I was reading a news story the other day about how food companies have been getting extremely creative with their packaging in order to make customers think what they're about to eat is really good for them. For example, KFC touts its products as having "no trans fats" while failing to mention they often have artery-clogging amounts of every other kind of fat.
This highlights the need to look beyond manufacturer claims and really understand the certifications on the packaging. It's essential when purchasing motor oil; you need to understand the meanings behind the nomenclature and symbols and how they pertain to your particular vehicle and driving needs.
Two words in particular are often listed on oil packaging-"approved" and "exceeds"-and it's critical you differentiate between the two. While both sound good, the former is more important, since it indicates your oil has been approved for use in your vehicle by the vehicle manufacturer and will keep your warranty intact. For example, Pennzoil Ultra Euro 5W-40 carries a Volkswagen 505.00 approval rating. This means Pennzoil sent its oil to Volkswagen, and VW rigorously tested it to ensure that it meets requirements for stability, drain intervals, longevity, wear, emissions, and so on.
"Exceeds," on the other hand, is simply an oil manufacturer's claim and doesn't necessarily indicate any real basis of comparison as to what it exceeds. When an oil brand claims it "exceeds manufacturers specifications," that's simply the oil manufacturer's opinion and not necessarily the vehicle manufacturer's. Think about it-would you really think if the product was sent to Volkswagen to be tested that VW would sent a letter back stating, "We're sorry, but this oil is just too good and exceeds all of our specifications so we can't give you approval"?
When choosing oil, also keep in mind that for every 100 gallons of gasoline burned in your engine's combustion chamber the following byproducts are created: 90-120 gallons of water, 3-10 gallons of unburned gasoline, up to two pounds of soot and carbon, up to a pound of varnish, and 1-4 pounds of sulfuric and nitric acid. When not properly contained, these contaminants turn into a thick sludge and deposits that can clog your engine's arteries, so to speak. With the tight tolerances of today's modern engines, even a small amount of sludge can cause major damage. To keep sludge and deposits under control, Pennzoil Ultra features Hyper Cleansing Technology designed to seek out, engulf, and suspend contaminants within the oil, keeping them from harming critical engine parts. In addition to keeping new sludge and deposits from forming, the oil's Hyper Cleansing Technology is designed to reduce any existing sludge and deposits over time.
Pennzoil Ultra synthetic motor oil carries the stamp of approval from a long list of car manufacturers, and has even earned the distinction of being the factory fill for all U.S.-bound Ferraris. The company is so confidant about the oil's ability to keep your engine factory clean that it offers its own 15-year/500,000-mile limited warranty. For complete details, check the website. -Anthony Gelinas
• Seeks out and dissolves contaminants before they form deposits in the engine
• Helps to prevent the build-up of sludge, damaging deposits, corrosion and engine wear
• Helps clean sludge deposits from engine surfaces and dissolves them safely into the oil
• Provides oil stability under extreme conditions preventing thermal and viscosity breakdown
• Helps protect emissions systems
• Pennzoil Ultra Euro L 5W-30: ACEA Category A3/B3/B4-04 C2-04,C3-04, BMW LL-04, Mercedes 229.51, Audi/VW 504.00/507.00
• Pennzoil Ultra Euro 5W-40: API Service SM/CF, ACEA Category A3/B4-04 A3/B4-04, BMW LL-01, Mercedes 229.5 /229.3, Ferrari/Maserati Approved, Porsche A40, Audi/VW 502.00/505.00/503.01
• Pennzoil Ultra Racing 10W-60: API Service SM/CF, ACEA Category A3/B3/B4, BMW M, Ferrari/Maserati Approved, Mercedes 229.1, Audi/VW 501.1/505.00