News 12 New Jersey - Kane in Your Corner takes a Look at Oil Changes and the Results are Eye Opening.


Walt Kane from News12 New Jersey television aired several ground breaking stories in 2014 about the quality of packaged motor oils on retail shelves in New Jersey (one segment is up for an Emmy!). These stories certainly got the attention of consumers and state officials. In fact, action was taken by the State of NJ following Kane’s investigation to protect consumers in the state from potentially engine damaging motor oils (see products banned from sale in NJ).

 

But Kane didn’t stop there.

 

Whereas the efforts of News12 NJ and the State of NJ made significant strides to protect consumers from harmful motor oils on retail shelves, Kane in Your Corner stayed in the corner of NJ consumers when it decided to dig deeper by taking a look at motor oils installed in vehicles at fast lubes, repair shops and others that change oil for a fee. In doing so, KIYC had its oil changed at seven locations in New Jersey. Samples of the oil used in the change were sent to an independent laboratory and KIYC turned to PQIA for an assessment of the results. The findings of the KIYC investigation are eye opening.

 

The owner's manual for the automobile serviced in the Kane In Your Corner report clearly states that only 5W-30 motor oils should be used, and "5W-30" is plainly printed on the oil fill cap.  In spite of the clear viscosity grade requirements set by the engine manufacturer, six of the seven motor oils added to this automobile during servicing were not 5W-30 oils.  Four of the oils tested failed the Low-Temperature Cranking Viscosity specification for the SAE 5W-30 grade by a margin of 22 to 48%.  More significantly, two of the oils (Samples #4 and #7) gave Low-Temperature Cranking Viscosity results nearly three times the maximum allowed by the SAE J300 specification for a 5W-30, and also contained insufficient additive levels to provide satisfactory performance in the engine serviced.  Use of these latter two oils over time could potentially lead to excessive wear and deposits in the engine, and possibly engine failure if operated at very low temperatures considered suitable for 5W-30 oils.


PQIA's assessment of the News12 New Jersey samples follows:

Sample  PQIA Assesment 
#1

The results of the tests conducted on this sample do NOT meet the SAE J300 specifications for an SAE 5W-30 motor oil.  The Low-Temperature Cranking Viscosity is 47% higher than the maximum viscosity specification for this SAE grade.


#2 

The results of the tests conducted on this sample do NOT meet the SAE J300 specifications for an SAE 5W-30 motor oil.  The Low-Temperature Cranking Viscosity is 48% higher than the maximum viscosity specification for this SAE grade.


#3 

The results of the tests conducted on this sample do NOT meet the SAE J300 specifications for an SAE 5W-30 motor oil.  The Low-Temperature Cranking Viscosity is 27% higher than the maximum viscosity specification for this SAE grade.


#4  

Metuchen Auto Service, Metuchen, NJ

The results of the tests conducted on this sample do NOT meet the SAE J300 specifications for an SAE 5W-30 motor oil.  The Low-Temperature Cranking Viscosity is 195% higher than the maximum viscosity specification for this SAE grade.  In addition, the organometallic additive levels in this sample indicate the product is NOT suitable for use in the majority of automobile engines currently on the road. NOTE: KIYC advised PQIA that the owner of this station produced invoices showing that he had fired his oil distributor since the undercover visit. In an on-camera interview, he told News 12 New Jersey he took the action because he was beginning to have doubts about the quality of the oil he was getting from his distributor.


#5  

The results of the tests conducted on this sample do NOT meet the SAE J300 specifications for an SAE 5W-30 motor oil.  The Low-Temperature Cranking Viscosity is 22% higher than the maximum viscosity specification for this SAE grade.


#6  

Quality Auto Centers, Colonia, NJ

The results of the tests conducted on this sample meet the SAE J300 specifications for an SAE 5W-30 motor oil. 


#7  

Meineke, Woodbride Ave, Edison, NJ

The results of the tests conducted on this sample do NOT meet the SAE J300 specifications for an SAE 5W-30 motor oil.  The Low-Temperature Cranking Viscosity is 191% higher than the maximum viscosity specification for this SAE grade.  In addition, the organometallic additive levels in this sample indicate the product is NOT suitable for use in the majority of automobile engines currently on the road.


 

Test Results for Bulk Oil Samples Obtained by News12 NJ

 

 

Sample Number, Status, Test results
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7
Does Not Meet SAE J300 for a 5W-30 Does Not Meet SAE J300 for a 5W-30 Does Not Meet SAE J300 for a 5W-30 Does Not Meet SAE J300 for a 5W-30
Does Not
Meet SAE J300 for a 5W-30
Meets SAE J300 for a 5W-30 Does Not Meet SAE J300 for a 5W-30
PHYSICAL TESTS (click test for details)
Standards
             
   TBN, mg KOH/g, (ASTM D2896)
6.90 7.40 5.64 4.76 5.29 7.96 3.48
   Viscosity @ 100ºC, cSt, (ASTM D445) 9.30 to 12.5 9.97 10.13 10.15 10.11 9.98 10.4 10.19
   Viscosity @ 40ºC, cSt, (ASTM D445)   63.46 64.62 62.89 69.79 61.71 60.09 69.94
   Viscosity Index (ASTM D2270)   142 143 148 129 148 163 130
   Viscosity @ -30ºC mPa s (cP) (ASTM D5293) 6,600 Max 9,672 9,772 8,392 19,452 8,052 4,813 19,174
   NOACK volatility, mass % loss, 1 hr, @ 250ºC (ASTM D5800)
15 Max
8.6 9.0 13.4 10.7 13.2 14.0 10.2
Additives              
    Calcium,ppm 1,862 1,908 1,628 1,184 1,605 2,165 821
    Magnesium, ppm   8 18 16 54 18 14 68
    Phosphorus, ppm
550 to 849
770 779 786 488 758 773 441
    Zinc, ppm 822 827 839 428 821 818 395
    Molybdenum, ppm   39 38 18 14 21 67 15
    Barium,ppm   <1 <1 <1 3 <1 <1 3
Additive and/or other              
    Boron   177 176 33 33 24 212 29
    Silicon   5 5 4 5 4 6 5
    Potassium, ppm   <5 <1 <5 <5 <5 <5 <5
    Manganese, ppm   <1 <5 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1
    Titanium, ppm   <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1
    Copper, ppm   <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1
    Sodium, ppm   <5 <5 <5 15 1 16 10
    Vanadium, ppm   <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1
Contaminants              
    Silver, ppm   <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1
    Aluminum, ppm   <1 <1 2 1 <1 3 <1
    Chromium, ppm   <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1
    Iron, ppm   <1 <1 1 2 1 <1 1
    Nickel, ppm   <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1
    Lead, ppm   <1 <1 <1 1 <1 <1 <1
    Antimony, ppm   <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1
    Tin, ppm   <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 <1
a- Standards, shown in black are established by API, SAE and others.
b-Test Method used for metal analysis is ASTM ASTM D5185.
c- ASTM D5185-09 Reproducibility by Element.