnesium are burnt, they form ash which can damage the aftertreatment system of the vehicle.

Oil manufacturers invest a lot in the development of new engine oils with reduced amounts of sulphated ash, phosphorus and sulphur (SAPS), offering increased engine protection, while taking care of the environment.

  1. Avoid LSPI

Low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI) is an undesired phenomenon that is increasingly emerging in turbocharged, direct-injected gasoline engines.

The pre-ignition causes uncontrolled peak pressures and shockwaves on the piston, leading to severe engine damage such as bent connecting rods, damaged ring lands and broken piston rings. Discover more about LSPI in the article Preventing engine damage caused by LSPI.

To prevent LSPI in downsized engines, new oil features were required, which are now incorporated into the latest engine oil specifications.

  1. Avoid warranty issues

For end users, there is another important reason to use an OEM approved PCMO. Using an engine oil that has not been approved by your car manufacturer can cause issues with OEM warranty.

From our expert Kirsten Lykke Bach

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