Petroleum Quality Institute of America

The Petroleum Quality Institute of America (PQIA) is an independent resource for information and insights on the quality and performance of lubricants in the marketplace.  Our mission is to serve the consumer of lubricants by reporting on the quality and integrity of lubricants in themarketplace.









Auto Club Automatic Transmission Fluid

Auto Club Oil & Chemicals Corp. New York, NY


Purchased in: Shell, Camden, NJ

Date of purchase: 6/2/2012



Consumer Alert: The labels for this product claim the oil meets the "engineering material standards" for both General Motors Dexron III and Ford Motors Mercon.  PQIA's test results for this sample show the oil fails both standards with respect to viscosity at 100C, Brookfield viscosity at -40C, and flash point. In addition, the results show higher levels of calcium, zinc, and sulfur than would normally be expected for an ATF meeting these specifications, and an unusually low viscosity index.  Use of this oil could result in performance issues and potentially cause damage to automatic transmissions designed for Dexron III and Mercon. 







Test Results

The averages shown in the table below are for 10 samples tested in February 2012.
PHYSICAL TESTS Specification Average-a
    Brookfield Viscosity @ -40C, cSt 20,000 cP Max 17,511 32,593
    Viscosity @ 100ºC, cSt, (ASTM D445) 6.8 cSt Min 7.20 5.89
    Viscosity @ 40ºC, cSt, ASTM D445 - 34.0 32.73
    Flash Point C (ASTM D92) 170/177C Min-b 195 166
    Viscosity Index - 182 124
    Calcium - 119 541
    Magnesium, ppm - 1 6
    Phosphorus,  ppm - 242 254
    Zinc, ppm - 7 210
    Molybdenum,  ppm - <1 2
    Barium, ppm - <1 <1
  Additive and/or other
    Boron,  ppm - 94 23
    Silicon,  ppm-d - 4 5
    Potassium, ppm - <5 <5
    Manganese, ppm - <1 <1
    Titanium, ppm - <1 <1
    Sulfur, ppm - 838 3,979
    Copper, ppm - <1 <1
    Sodium, ppm - 3 10
    Vanadium, ppm - <1 <1
    Silver, ppm - <1 <1
    Aluminum, ppm - <1 <1
    Chromium, ppm - <1 <1
    Iron, ppm - <1 <1
    Nickel, ppm - <1 <1
    Lead, ppm - <1 <1
    Antimony, ppm - <1 <1
    Tin, ppm - <1 <1

a- Average of 10 samples tested in February 2012.

b- Dexron III, 170C minimum, Mercon®, 177 C minimum.

c-Test Method used for metal analysis is ASTM ASTM D5185.

d- ASTM D5185-09 Reproducibility by element.



Auto Club ATF
General Motors and Ford Motor Company have set forth a number of laboratory and rig tests required to meet the former Dexron III and Mercon performance specifications. Although laboratory tests alone cannot be used to establish if an ATF meets these specifications, they can be used to determine if it doesn't.

The following is a comparison of the test results for the sample of Auto Club ATF tested with the Dexron III/Mercon requirements.



The viscometrics do not meet the required targets for a for a Dexron III/Mercon ATF.

Viscosity @ 100C, cSt, (ASTM D445)
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Brookfield Viscosity @ -40C, cSt 
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          Flash Point, C, (ASTM D92)

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