It’s not unusual to hear someone say, “Motor oil is motor oil, they are all the same.” Although this is far from true, it’s not hard to understand why some might think so.
As with many consumer products, the differences between products are often determined by using the senses. In the case of food, for example, a consumer often relies on sight to make a buying decision by looking at the price and the package. Some will read the expiration date, ingredients and nutritional facts on the package to determine if the product is good for them. And when it comes time to eat, a consumer’s sense of taste, smell, and touch usually has the final say in what they consider good, better, best, and even bad.
But the ability to use one’s senses to do the same with motor oil is most often limited to the sense of sight. And unfortunately, one can be betrayed by that sense if they are unfamiliar with, or fail to read the specifications and certification marks on the product labels, and instead, rely solely on price and packaging to make a buying decision.
Since most motor oil bottles and the oil in them look similar, it’s not hard to understand why some might think “motor oil is motor oil, they are all the same.” But they are not and packaging and price can be deceiving.
As shown below, there have been very significant improvements in the performance of motor oil over the years. From the early days when motor oil comprised no more than base oil, it has evolved into a complex and carefully balanced blend of high-quality base oils together with functional and performance additives.
Whereas the appearance of motor oil has not changed much over the years, its composition and performance has changed and improved significantly.