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Janurary 24, 2000 Article
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Just to refresh everyone's memory before I get into talking about engine oils etc. THERE IS VERY LITTLE LEGAL PROTECTION FOR THE CONSUMER IN THIS AREA and it is basically legal to sell anything that someone can be talked into buying. For example, I have seen and continue to see many SUPPOSED top name brands promoting oil products that do not meet CURRENT vehicle Warranty standards. In simple terms use of these oils in newer vehicles will void the warranty. Ok, I already know the question you are about to ask. Remember we all live in a society that is TOTALLY driven by PROFIT and Money. Even our own Governments will never tell us the truth and deliberately hide the truth.

Companies just do the same thing. If they can promote a product that does nothing but make money for the company, THAT is considered a GOOD product. Again, I want to emphasize that the ULTIMATE goal is to MAKE MONEY and there is little concern for anything else. There are all sorts of products sold that do NOTHING to extend the life of a vehicle but these items are sold under the label of "HEAVY DUTY". However, try and find a LEGAL explanation for that name "HEAVY DUTY". Because vehicle warranties have no specifications for HEAVY DUTY, selling a product as heavy duty means NOTHING. (It could even mean a CHEAPER product of a lesser quality.) I see big stacks of engine oil on display for sale that SHOULD only be used in vehicles built before 1968 and the use of this oil in newer vehicles would VOID the warranty. All the company has to do is show the PROPER testing certification on the product and they can sell it. It is UP TO THE CONSUMER to be able to read and UNDERSTAND these certifications. It works like this: If you do damage to your vehicle by purchasing and using IMPROPER lubricants, the seller has no responsibility for the damage because its not their fault that you didn't know what the certification markings are for. Oil filters work the same way in that if you use an inadequate filter and engine damage results, IT'S YOUR FAULT.

I see filters that advertise as "EXCEEDS MANUFACTURERS SPECIFICATIONS", but the trick question is, WHAT MANUFACTURER? The company that manufactures the filter can set their own standards and specifications. I have tested most major brands of filters and even the top brand names vary in quality from batch to batch. So what does a poor vehicle owner do? For years, I was able to recommend FACTORY filters, meaning GM, Ford, Nissan etc, but now it seems even that has changed. Some upper level BEAN COUNTER must have discovered they can make more money by taking the LOWEST bid when it comes time to get suppliers and the results have been poorer quality filters. But that makes CORPERATE sense because they can't sell more vehicles if they help keep the older ones running longer.

So, what is one to do? I depend on CONSTANT research and I try to keep on top of the constantly changing market. I get technical data from the oil companies and make my choice based on that data. I had to decide a long time that I could not rely on one specific filter brand for better quality. You would not believe how many different brands of filters are "ALL" made by the SAME Company. I do know that if I buy filters from the vehicle manufacturers, I have a BETTER chance of getting a more consistent quality. I have also found that I can get better oil and filters from the companies that do little or no mass marketing. After all, all that money spent on advertising must come from somewhere. But what should you do?

Look in your vehicle owner's manual, in the section for recommended lubricants and you will find a symbol for oil certification. Use ONLY oil from containers that have that EXACT symbol. (Note EXACT, close DOES NOT COUNT.) NEVER buy CHEAP. You cannot afford what it is GOING to cost.

"TOOT" Rick "The Wrench" - Janurary 24th, 2000
Copyright of Rick The Wrench, 2000

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