Consumer Alert – Questron Synthetic Blend 10W-30 and ATF MD III

Questron Synthetic Blend Motor Oil (SAE 10W-30)  

Use of this product in virtually all automobile engines will likely cause harm to the engine. 

The labels on this product are false, misleading and deceptive by way of prominently displaying “SAE 10W-30 PREMIUM SN-GF5 MOTOR OIL” and stating the product “meets the latest in automotive manufacturer’s requirements.” Although small print on the back label states, “Use where an SJ/SAE 10W-30 oil is recommended,” the dominant and repeated display of SAE 10W-30 PREMIUM SN-GF5 MOTOR OIL would likely lead a reasonable consumer to believe the product meets the API SN/GF-5 Service Category; a specification seen in the owner’s manual of many cars currently on the road.

The results of the tests conducted on this sample do NOT meet the SAE J300 specifications for the SAE 10W-30 Viscosity Grade listed on the product labels, and are NOT consistent with the labeled API Service Categories. The Cold Crank Viscosity is sufficiently low to indicate the sample should be labeled with a lower SAE W Grade than that listed on the product label.  In addition, the organometallic additive levels in this sample are much lower than typical for API SJ, SN, or GF-5 oils, rendering the product NOT suitable for use in the majority of automobile engines currently on the road.

Questron Automatic Transmission Fluid ATF MD III  

Use of this product in virtually any automatic transmission on the road today will likely cause harm to the transmission.

The labels on this product are misleading and deceptive. The prominent display of the term “MD-III” could be interpreted by a reasonable consumer to mean it’s an automatic transmission fluid (ATF) formulated for use in vehicles recommending Dexron III/Mercon type ATF. This is because it is not unusual to see similar nomenclature on bottles of transmission fluid that are formulated for such use. Results on the sample tested show that this product does not meet the requirements of these specifications, nor for that matter of any other Automatic Transmission Fluid specification.

In addition, the back label states it is “formulated with a unique combination of premium motor oil.” Importantly, motor oils are much different than ATFs and would not be appropriate for use in nearly any vehicle transmission currently on the road. The Viscosity of the sample tested is far below any ATF specification, as is the Flash Point. Further, it lacks the critical additives necessary for all modern automatic transmissions.

Read the Labels!

The Questron products in this PQIA Consumer Alert, help drive home the importance of reading both the front and back labels on motor oils and transmission fluids prior to purchase. But even when you read them, read carefully because some labels can be deceptive.

With the Questron motor oil as an example, at first glance, it appears to be a quality product fit for use in most cars currently on the road.  This is because the labels use words that typically portray quality, such as Synthetic, Premium Enhanced, Highest and Advanced.

But for those unmoved by these marketing terms, the deception and misleading language surfaces if one looks at the labels to find whether the oil meets the API specifications recommended for use in their vehicle owner’s manual. What they will see is the “SN-GF5” preceded by “Premium” displayed on both the front and back labels of this product. 

API SN ILSAC GF-5 was introduced in October 2010 and is suitable for use in many vehicles on the road prior to model year 2018. One might think they found this specification when they see “SN-GF5” on the Questron label, but this designation is improperly stated. Although strikingly similar to the current motor oil specification, by omitting the API before the “SN” and the hyphen between “GF” and “5,” the label is not actually stating a specification. Instead, it displays key elements of the specification and by doing so, may lead consumers to believe it meets the specifications recommended for use in their vehicle.  

Deception is also seen on the back label where it falsely states the product “meets the latest in automotive manufacturer’s requirements.” But, further down, just above the consumer warning about repeated contact with skin and clothing, the last sentence states, “Use where and SJ SAE 10W-30 motor oil is recommended.”

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For many familiar with the API Service Categories, this is where the train goes of the rails and deception melds with confusion. An API SJ motor oil has not been recommended for use in vehicles since 2001. So, is this a product that meets an API SN ILSAC GF-5, the “latest in automotive manufacturer’s requirements”, or an “SJ” Service Category intended for engines built more than 18 years ago? Based on the results of the sample tested, it is PQIA’s assessment that this product would NOT meet either of these API specifications.    

The labels on this motor oil alone are reason enough not to buy it. And from what PQIA found in the bottle, there is good reason not to use it. 

So, the takeaway here is:

  • Read your owner’s manual to know what specifications the vehicle manufacturer recommends for use in your vehicle.
  • Read the labels carefully before purchasing and look for those specifications as they are shown in the owner’s manual.
  • Use of the wrong motor oil in a vehicle can potentially cause harm to the engine and void the vehicle’s warranty.

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