Do Different Formulations of Motor Oil from the Same Brand Really Behave Differently?

Todd at Project Farm wanted to know if different formulations of oil from the same brand (Penzoil) perform differently, and is the high-end oil all that different from the cheapest one?

The formulations tested were Pennzoil Synthetic Blend, Full Synthetic, Platinum, and Ultra Platinum. He sent the oils out to a lab for analysis and also tested them for evaporative loss, lubricity or film strength, and cold oil flow both new oil and after exposure to heat. Additionally, in a final test, Pennzoil Ultra Platinum was exposed to 10% gasoline and another sample to antifreeze to see the impact it had on lubricity and oil performance.

Bottom line? This looks like a “you get what you pay for” result. The most expensive of the lot, Ultra Platinum ($28 on Amazon at time of test, $14.22 currently), definitely performed the best. That’s actually lower in price than the cheapest one at time of testing (Synthetic Blend, at $17). And, if you buy 6 quarts on Amazon, the Ultra Platinum blend is only $8.60/qt.


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