Why Expensive Oil Is a Waste of Money

July 27, 2018

The company Blackstone Labs uses the motor oil contents to figure out the aging of an engine with time. It was only earlier in October that the Blackstone Labs dug into the massive database of analyses regarding used oil. This was a part of a study which was being conducted to find out if any of the oil brands contains large amounts of metal wear particles.

The Study

It was quite shocking to see the results that were unveiled. If anything, it will make racers think twice before opting for performance racing oils for their cars. The company receives thousands of oil samples from around the country. These are from people who are interested in finding out about their engines wearing off. This is important if you want to keep the engine healthy or take preventive measures before a certain catastrophic damage takes place.

For example, if you send in an oil sample, Blackstone Labs will analyze it and get back to you with a possible issue that may be affecting your automobile’s engine. If you fail to address that particular fault, it would lead to potential damage.

The Process

Blackstone Labs actually runs these samples through a spectrometer. This tells them how many parts per million are composed of wear elements like chromium from piston rings, aluminum from engine case and iron from cylinders, etc. In other words, the company has more than thousands of reports that show how a certain oil has affected a certain engine. This July, the company decided to compare different oil brands to see how the most expensive ones rank against the cheaper ones. As per the results, spending on costly oils does not bring your engine any extra benefit.

The Derivatives

Travis Heffelfinger—a senior analyst of the Blackstone Lab—wrote that the additive contents in the oils don’t account for a lot of variation in the engine wearing time. He then went on to explain that normalizing iron wear, the difference is quite minute across the board with the highest wear rate being 2.58 and the lowest being 2.03. In other words, the difference is negligible!

However, since we don’t know much about the weather condition and driving styles from the samples being received by the company, averaging samples based on their wear rate may not be the best solution.

Regardless of the limitations, it is pretty clear that even the cheapest of the oils in the market is doing a decent enough job to keep the engine in a well-maintained condition. The study discussed in this article cannot be deemed the most conclusive. There are various variables that need to be dealt with. Yet it is fair to say that companies that are selling their engine oils for a higher buck need to improve their quality; at least give the drivers something worth the money they are spending. As of now, cheaper oils like the ones from Walmart seem to be a good alternative to root for. At least until a conclusive study on this matter does not roll out.

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