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OE Approved Car Oils -The Slick Truth

What You Need To Know About Your Car's Oil

Anthony Gelinas
Nov 1, 2008 SHARE
Epcp_0811_01_z+OEM_approved_oils+various_brands Photo 1/9   |   OE Approved Car Oils -The Slick Truth

Is there a difference between "approved" and "meets or exceeds" on that bottle of oil you are about to purchase for your late model European car? The answer is yes!

When you buy "approved" oil, the manufacturer of the oil has taken the time to develop a product that has been formulated to a precise set of standards. Take the clean diesel engine on the new '09 Jetta TDI, for example. Volkswagen spent years developing a clean diesel engine that could be sold in all 50 states. Three things makes clean diesel possible: a new low sulfur fuel, urea injection systems, and a particulate filter to remove the soot from the exhaust so you don't see massive black clouds bellowing from the rear. In order for that very expensive part to last, one of Volkswagen's requirements is that the lubricant has low sulfur, low phosphorus, and low sulfated ash rates. The reason is if the sulfated ashes are too high, it will clog the diesel particulate filter (DPF) causing an expensive repair and the car to fail emissions testing.

This is why it is extremely important to check the owner's manual of your vehicle to see what the manufacturer approvals are. They come in an alphanumeric code, for example: BMW (LL-04), Mercedes-Benz (MB229.3), and VW (502.00). It is important to make sure that the bottle of oil you purchase has these OEM approvals because it can save you massive amounts of money on future repairs. Approved oil is the lifeblood of your engine, so to prevent being caught in the middle of BFE and being a half a quart low, keep a quart of approved oil in the car. In an emergency, my Audi manual says it is OK to top off with non-approved oil that meets certain industry standards as long as you don't use more than half a quart. Before long trips, check oil levels before you leave, which is an especially good idea if you own an Audi.

The phrase "meets or exceeds" can be a misnomer. At first glance the word "exceeds" makes you think that it is better than "approved." Keep in mind that unlike standard oil industry approvals, where an oil can get a grade by being within a range of criteria, OEM-approved oils use a set of standards that have been tested on your vehicle and been proven to work. I would be surprised if a company that uses the term "exceeds" spent the money to have an OEM test its oil only to receive a letter that says, "We're sorry but your product is too good, we can't offer you approval." The same thing holds true with the use of the term "meets." Since the other oil companies don't spend the time and money to have the OEM, how would they know it meets the requirement? Plus, if it did really meet the requirement then it would be an approved oil.

So I'm wondering, if the car manufacturers are the ones doing the testing, which costs money, did they spend the money for the test or is it just an assumption?

Some people like to cry foul and say that they don't think it's right for a car manufacturer to dictate what type of oil to use, especially if another oil company says their product exceeds their specifications. The other oil company might throw up some test and show some proof that their oil is superior to an approved oil brand. But there really is only one test for approval and that's the real-world test, which includes extensive testing of emissions, oxidation, wear-and-tear distribution on moving metal-to-metal parts, fuel economy, and severe wear-and-tear testing (about 600 hours of continued use) on your type of vehicle.

When it comes down to it, it's your car and you can do whatever you want, just don't be surprised when something fails and the dealer voids your warranty. These oil approvals are like octane ratings: If your gas door says to use 91-octane or higher, there is a reason why the manufacturer spent the time and money to put that sticker there. It's against the law for a car manufacturer to mandate that you use only their approved products, charge outrageous prices, and prevent other manufacturers from seeking approvals. All car manufacturers open the approval process up to any oil manufacturer who is willing to submit their product and pay for the test. Approved oils are inexpensive (as cheap as $4.99) and they are available almost everywhere. It is not illegal for them to say the use of non-approved oil can adversely affect your new vehicle warranty. Bottom line: To avoid a headache at the dealership when something fails, always use high-quality oil filters, approved oils, and always keep the receipts to show that you purchased an "approved" product. Keep in mind the dealer can run a simple test to determine if you were using approved oil or not.

Epcp_0811_02_z+OEM_approved_oils+Agip_synthetic Photo 2/9   |   OE Approved Car Oils -The Slick Truth

*Agip Synthetic PC 5W-30: fully synthetic motor oil designed for naturally aspirated or forced-induction gasoline engines.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B4-04), API (SM/CF), ILSAC (GF-3 for API certified gasoline engine oils)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-01), Mercedes-Benz (MB 229.3), VW (502.00/505.00)Size: 1 U.S. quart (946 mL)Price: $69.95 for 12x1 liter bottles

*Agip Synthetic PC 5W-40: fully synthetic motor oil designed for naturally aspirated or forced-induction gasoline engines.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B4-04), API (SM/CF), ILSAC (GF-3 for API certified gasoline engine oils)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-01), Mercedes-Benz (MB 229.3), VW (502.00/505.00), Porsche (reference number 2005/01/29)Size: 1 U.S. quart (946 mL)Price: $65.95 for 12x1 liter bottles

*Agip 7004 5W-40: designed for gasoline or diesel engines, especially those with a single-pump injector.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B3), API (SJ/CF)OEM Approvals: VW (500.00/502.00/505.00)Size: 1 U.S. quart (946 mL)

Agip
800.922.9243
www.americanagip.com

The Castrol logo can be seen adorning the oil fill caps of Audi, BMW, and Volkswagen vehicles. Castrol Syntec's fully synthetic formula incorporates an advanced additive package that eliminates the corrosive particles that cause power-robbing sludge buildup.

Epcp_0811_03_z+OEM_approved_oils+Castrol_syntec_x Photo 3/9   |   OE Approved Car Oils -The Slick Truth

*Castrol Syntec SAE 0W-30 European Formula: offers exceptional pumpability in cold weather and allows for unaided engine starts down to minus 40 degrees F.Industry Approvals: European ACEA: (A3/B3/B4), API: (SL/SJ/SH/CF or CD), ILSAC: (GF-3 for API certified gasoline engine oils)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-01), Mercedes-Benz (MB 229.1/ 229.3/229.5),VW (502.00, 505.00, 503.01)Size: 1 U.S. quart (946 mL) Price: $6.49

*Castrol Syntec SAE 5W-40 European Formula: specifically formulated to meet the needs of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B3/B4), API (SL/SJ/SH/CF or CD), ILSAC (GF-3 for API certified gasoline engine oils)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-98), Mercedes-Benz (MB 229.1/229.3), Porsche (except Cayenne V6), Volvo, VW (502.00/505.00)Size: 1 U.S. quart (946 mL) Price: $6.49

Castrol
800.462.0835
www.castrol.com

*Liqui Moly Top Tec 4200 5W-30 Longlife III: partially synthetic blend of conventional oil and HC synthetic technology, designed specifically for gasoline and diesel-powered VW and Audi vehicles. Meets extended oil change intervals and is compatible with diesel particulate filters.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B4)OEM Approvals: VW (504.00/507.00)Size: 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/ 5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

*Liqui Moly Longtime High Tech 5W-30: partially synthetic blend of conventional oil and synthetic technology optimized for gasoline and diesel engines with multiple valves, Valvetronic, and turbocharger technology. Meets extended oil change interval requirements.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3-04/B4-04/C3-04), API (SM/CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-04), Mercedes-Benz (MB 229.51), VW (502.00/505.00/505.01)Size: 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/ 5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

Epcp_0811_04_z+OEM_approved_oils+Liqui_Moly Photo 4/9   |   OE Approved Car Oils -The Slick Truth

*Liqui Moly Leichtlauf Special LL 5W-30: partially synthetic blend of conventional oil and HC synthetic technology designed specifically for gasoline and diesel engines. Meets extended oil change interval requirements.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3-04/B4-04), API (SL/CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-01), Mercedes-Benz (MB 299.3), VW (502.00/505.00)Size: 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/ 5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

*Liqui Moly Diesel High Tech 5W-40: the Synthetic blend of conventional oil and synthetic technology was designed specifically for diesel pumped-jet injection engines. Meets extended oil change interval requirements.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3-04/B4-04), API (SL/CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-01), Mercedes-Benz (MB 299.3), VW (502.00/505.00)Size: 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/ 5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

*Liqui Moly Synthoil Longtime Plus 0W-30: full synthetic formula is especially for Volkswagen gasoline and diesel engines that require extended oil change intervals.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A1/A5/B1/B5), API (SL/CF)OEM Approvals: VW (503.00/506.00/506.01)Size: 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/ 5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

*Liqui Moly Synthoil Energy 0W-40: full synthetic low-friction motor oil formula flows quickly at low temperatures while still maintaining high-temperature stability. Recommended for gasoline and diesel engines that require extended oil change intervals.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3-98/B3-98), API (SJ/CF/SH/EC/CF)OEM Approvals: Mercedes-Benz (MB 299.1), Porsche, VW (502.00/505.00)Size: 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

*Liqui Moly Synthoil High Tech 5W-40: full synthetic formula designed with very high-lubrication reliability at high and low temperatures. Recommended for high-performance for multivalve and turbocharged gasoline engines that require extended oil change intervals. Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3-98/B3-98), API (SM/CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-98), Mercedes-Benz (MB 299.1/229.3), Porsche, VW (502.00/505.00)Size: 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/ 5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

Liqui Moly
www.liqui-moly.com

Epcp_0811_05_z+OEM_approved_oils+Mobil Photo 5/9   |   OE Approved Car Oils -The Slick Truth

*Mobil 1 0W-40 is the factory fill on vehicles like Aston Martin, Mercedes AMG, and Porsche. The fully synthetic formula features high-viscosity index and SuperSyn technology for quick and consistent lubrication and protection for all driving styles and conditions.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B3/B4), API (SM/SL/CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-01), Mercedes-Benz (MB 229.5/AMG), Porsche Approval List 2002, Saab, VW (502.00/505.00/503.01)Size: 1 U.S. quart (946 mL)Price: $6.99

Mobil
800.662.4525
www.mobiloil.com

Motul Specific is a fully synthetic oil developed using Mid SAPS (low sulfur, phosphorus, and sulfated ashes) technology to reduce oxidation, corrosion, and wear. Since the oil is designed based on individual manufacturer specifications they work with the drain intervals managed by the vehicle's onboard computer.

*Motul Specific 504.00/507.00 5W30OEM Approvals: VW (504.00/507.00)Price: $13.20 for 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)Motul Specific 505.01/ 502.00/505 00 5W40OEM Approvals: VW (505.01/ 502.00/505 00)Price: $11 for 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/$49.10 for 5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

*Motul Specific LL-04 5W40: can be used where BMW LL-01, LL-01 FE, or LL-98 is required, except for M3 and M5.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B4/C3), API (SL/CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-04)Price: $11.70 for 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/$51.90 for 5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

*Motul Specific 229.51 5W30OEM Approvals: Mercedes-Benz (MB 229.51)Price: $11.75 for 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/$42.90 for 5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

*Motul 8100 X-max 5W-30: full synthetic ester-based formula was engineered specifically for BMW four-, six-, and eight-cylinder and Valvetronic engines and recent Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Volkswagen engines. Meets extended oil change intervals mandated by original equipment manufacturers.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B4), API (SL,CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-01), Mercedes-Benz (229.3/229.5), VW (502.00/505.00)Price: $12.25 for 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/$53.80 for 5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

*Motul 8100 X-max 5W-40: full synthetic formula was developed for Mercedes-Benz AMG engines. Meets extended oil change intervals mandated by original equipment manufacturers.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B4), API (SM,CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-01), Mercedes-Benz (229.5/AMG), VW (502.00/505.00)Price: $13.10 for 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/$59.50 for 5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

Epcp_0811_06_z+OEM_approved_oils+Motul Photo 6/9   |   OE Approved Car Oils -The Slick Truth

*Motul 8100 X-clean 5W-40: full synthetic formula was manufactured using Mid SAPS technology to reduce oxidation, corrosion, and wear. Meets extended oil change intervals mandated by original equipment manufacturers.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B4/C3), API (SM,CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-04), Mercedes-Benz (229.31/229.51), Porsche, VW (502.00/505.00)Price: $13.60 for 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)

*Motul 8100 X-cess 5W-40: full synthetic formula specifically designed for large displacement and high-output gasoline and direct injection turbo diesel (except VW unit injector) engine. Meets extended oil change intervals mandated by original equipment manufacturers.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B3/B4), API (SL/CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-98), Mercedes-Benz (229.3), Porsche (except Cayenne), VW (502.00/505.00)Price: $9.90 for 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/$42.80 for 5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

Motul
909.625.1292
www.motul.com

Pennzoil Platinum European Formula is a full synthetic formula featuring adaptive molecules engineered to divide or cluster together under extreme engine stresses of heat to reduce shear and pressure to prevent oil breakdown and reduce deposits.

*Pennzoil Platinum European Formula Ultra SAE 5W-30Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B3/B4), API (SH/CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-04), Mercedes-Benz (MB 229.51), Porsche, VW (502.00/505.00)Size: 1 U.S. quart (946 mL) Price: $4.99

*Pennzoil Platinum European Ultra Diesel SAE 5W-30: designed for Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and other diesel passenger cars equipped with diesel particulate trap filters and three-way catalytic converters.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B3/C3), API (SL,CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-04), Mercedes-Benz (MB 229.5), VW (502.00/505.00/505.01)Size: 1 U.S. quart (946 mL)Price: $4.99

*Pennzoil Platinum European Formula SAE 5W-40Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B3), API (SL/CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-98), Mercedes-Benz (MB 229.3), Porsche, VW (502.00/505.00)Size: 1 U.S. quart (946 mL)Price: $4.99

Pennzoil
800.840.5737
www.pennzoil.com

*Pentosin Pentosynth TS 5W-40:a semi-synthetic oil designed to be used year-round, suitable for gasoline and diesel engines, especially for the VW pump nozzle.Industry Approvals: European ACEA 2002 (A3-02/B3-98 Lss 2), API (SL/CF)OEM Approvals: Mercedes-Benz (MB 229.1), VW (502.00/505.00/505.01)Size: 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)

*Pentosin Pento High SAE 5W-40: fully synthetic oil formulated for both gasoline and diesel engines with and without a turbocharger that requires extended changing intervals.Industry Approvals: European ACEA 2002 (A3/B3/B4), API (SL/CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-98), Mercedes-Benz (MB 229.3), VW (502.00/505.00)Size: 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)

Epcp_0811_07_z+OEM_approved_oils+Pentospeed Photo 7/9   |   OE Approved Car Oils -The Slick Truth

*Pentosin Pentospeed SAE 0W-30: a fully synthetic formulation that uses baseoil with very low evaporation loss, perfect for VW and Audi engines. Viscosity range and special friction modifiers help optimize fuel economy.Industry Approvals: European ACEA 2002 (A3/B3/B4),API (SL/CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-01), Mercedes-Benz (MB 229.3/299.5), VW (502.00/503.01/505.00)Size: 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)

Pentosin
www.crpindustries.com

Q HorsePower Full Synthetic motor oil features heat-activated technology designed to create an ultra-heat resistant, low-friction film that maximizes horsepower.

*Q HorsePower SAE 5W-40 Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B3/B4-04), API (SM/CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-01), Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz (MB 229.5), Porsche, VW (502.00/505.00/503.01)Size: 1 U.S. quart (946 mL) Price: $4.99

Epcp_0811_08_z+OEM_approved_oils+Q_Horsepower Photo 8/9   |   OE Approved Car Oils -The Slick Truth

*Q HorsePower SAE 10W-60 Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B4-04), API (SM,CF)OEM Approvals: Ferrari, MaseratiSize: 1 U.S. quart (946 mL) Price: $4.99

*Q Diesel SAE 5W-40: Designed for VW diesel cars with diesel pump injector engines to prevent wear and deposit on critical engine parts like the diesel pump injector.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B3-02), API (SJ/CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-04), Mercedes-Benz (MB 229.5), VW (500.00/505.00/505.01)Size: 1 U.S. quart (946 mL) Price: $4.99

Quaker State
800.237.8645
www.qpower.com

Total Quartz INEO full synthetic formulas' exceptional oxidation resistance satisfies the demands of manufacturers extra-long draining intervals (12,000-24,000 miles). New Low SAPS (reduced proportion of sulfated ash, phosphorus, and sulfur) generation oil especially developed to optimize the functionality of the emission systems, ensuring diesel particulate filters don't prematurely fail.

*Total Quartz INEO 504/507 5W-30Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B4-2004)OEM Approvals: VW (503.01/504.00/507.00)Size: 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/ 5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

*Total Quartz INEO MC3 5W-30 Industry Approvals: European ACEA 2007 (C3), API (SM/CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-04), Mercedes-Benz (MB 229.31/229.51), VW (502.00/505.00/505.01)Size: 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/ 5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

*Total Quartz Energy 9000 0W-30: fully synthetic formula helps reduce C02 emissions, improve the efficiency of diesel particulate filters, and its low phosphorus levels protect the catalytic converters found on gasoline engines. Meets extended oil change intervals mandated by original equipment manufacturers.Industry Approvals: European ACEA 2004 (A3/B4), API (SL/CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-01), Mercedes-Benz (MB 299.5), Saab, Smart, VW (502.00/505.00)Size: 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/ 5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

Epcp_0811_09_z+OEM_approved_oils+Total_Quartz Photo 9/9   |   OE Approved Car Oils -The Slick Truth

*Total Quartz Energy 9000 5W-40: fully synthetic formula was designed for multivalve and turbocharged gasoline engines and diesel engines with or without a turbo that are not equipped with a diesel particulate filter. Meets extended oil change intervals mandated by original equipment manufacturers.Industry Approvals: European ACEA (A3/B4), API (SL/CF)OEM Approvals: BMW (LL-98), Mercedes-Benz (MB 299.3), Porsche, VW (502.00/505.00)Size: 1.06 U.S. quarts (1 liter)/ 5.3 U.S. quarts (5 liters)

Total
877.353.6457
www.totalmotoroils.us

Note:
BMW approval also includes MINIMercedes-Benz approval also includes SmartVW approval also includes Audi and Bentley

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By Anthony Gelinas
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