Motor Oil Myths & Facts

MYTH: Switching between conventional and other types of motor oil is bad for my engine.
FACT: Conventional, synthetic blend, synthetic, and high mileage motor oils are compatible. Mixing or switching between types of motor oil is not harmful to your engine.

MYTH: It’s bad for my engine to switch between motor oil brands.
FACT: Not all motor oils are the same, but simply switching brands will not have any harmful effect on your engine.

MYTH: Thicker oil is better.
FACT: Thicker oil can be better for older engines in which engine parts have worn over the years. However, it is generally recommended to always stick with the viscosity recommended by the manufacturer of the particular engine.

MYTH: There is not any real difference between conventional and synthetic motor oil.
FACT: There are not any real differences in the basestocks used to make synthetic and conventional oils, but there are differences in the additives and process used to make the final products.

MYTH: Conventional motor oils are natural, unprocessed products.
FACT: Conventional oils use natural crude products extracted from the earth which go through a refining processes to produce a final product.

MYTH: Synthetic motor oils are man-made in a laboratory.
FACT: Synthetic motor oils use crude oils extracted from the earth which go through a synthesis process and use man-made additives in the creation of a final product.

MYTH: Additives are good.
FACT: Special additives can be good for certain vehicles in regard to seal leaks and oil consumption.

MYTH: Additives are bad.
FACT: Additives can be harmful to an engine if used improperly or at the wrong time. Certain additives can form sludge or cause problems related to engine lubrication.

MYTH: Synthetic oils are too thin, creating blow-by and oil burn-off in older cars.
FACT: Just like conventional motor oil, synthetic oils have a specific viscosity grade. However, synthetic motor oil contains extra lubrication additives to make the oil stronger and provide higher heat dissipation. Synthetic oils do not affect seals and will not be the cause of blow-by or oil burn off in an older engine.

MYTH: Synthetic oil is bad for engine seals.
FACT:Synthetic oil will not cause any damage to engine seals.

MYTH: Older cars must use conventional motor oil.
FACT: Not true. Older cars can use synthetic motor oil. Valvoline does not recommend using synthetic oil if the vehicle already contains a leak.

MYTH: All oils are the same.
FACT: Different companies use different additives for their oils. That is what makes the oil products different.

MYTH: The “W” stands for “weight.”
FACT: It actually stands for winter.

MYTH: Synthetic oil is “fake” oil.
FACT: Synthetic oils are not fake – they are still derived from crude. However, synthetic oils use higher basestocks than conventional oils. Synthetic oils also go through a different process than conventional oils for extra wear protection and overall higher shear strengths.

MYTH: Dark oil means it’s time to change it.
FACT: Not necessarily. Dark oil means that the oil is using the detergents added to the formulation to clean the inside of the engine. If oil is dark, that doesn’t mean that the additives are not working, it just means that the oil is doing its job to clean internally.

MYTH: You don’t have to change your oil filter every time you change your oil.
FACT: We recommend changing your oil filter each and every time you change your oil. This eliminates any risk of contaminants trapped by the oil filter, such as dirt, from re-entering the oil.

MYTH: Long driving = hard driving
FACT: Not always. Hard driving pertains to high and/or constant changing of rpms, pulling or towing. It can also be dependant upon the geographic area in which you drive.

MYTH: It’s good to let your car heat up (idle) before moving.
FACT: It is good to let your car warm up for several minutes in cold temperatures. Otherwise, this really doesn’t have an effect on the engine.

MYTH: All additives are the same.
FACT:Not true. Some additives contain different formulations to affect certain parts of the engine differently than other additives.

MYTH: Oil can significantly improve horsepower (it can’t make your engine better than it was).
FACT: Certain oils, such as Valvoline’s MaxLife, can significantly improve horsepower and prolong the life of an engine by conditioning seals and cleaning buildup, sludge, etc. from older engines.

MYTH: Synthetic oils cause cars to use more oil.
FACT: Synthetic oils will not cause an engine to use more oil.

MYTH: Synthetics create more sludge.
FACT: Not true. Valvoline synthetics are higher in detergents to help clean an engine and reduce the risk of sludge.

MYTH: If you don’t drive in severe conditions, you don’t need to change your oil as often.
FACT: Valvoline recommends changing oil every 3,000 miles. Most consumers (more than 80% of drivers, according to a State of California study) actually drive under what is considered severe driving conditions (stop and go, short trips, towing, or very hot or very cold temperatures). Auto manufacturers’ oil change interval recommendations are dramatically shorter for severe driving conditions, with the majority recommending 3,750 miles or less and with 3,000 miles being the most common recommendation. Both oil and oil filters have less of a useful life under severe conditions due to increased dirt and other contaminants. So, changing the oil and filter every 3,000 miles is the best way to ensure engine health.

MYTH: As long as you change the oil filter, you can run longer between oil changes.
FACT: Valvoline recommends changing the oil filter every 3,000 miles with the oil. Both oil and oil filters have less of a useful life under severe conditions due to increased dirt and other contaminants. So, changing the oil and filter every 3,000 miles is the best way to ensure engine health.

MYTH: You can use motor oil in a manual transmission.
FACT: If a manual transmission application does not call for the use of a motor oil, it is strongly recommended not to use a motor oil. Follow your owner’s manual for requirements on the correct fluid to use for your particular application.

MYTH: Bulk oil is a different (lower) quality than bottled oil.
FACT: Bulk oil is the exact same oil that is bottled and sold in retail locations.

MYTH: Oil never wears out, it just gets dirty.
FACT: Oil additives will weaken as the engine oil is used.

MYTH: You can improve an oil’s performance with aftermarket additives.
FACT: There are many different additive formulations that affect an engine oil. Some additives assist the engine with seal leaks, cleaning and other important factors.

MYTH: Using (brand x) will void my manufacturer’s warranty.
FACT: Using a brand of oil that is different from your vehicle manufacturer’s factory fill will not void the warranty. Just make sure that the oil meets the manufacturer’s standards for use in the particular vehicle.

MYTH: Once your engine gets a taste of synthetic motor oil, there’s no going back to conventional oil.
FACT: Synthetic and conventional oils are compatible – It is not harmful if you decide to switch.

MYTH: Changing oil myself will void my manufacturer’s warranty.
FACT: Using a brand of oil that is different from your vehicle manufacturer’s factory fill will not void the warranty nor will changing the oil yourself. As long as you use an oil that meets the vehicle manufacturer’s standards, you will not void the warranty.


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