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View Full Version : Cheap auto fluids & junky oil filters, etc.


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DonTom
02-10-2007, 01:04 AM
Tom & I were in a 99 cent store the other day and they had an automotive section with some brands of stuff such as Dot 3 brake fluid I never heard of.

Also, power steering fluid and uncommonly used engine oils and such.

Don't all the cheap fluids have to meet the same specs as the more commonly named brand stuff?

I know often name brands are pure junk, even some expensive stuff such as the Fram Double Guard oil filter, which is the most expensive oil filter out there (about ten bucks). The same with the Pennzoil oil filter (it's really built like a cheap Fram Extra Guard--which is really Extra junky).

For more info on oil filters see:

http://minimopar.knizefamily.net/oilfilterstudy.html (http://minimopar.knizefamily.net/oilfilterstudy.html)

But if you're in a hurry to get to the bottom line, see:


http://minimopar.knizefamily.net/oilfilters.html#recommended (http://minimopar.knizefamily.net/oilfilters.html#recommended)

But since good common names can have junk, is the opposite also often true, where an unfamiliar name and cheaply priced automotive product can be very good? Doesn't often the stuff come from the same places anyway, and just overstock and they put on a different name?

Is DOT3 brake fluid the same as any other DOT3 brake fluid and etc?

-Don-

Eric
02-10-2007, 07:17 AM
In the case of oil, there are multiple standards; some oils don't meet the higher ones.

I bet the same applies to the other fluids. Dexron automatic fluid, for example, has gone through a number of "updates" over the years - with newer transmissions requiring the latest formulation (Dexron III - or whatever it is now), and so on.

Some automakers have their own recommended brand(s) - or specifically require that whatever fluids are used meet a specified rating, else you risk voiding your warranty, etc.

The thing to do is find out what service specification/standard/rating applies (or is recommended for use in your vehicle) and if the product you are thinking of using meets the standard, etc. it should be fine to use it.

DonTom
02-10-2007, 08:22 AM
In the case of oil, there are multiple standards; some oils don't meet the higher ones.

I bet the same applies to the other fluids. Dexron automatic fluid, for example, has gone through a number of "updates" over the years - with newer transmissions requiring the latest formulation (Dexron III - or whatever it is now), and so on.

Some automakers have their own recommended brand(s) - or specifically require that whatever fluids are used meet a specified rating, else you risk voiding your warranty, etc.

The thing to do is find out what service specification/standard/rating applies (or is recommended for use in your vehicle) and if the product you are thinking of using meets the standard, etc. it should be fine to use it.



I am not sure if you understand my question. Is all Dexron III of the exact same quality? Is all the engine oil of "SG" of the same quality? Is all Dot 3 of the same quality? Or does the name brand make a difference?

-Don-

Eric
02-10-2007, 08:26 AM
"I am not sure if you understand my question. Is all Dexron III of the exact same quality? Is all the engine oil of "SG" of the same quality? Is all Dot 3 of the same quality? Or does the name brand make a difference?"

If it meets a given standard, then yes, it is the same quality. Keep in mind the standards relate to performance "minimums" - and these "minimums" are very specific (and subject to independent testing; "brand x" can't just slap an API number on the can, etc.)

DonTom
02-10-2007, 08:37 AM
If it meets a given standard, then yes, it is the same quality. Keep in mind the standards relate to performance "minimums" - and these "minimums" are very specific (and subject to independent testing; "brand x" can't just slap an API number on the can, etc.)

But I assume some just barely meet the "minimum" and others exceed it. Is there any way to tell?

Perhaps a quality rating is also needed for oil filters . . .

-Don-

Eric
02-10-2007, 08:44 AM
"But I assume some just barely meet the "minimum" and others exceed it."

If a product exceeds the specified minimum, it will typically make a point of advertising that it does (for example, synthetics like Mobil 1 and Red Line).

But in terms of protection, if the product meets the minimum spec., then you can safely assume it is safe to use it in your vehicle - provided, of course, you are not subjecting the vehicle to use/abuse that is in excess of what the thing was designed to deal with under "normal conditions." In that case, a product that offers "above and beyond" protection may be a good choice...

mrblanche
02-10-2007, 10:43 AM
It's probably important to know that, for example, Wal-Mart, AutoZone, or even the Dollar General Store don't own refineries, don't produce oils or other products like that, and almost certainly don't even have a lab to test them. The stuff is manufactured at a large plant, and the next hundred gallons goes in the blue bottle, after that we do the red bottles, etc.

This is true of a lot of "store brand" stuff. I have picked up truckloads of all sorts of things, from oil to green beans, and had many different brands on the truck, all coming off the same production line.

I believe there are only two or three oil filter manufacturers in the country. George Millet used to frequent the Cars Forum, and worked for them and recommended Wix.

DonTom
02-10-2007, 11:10 AM
The stuff is manufactured at a large plant, and the next hundred gallons goes in the blue bottle, after that we do the red bottles, etc.

That's what I assumed. I hear that's also true with gasoline, the cheap places carry the same stuff as the more expensive places, but one day it might be Chevron gas and the next day it might come from Shell or whatever, from Joe's no-name cheap privately owned gas station.

I believe there are only two or three oil filter manufacturers in the country. George Millet used to frequent the Cars Forum, and worked for them and recommended Wix.-

But aren't many of them made out of the country? For an example, aren't Fram oil filters made in Italy?

-Don

Dave Brand
02-10-2007, 11:26 AM
That's what I assumed. I hear that's also true with gasoline, the cheap places carry the same stuff as the more expensive places, but one day it might be Chevron gas and the next day it might come from Shell or whatever, from Joe's no-name cheap privately owned gas station.

What happens in the UK, & I wouldn't expect the US to be different, is that the large oil depots will supply several different brands out of the same tanks, but each will have its own additive package which is added as required.



But aren't many of them made out of the country? For an example, aren't Fram oil filters made in Italy?



I'm familiar with the friction material industry, which is typical, I would think, of most of the component industry. Manufacturers like to cover as much as possible of what is called in industry jargon, the 'car parc'. However, for vehicles which sell in very small quantities in a particular market it's not worth tooling up for the minuscule market in replacement parts. In such cases parts will be brought in from the manufacturer's own plants in other countries worldwide or from other manufacturers. You'd be surprised at some of the things that go on - the product you buy in a given manufacturer's box may have been manufactured by one of that company's rivals!