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.








City Star Automatic Transmission Fluid 

City Petroleum, Dearborn, MN


Purchased in: Toledo Food Market, Toledo, OH

Date of purchase: August 26, 2012



CONSUMER ALERT:  The results of the tests conducted on this sample show a product that does not meet any definition of Automatic Transmission Fluid.  The very low viscosity, lack of additives, and high silicon level indicate this product may cause damage to automatic transmissions.



Note: In addition to now finding serious issues with City Star ATF, PQIA issued a Consumer Alert on City Star engine oil in July 2011, and on October 13, 2011, North Carolina officials ordered that three grades of City Star Motor Oil be removed from retail stores throughout the state because of the manufacturer's failure to meet stated viscosity claims.








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, cP 20,000 cP Max 17,511 n/r
    Viscosity @ 100ºC, cSt, (ASTM D445) 6.8 cSt Min 7.20 2.66
    Viscosity @ 40ºC, cSt, ASTM D445 - 34.0 n/r
    Flash Point C (ASTM D92) 170/177C Min-b 195 158
    Viscosity Index - 182 n/r
    Nitrogen μg/g (ASTM D-5762) - 805 n/r
    Calcium - 119 4
    Magnesium, ppm - 1 <1
    Phosphorus,  ppm - 242 <1
    Zinc, ppm - 7 2
    Molybdenum,  ppm - <1 <1
    Barium, ppm - <1 <1
    Boron,  ppm - 94 <1
    Silicon,  ppm-d - 4 148
    Potassium, ppm - <5 <5
    Manganese, ppm - <1 <1
    Titanium, ppm - <1 <1
    Sulfur, ppm - 838 n/r
    Copper, ppm - <1 <1
    Sodium, ppm - 3 <5
    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.



City Star ATF
General Motors and Ford Motor Company has 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 City Star ATF tested with the Dexron III/Mercon requirements.


Viscometrics and Flash Point

The viscometrics and flash point of the sample tested do not meet the required targets for a for a Dexron III/Mercon ATF.

Viscosity @ 100C, cSt, (ASTM D445)
This text is replaced by the Flash movie.


          Flash Point, C, (ASTM D92)

This text is replaced by the Flash movie.