It’s important to know which motor oil brands to avoid so that you can protect your engine and save your money. Brands like Questron, Liberty Oil, and Petrola are horrible motor oil brands and they’ll harm your engine.
Keep reading this article to get the details of the worst motor oil brands that you should avoid. You’ll know if the brand of engine oil matters and how you can judge the quality of the different motor oil brands.
We’ll also share a list of the most reliable motor oil brands that you can choose to ensure the protection of your engine in the long run. Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- Does The Brand Of Motor Oil Really Matter?
- What Are The Parameters To Choose The Perfect Motor Oil?
- Motor Oil Brands To Avoid [10 Worst Oil Brands]
- 1. Xpress Lube Pro
- 2. Questron Motor Oil
- 3. Liberty Motor Oil
- 4. Q10-40 Motor Oil
- 5. Petrola Motor Oil
- 6. Quaker State Q Motor Oil
- 7. Bullseye Motor Oil
- 8. Mileage 365 Motor Oil
- 9. Mag 5 Star Motor Oil
- 10. Everclear Motor Oil
- 5 Most Reliable Motor Oil Brands
- 1. Royal Purple
- 2. Mobil 1
- 3. Valvoline
- 4. Pennzoil
- 5. Super Tech
- Everything You Need To Know About The API Standard
- Synthetic Vs Regular Motor Oil Which Is For You?
- Cheap vs Expensive Oil Brands
- Is it ok to mix motor oil brands?
- Is it bad to switch motor oil brands?
- Is store brand motor oil good?
- What happens if you use the wrong engine oil for your car?
- What happens if you skip an oil change?
- Can motor oil ruin a transmission?
- What do the numbers mean on motor oil?
- What is a 0w motor oil and what are the benefits?
- When should you change the motor oil in your engine?
Does The Brand Of Motor Oil Really Matter?
The different brands of motor oil may look the same on the surface. But that is not the case as each oil manufacturer adds a different set of additives and chemicals to the oil.
These additives make each brand different than the other. There are safety regulations in place to check the quality of motor oils. Some brands take these regulations seriously and others don’t.
It’s wise to pick a better oil brand that meets or exceeds the latest safety standards. So, the brand of engine oil definitely matters and it has a massive impact on your engine.
What Are The Parameters To Choose The Perfect Motor Oil?
Motor oil brands are a sentimental subject for many. Most people have strong opinions when it comes to engine oils. But to objectively measure the quality of the oil, we need to set the parameters for judging the quality of the oil brands.
You should note the following characteristics while picking up a motor oil for your car:
1. Viscosity Index
Viscosity Index is the ability of the oil to change its viscosity depending on the weather. For example, oil of 5w30 viscosity means that the viscosity of the oil will be 5 in winter and 30 in summer.
The power of the oil to effectively change its viscosity isn’t the same for all brands of oil. Whether you need a single viscosity oil or multi-viscosity oil also depends on your car.
That’s why you need to carefully consider the oil of the right viscosity for your engine before choosing the perfect motor oil brand for you.
2. Quality Of Additives
The main area where the most reliable motor oil brands differentiate themselves from the bad ones is in the quality of additives they use.
Additives are the chemicals that help the oil change its viscosity depending on the temperature. It also contains cleaning agents that help the engine oil stay clean over a prolonged time.
You should always choose a reputable brand as they’re known to use additives of the finest quality. The cheaper oil brands are more volatile and can form rust in your engine. That’s the main downside to cheaper oil brands.
3. Driving Conditions
Depending on the condition of your roads and the weather, the brand of oil you choose can vary. You’d most likely need to do oil changes more frequently in rough terrain.
Consider the number of oil changes before choosing the engine oil. Mileage will be an important factor for you if the driving conditions in your area are difficult.
4. API Rating
API rating is an important quality standard for a motor oil brand. You want to check the API rating in an oil brand. API is the American Petroleum Institution that judges the quality of the oil.
API SP or more is a good rating for motor oil. It’s the latest category of oils made by the API and the oils that meet this category use the latest technology. You can’t go wrong with the oil if it has this rating.
5. ILSAC Standards
International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) tests the safety of the engine oil and judges it on fuel economy and reducing engine emissions.
Be on the lookout for the API starburst logo on the packaging of the motor oil brand you want to choose. This logo means that the oil meets or exceeds the latest ILSAC standards.
These regulations make it easy to know the quality of the oils and you can easily decide which engine oil brand is the right one for your needs.
If these things are in check, you’re surely picking the right engine oil. But we’ve done the research for you and we’ll share with you a list of 10 motor oil brands that you should surely avoid.
Motor Oil Brands To Avoid [10 Worst Oil Brands]
What are the worst motor oil brands? We’ll answer that question in this section. Let’s take a look at the worst oil brands that you should definitely keep your hands away from if you’re in the market for motor oil.
These bad motor oil brands are not ranked in any particular order. All of them are terrible and amongst the worst oil brands out there.
1. Xpress Lube Pro
It’s a disastrous motor oil brand and you can destroy your engine if you use this oil. It seems like they pay no attention to the quality of oil but still make outrageous and fake claims about it.
To make things worse, this oil has been reported to use abrasive materials. It also makes your engine dirty and it’s dangerous for your vehicle. Also, avoid going to Xpress service centers as they will use this oil if you go there.
The reasons why you should avoid Xpress Lube Pro are:
- This oil doesn’t even meet the minimum requirements of oil required for modern engines.
- It isn’t approved by API or ILSAC.
- The quality of additives is poor and they can damage your engine.
2. Questron Motor Oil
The people that make and sell this oil are straight-up liars. It makes the customer believe that it passes the API SN/GF-5 standards through its defective packaging.
The viscosity and the level of additives in this oil are too low. It doesn’t have a sufficient amount of Calcium, Zinc, and Phosphorus. You shouldn’t use this oil as it will surely harm your engine.
The reasons why you should avoid Questron Motor Oil are:
- Questron oil is extremely volatile.
- It doesn’t come with any viscosity grading.
- This oil won’t lubricate your engine well and cause clicking noises.
3. Liberty Motor Oil
The worst motor oil to use for your engine will have bad additives and a poor viscosity index. That is exactly the case with liberty motor oil. The viscosity of this oil is 70% lower than the accepted standard.
The reasons why you should avoid Liberty Motor Oil are:
- The oil has a poor viscosity index and it’ll become too thin when it’s exposed to high temperatures.
- This oil also doesn’t have sufficient additives to lubricate the engine.
- It doesn’t have proper SAE grading and it’s harmful to your engine.
4. Q10-40 Motor Oil
You should definitely steer clear of this oil if you care about the longevity of your engine. The Q10-40 Motor Oil doesn’t pass any certifications that we talked about and it doesn’t have any API rating.
It’ll increase the friction in the different parts of your engine. Forget about lubricating the engine if you use this oil. It also contains a large amount of Phosphorus that will damage your engine.
The reasons why you should avoid Q10-40 Motor Oil are:
- The viscosity of this oil is 13% lower than what it should be.
- It gets dirty when it reaches high temperatures because of its bad viscosity index.
- It doesn’t have enough additives to protect the engine from sludge and corrosion.
5. Petrola Motor Oil
This is one of the worst oil brands you can find for your vehicle. This oil is compatible with vehicles that were made before 1930. That’ should be a good indicator of how bad this oil brand is for your engine.
Even the labeling and packaging of this brand don’t comply with the FPLA – Fair Packaging and Labelling Act. Very few additives are present in this oil. That means the oil will not hold up well against temperature changes.
The reasons why you should avoid Petrola Motor Oil are:
- The oil will be volatile when exposed to higher temperatures.
- It increases fuel consumption and it’s bad for the environment.
- Not suitable for the new cars with modern engines.
6. Quaker State Q Motor Oil
This oil brand is the worst deal you can go far because its quality is as bad as the other oils but its price is much higher. The Quaker State Q Motor Oil is expensive even after being such a bad quality oil.
The oil brand claims it to be a multigrade oil. But that isn’t the case. As with most bad oil brands, this one’s also highly volatile and dissolves very quickly which can harm your engine.
The reasons why you should avoid Quaker State Q Motor Oil are:
- It is expensive though its quality is terrible.
- Makes a fake claim about being the oil of multi-viscosity.
7. Bullseye Motor Oil
This motor oil brand has worked very hard on its packaging but the same can’t be said for its actual product. Bullseye motor oil is a thin oil with very low resistance and it doesn’t provide proper lubrication to your engine.
The viscosity of this oil is also very low and it won’t be a good choice for most engines. Using this oil will cause the build-up of sludge and corrosion in your engine.
The reasons why you should avoid Bullseye Motor Oil are:
- The oil is too thin and won’t provide sufficient lubrication.
- It has a very low number of additives.
- It doesn’t hold well against the common parameters to test oil.
8. Mileage 365 Motor Oil
This oil lacks the additives to lubricate the engine and protect it from wear and tear. The oil claims to be a multi-viscosity oil but that claim doesn’t hold up when it’s tested.
The only good thing about this oil is that it doesn’t have any deceptive packaging. It doesn’t claim to meet API regulations.
The reasons why you should avoid Bullseye Motor Oil are:
- The oil contains abrasive materials and it can harm your engine.
- It doesn’t meet the API or ILSAC standards.
9. Mag 5 Star Motor Oil
If you were considering getting this oil, you should immediately take it off your list. The Mag 5 Star Motor Oil got an SAE rating claiming that it doesn’t use any additives.
But it uses additives such as detergents and antiwear. But the level of additives is too low for the engine to run well. This product may also be contaminated and mixed with old oil or engine coolants according to an independent test done by PQIA (Petroleum Quality Institute of America).
The reasons why you should avoid Mag 5 Star Motor Oil are:
- It doesn’t have sufficient additives to keep the oil clean.
- The oil is contaminated with used oil or engine coolants.
- It’s not suitable for gasoline engines made after the 1930s.
10. Everclear Motor Oil
Everclear motor oil has mastered deceptive packaging but not the quality of the oil. It states 5-30 on its label which misleads customers to think that it’s an oil of 5w30 viscosity. But it’s not a multigrade oil.
The level of organometallic additives is high in this oil and it’s not suitable for most engines. This product also contains used oil and using it will increase the chances of harming your engine.
The reasons why you should avoid Everclear Motor Oil Oil are:
- Misleading label to present a single grade oil as a multigrade oil.
- Contains abrasive materials that are dangerous to the engine.
- The temperature of cranking viscosity of this oil is 260% higher than the temperature allowed by SAE for this grade of oil.
5 Most Reliable Motor Oil Brands
Avoid the cheap motor oil brands we discussed if you care about your vehicle. But which brands of oil you should use instead? We’ll share a list of the five major motor oil brands that you can rely on.
All the brands of oil that you’ll see in the list have passed the API rating and ILSAC ratings that we talked about. You can trust any of these oil brands. But, we’ll be looking at these oils from a value for money perspective.
1. Royal Purple
It’s a good pick for your engine. The Royal Purple oil meets the latest API and ILSAC regulations. Though this oil brand is on the expensive side, its quality is excellent and better than most oils.
You should pick Royal Purple oil because:
- This oil reduces friction and increases the fuel efficiency of the engine.
- Prevents overheating the engine and protects it from wear and tear.
- You can increase your fuel economy gains by 4.5%.
2. Mobil 1
Mobil 1 is one of the most reputable oil brands in the market. That is for good reason – they provide oils of superior quality. The company has a long history since its inception in 1911 and it’s always been making great oil.
You should pick Mobil 1 oil because:
- It has high resistance to friction and it’ll allow the engine to run well.
- Protects the engine from wear and tear.
- Contains the correct proportion of Viscosity Index and additives.
- Provides great mileage.
Valvoline is a good motor oil brand that produces great oil in a medium price range. It’s made using MaxLife technology that ensures the correct blending ratio of synthetic and natural oil.
You should pick Valvoline oil because:
- Lubricates the engine well and maximizes engine health in the long run.
- Provides excellent mileage of around 10,000 miles.
- Meets the latest IPA and ILSAC standards.
Pennzoil motor oil produces high-quality oils at a low price. It passes the same quality standards as the other top-quality oils but comes at a much lower price. It has a nice VI and you’ll enjoy a healthy engine if you use this oil.
You should pick Pennzoil oil because:
- It’s a great quality oil at an affordable price.
- Pennzoil uses PurePlus Technology to get rid of more than 90% impurities.
- Protects the engine from overheating.
- It’s formulated to adapt quickly to weather changes.
5. Super Tech
It’s a brand of Walmart for engine oils. Super Tech Engine oil is a cheap motor oil but does an excellent job for your engine. It’s the ideal oil for you if you’re on a tight budget.
Super Tech may seem like it’s not good as it’s cheap and is a brand of Walmart. But that’s not true as this oil passes the latest IPA and ILSAC standards. It’s as good as the other oils but the advantage of this oil is that it comes at a much lower price.
You should pick Super Tech oil because:
- Comes at a low price for such a high-quality oil.
- It has the perfect balance of premium oil base and additives.
- It prevents the formation of harmful deposits and sludge in the engine.
- Protects the engine against thermal breakdown at challenging temperatures.
Everything You Need To Know About The API Standard
You’ve already learned in brief about the API rating but let’s learn about it in detail now. API certification is an important criterion to judge the quality of engine oil. But how does it work and how many API standards are there?
API or the American Petroleum Institute was formed in 1919 and it’s been a great organization at setting standards. It started categorizing oil in the 1930s with the first category being SA. Over the years, many categories have been developed all the way from SA, SB, SC to SP.
SP is the latest API category of oil for gasoline engines. The SP categories that are valid today are SJ, SK, SL, SM, SN, SO, and SP. The categories before that are now considered obsolete.
Is higher API oil better? Yes, the higher API oils are better as API continuously upgrades the oil categories with any innovation in the oil industry. Is API a code or standard? API is an institution that categorizes oils based on certain standards. So, you can look at it as a standard for rating oils.
Synthetic Vs Regular Motor Oil Which Is For You?
Conventional motor oil and synthetic motor oils are all made from petroleum. The main difference between traditional motor oil and synthetic motor oil lies in the number of impurities.
Regular motor oil has a higher portion of impurities than synthetic oil. That means your engine will surely run better with synthetic oil and it’ll be much easier for you to maintain a clean engine.
In short, conventional oil will provide enough lubrication for your engine but the performance and protection of your engine will be enhanced by synthetic oil. Synthetic oil is the more expensive of the two oils for obvious reasons.
It’s up to you if you want to get the synthetic motor oil or the regular one. You’ll get better service from synthetic oil but spend more. And with regular oil, you’ll spend less but not enjoy superior performance.
Cheap vs Expensive Oil Brands
What are cheapest motor oil brands? The oil brands like Xpress Lube Pro, Questron, Everclear, and Mileage 365 are among the cheapest oil brands in the market.
What are the expensive oil brands? The brands that have been around for a long time like Mobil, Castrol, and Royal Purple are some of the most expensive motor oil brands.
Is there any big difference between expensive motor oil brands and the cheapest oil brands? Yes, the cheapest motor oil brands run a true risk of damaging your engine. The expensive brands on the other hand ensure great performance.
That’s because the quality of additives and the VI of the expensive brands are much better than the cheapest brands. The expensive brands don’t want to tarnish their reputation and they don’t contaminate their oils. That is not the case with cheap brands.
But whether you should opt for the most expensive brands is a different question. The main thing to look out for when you choose an oil brand is the specifications and the reputation of the brand.
Brands like Castrol and Mobil 1 have a huge name tax as they are highly reputable. But there are brands like Pennzoil and Super Tech that also provide great quality oils but at a much lower price.
Is it ok to mix motor oil brands?
You can mix oils of different brands if both the oils are of the same viscosity in an emergency. But you shouldn’t keep doing it as different manufacturers use different additives when they make the oil.
Is it bad to switch motor oil brands?
You’re free to switch motor oil brands if they meet the specifications that are required for your vehicle’s engine. But you’ll notice a reduction in performance if you switch from synthetic oil to regular oil.
Is store brand motor oil good?
It depends on the brand. The oils are good if it passes the standard tests set by IPA and ILSAC. Super Tech is a store brand oil that is great for your engine.
What happens if you use the wrong engine oil for your car?
If you use the engine oil of the wrong grade and viscosity, it’ll cause many problems for you. The parts of the engine won’t be lubricated and your engine will make noises. It’ll be damaged with time.
What happens if you skip an oil change?
Missing or skipping an oil change will cause great problems for your car. The engine will start to lose lubricity and the engine will make start making grinding noises.
Can motor oil ruin a transmission?
The transmission fluid and engine oil flow separately and don’t mix with each other. But if you put one in the place of another, then there will be problems in both the engine and transmission.
What do the numbers mean on motor oil?
The numbers on a motor oil represent the viscosity of the oil. An oil that has 10w30 means that the viscosity of the oil is 10 in winter and 30 in the summer.
What is a 0w motor oil and what are the benefits?
The 0w motor oil is the perfect oil for winter. This type of oil can easily lubricate the different parts of the engine as it’ll flow better because of its low viscosity.
When should you change the motor oil in your engine?
It’s safe to change the motor oil after 5000 to 7500 miles of driving for modern engines in most cases. But you should refer to your owner’s manual to know the exact oil change frequency of your car.
It’s difficult to go to a retail outlet without knowing the right brand of motor oil for you. But now, you know which motor oil brands to avoid and which ones to pick the next time you walk into a store.
Make sure the oil brand you choose complies with the latest IPA and ILSAC regulations. That’s all you need to check before selecting an oil brand. We hope this information will help you choose the right oil brand. Leave a comment below if you have any questions.
About John M
John contributed as a technical head at an automobile company just 2 years after his post-graduation in Automobile Engineering. He loves to lead a free life, so he left his job & started blogging. Now, he does research on every automotive problem, part & product and seeks a better solution & best products & shares his findings with his readers to help them as well as to minimize their struggle.
1 thought on “Top 10 Worst Motor Oil Brands To Avoid: Protect Your Engine”
I will NEVER use Pennzoil. In 1998 after having used only Pennzoil in my 1991 Ford F150 that I bought new my oil pressure would drop to nothing at highway speed. When I let off the gas it would come back. Knowing enough about cars I knew the problem and on a Saturday afternoon I changed the oil pump. The screen on the bottom of the pump was clogged almost completely. My truck only had 60,000 miles and I never went more than 5,000 miles between oil changes and always used better filters. I have not used Pennzoil since and found out from talking to mechanics that it was common for Pennzoil to have a ton of sludge build-up.