Whereas most private label lubricant brands on the shelves are typically quality products that meet the most recent specifications and often provide consumers with lower price alternatives to major brands, PQIA has found some that give the industry a bad name. This is because these bad bottles in the business can cause damage to engines and transmissions. Of particular concern are bottles bearing the Super Star, Royal Star, City Star, and Royal. (see footnote 2) brand names. These brands are frequently found in the urban areas in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois and they will cause harm to car engines and transmissions.
In addition to test results showing these brands have very serious deficiencies, they share other concerning issues. One is that, with exception of the samples of City Star 5W30 purchased on 7/14/2011 and the City Star ATF purchased on 8/26/2012 (see footnote 2), the labels on these brands do not identify its manufacturer or distributor. Instead, they simply state “MADE IN USA.” This makes it very difficult to file a consumer complaint or seek other remedies should your car be damaged by the use of these brands.
In addition, these brands either reference API SA specification, or no specifications at all with regards to the types of vehicles they can be used in. With that in mind, consider that even if they didn’t have serious deficiencies (i.e. viscosity 80% below where it should be), the API SA service classification has been obsolete since 1933.
Another common thread among these brands is apparent references to viscosity grades. As seen on the brand labels to the right, the engine oils display a viscosity grade without the hyphen following the “W.” As an example, 5W30 instead of the official “5W-30.” Whereas one might conclude these omissions are typos or never take notice, some say they don’t show the hyphen because they don’t know what the viscosity of the product is.
Come on, let’s be honest.
If you don’t know the viscosity of the product you produce, or know it’s not an SAE 5W-30, and adorn the front label with a very visible “5W30,” you are intentionally misleading consumers into believing it’s a 5W-30 multigrade oil. This is called fraud, and in this country, fraud is a crime and a civil violation.
So enough is enough.
It’s time to warn the public, particularly in the urban areas where these brands appear to be preying on those who can ill afford to have their rides ruined because they were trying to save a dime by unknowingly running some of this slop in their engines and transmissions. Whereas you can be sure the Petroleum Quality Institute of America has and will continue to take action to make the appropriate authorities aware of these bad oils, we ask our readers to let us know when and where you see these brands on the shelves.
Footnote 1- The “Royal 10W40 Motor Oil” brand tested and shown is Not affiliated or associated with products made by Royal Mfg Co.
Footnote 2- The samples of City Star purchased in July 2011 and August 2012 identify the product comes from City Petroleum in Dearborn, MI. The sample of City Star 10W40 purchased on 8/26/2012 only states “MADE IN USA.”