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.






Liberty Gold Plus SMO 5W-30 Motor Oil (no API designation)

Pinnacle Brands, Chicago, IL

Note: Pinnacle Brands is not affiliated or associated with Pinnacle Oil in Indianapolis, IN.



Test Results on this sample indicate the product can cause damage to a passenger car engines.




Purchased in: Wickliffe Shell, Austintown, OH

Date of purchase: January 6, 2011 



CONSUMER ALERT: The label on this product states it is a 5W-30 motor oil that “provides excellent protection against engine wear, sludge and rust,” and "superior cold weather starting."   


In fact, PQIA's test results show this product clearly is not a 5W-30, and does not meet any recognized specifications for a motor oil.   The viscosity for this oil is nearly 70% below where it should be for a 5W-30, and the level of additives is less than a quarter of that required  by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to protect automobiles currently on the road.  In addition, the volatility of this product is five times the maximum allowed by current industry specifications.  Further, the product tested contains 99 parts per million of silicon. Silicon is typically associated with abrasive material that can be harmful to an engine.  The sample tested shows an oil that should not be used in an automobile engine as it could cause engine damage.







PHYSICAL TESTS Standard/ranges-b Average-e

Liberty Gold


 TBN, mg KOH/g, (ASTM D2896) 7.4 to 9.0 8.0 0.8
 Viscosity @ 100ºC, cSt, (ASTM D445) 9.3 to 12.5 10.39 3.11
 Viscosity @ 40ºC, cSt, ASTM D445 55.0 to 82.0 60.48 13.14
 Viscosity Index (ASTM D2270) 156 to 167 163 93
 Viscosity @ -30ºC mPa s (cP) (ASTM D5293) 6,600 Max 5,793 1,090
 Volatility, mass % loss, 1 hr, @ 250ºC (ASTM D5800) 15 Max 13.5 78.8
    Nitrogen μg/g (ASTM D-5762) 720 to 1,000 860 110
    Calcium  1,648 to 2,301 2,043 256
    Magnesium, ppm  6 to 43 11 5
    Phosphorus,  ppm 600 to 800 772 144
    Zinc, ppm  789 to 887 851 155
    Molybdenum,  ppm  <1 to 226 93 0
    Barium, ppm  <1 <1 3
    Boron,  ppm  <1 to 246 84 5
    Silicon,  ppm-d  4 to 8 5 99
    Potassium, ppm  <1  <1 4
    Manganese, ppm  <1 to 8 1 0
    Titanium, ppm  <1 <1 0
    Sulfur, ppm  5,000 max 3,021 1,156
    Copper, ppm  <1  <1 0
    Sodium, ppm  <1 to 467 82 0
    Vanadium, ppm  <1 <1 0
    Silver, ppm  <1 <1 0
    Aluminum, ppm  <1 to 2 <1 3
    Chromium, ppm  <1 <1 0
    Iron, ppm  <1 to 1 1 5
    Nickel, ppm  <1 <1 0
    Lead, ppm  <1 to 1 <1 0
    Antimony, ppm  <1 <1 0
    Tin, ppm  4 to 5 5 1

a- Click here for product label.

b- Standards, shown in orange, are established by API, SAE and others. Ranges, shown in teal, represent the high and low data for the majors shown.

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

d- Although silicon is used as an antifoam additive in lubricants, concentrations above 7ppm have been linked to contamination from abrasive material,

e- Average of the 10 major brands tested. Click here for brands tested.



Liberty Gold Plus SMO 5W-30 Motor Oil (no API designation)
The American Petroleum Institute sets forth a number of laboratory and engine tests required to meet an API SM performance specification. Although laboratory tests alone cannot be used to establish if an engine oil meets API SM, they can be used to determine if it doesn't.

What follows is a comparison of the test results for Liberty Gold Plus SMO 5W-30 Motor Oil (no API designation) as compared to the API SM ILSAC GF-4 requirements.

The API limits for each test are shown by the yellow bars. The test result for Liberty Gold Plus SMO 5W-30 Motor Oil (no API designation) are illustrated by the horizontal line.


The viscometrics of Liberty Gold Plus SMO 5W-30 Motor Oil (no API designation) does not meet the required targets for a 5W-30 API SM (SAE J300 specification).


Volatility Phosphorus
The volatility of Liberty Gold Plus SMO 5W-30 Motor Oil (no API designation) does not meet the parameters required for an API SM ILSAC GF-4 designation.

Click here for more on Volatility.

The phosphorus content in Liberty Gold Plus SMO 5W-30 Motor Oil (no API designation) does not meet the requirements for an API SM ILSAC GF-4 designation.