Whether you have questions about maintenance, Valvoline products or engine oil, you’ll find easy-to-understand answers. You can find out how to maintain your vehicle and help extend its life and increase performance. Plus, you can find the products that are compatible with your vehicle so you can keep it running its best.
Does motor oil expire? How long does motor oil generally last?
Valvoline motor oil does not have a documented expiration date. Under optimal conditions, the product is stable for an extended period of time and can be used as long as the American Petroleum Institute (API) rating on the label continues to meet or exceed the requirements listed in your owner's manual. If the rating is still current, shake the container before use to blend any additives that may have settled.
Does motor oil ever wear out or does it just get dirty?
Motor oil breaks down with mileage and time - the oil additives weaken as the engine oil is used. Dirt can be a factor as well. Changing motor oil on a regular basis will eliminate these factors.
Are conventional motor oils natural, unprocessed products?
The base oils used in conventional motor oils come from a natural source and are then put through a hydrocarbon process in which the additives are blended.
Why do some motor oils carry the "API Certified - For Gasoline Engines" starburst symbol on the bottle while others do not?
Additive packages used in some motor oils such as high mileage motor oils can affect the ratings due to the American Petroleum Institute approving these standards. The oils will meet the requirements for API Certification.
Will changing my vehicle's motor oil myself or using a certain brand void my manufacturer's warranty?
Changing your vehicle's motor oil yourself or using a different brand of oil from your manufacturer's factory fill will not void the warranty. As long as the motor oil being used meets the manufacturer's standards required for the vehicle, the warranty cannot be considered void.
Are all brands of motor oil basically the same?
All brands of motor oil are not the same. Base oils, additives, etc., can be different from one brand to the next.
What are the correct used motor oil disposal procedures?
Visit your local recycling agency for information on how and where to recycle motor oil.
Do I have to change my vehicle's oil filter with every oil change?
Yes. Valvoline recommends replacing the filter every time your vehicle receives an oil change by following the oil change frequency recommendations in your vehicle's owner's manual. This eliminates any risk of contaminants trapped by the oil filter (e.g., dirt) from re-entering the oil.
I heard that when motor oil becomes dark, that means it's time to change it. Is this true?
This is not a true oil change tip. You cannot determine the life of motor oil by looking at its appearance since it may change color for several reasons. To ensure the best quality product, the best oil change tip is to always follow the owner's manual guidelines for oil change intervals.
Is the bulk oil that is put in my vehicle during an oil change at a quick lube different than bottled oil?
The bulk product put in your vehicle at a quick lube location is the same formulation Valvoline packages in other size containers and uses at a Valvoline oil change.
Can motor oil significantly improve horsepower?
Yes. Friction modifiers and additives help achieve this.
What are "severe" conditions?
Severe conditions include stop and go driving, consistent idling, pulling and towing, etc.
If I don't drive in severe conditions can I change my oil less often?
Your owner's manual should provide different oil change intervals for regular driving and severe driving applications.
Is it a good idea to let your car warm up (idle)?
In cold temperatures, letting your car to idle for 2-3 minutes allows the oil to lubricate the engine parts thoroughly before the RPM's are increased.
Can I improve motor oil performance in my vehicle by using aftermarket additives?
Certain additives are made for different motor oil applications. Before using any additive, we advise checking with the motor oil manufacturer.
Are all additives the same?
No. Additives contain different formulations that affect certain parts of the engine differently than other additives.
Is it ok to switch motor oil weights, for example, from a 5w20 to a 10w30?
It depends. Some vehicle manufacturers provide a range of recommended motor oil viscosity grades based on the outside temperature in which the car is driven. Other manufacturers recommend the use of only one motor oil viscosity grade. For best engine performance, follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
Is it ok to use 5w30 in a car if the owner's manual calls for 5w20?
Some manufacturers now use 5w20 engine oil to maximize fuel economy for certain applications. Using a 5w30 type of oil may cause a slight decrease in fuel economy. For maximum engine performance, Valvoline suggests following the recommended motor oil viscosity and maintenance schedule provided in your vehicle's owner manual.
What does the "W" in a grade of motor oil stand for?
The "W" in motor oil stands for winter.
Is thicker oil better?
Depending on the circumstances, thicker oil can be used to help fill in wear gaps that have developed throughout the years. However, the recommendation is to always use the motor oil viscosity recommended in your vehicle's owner manual.
When does it make sense to use straight weight oil (SAE30) versus a multigrade oil (5w30)?
A straight weight oil is never recommended for use in a system that requires a multi-viscosity oil. Straight weight oils are generally recommended for smaller engine applications or older vehicle applications that were made before multi-viscosity oils were produced.
Can switching from a conventional to a high mileage motor oil create gasket leaks?
No. The conventional and high mileage oils are compatible with each other. Mixing or switching the products will not cause leaks.
Is recycled motor oil better for the environment?
Yes. Recycling motor oil prevents used oil from contaminating the soil and water. Recycled motor oil also uses 56 percent fewer resources compared to oil made without recycled content.
Will using recycled motor oil void my manufacturer’s warranty?
No. All major car manufacturers have approved the use of recycled motor oil that is properly certified by the American Petroleum Institute (API). Valvoline® NextGen™ recycled motor oil carries and exceeds all API certifications.
Is Valvoline NextGen™ recycled motor oil just dirty oil that has been cleaned?
No. NextGen uses a newer refining process just like crude oil refining. A multi-stage refining process removes contaminants and additives to create fresh oil that performs as good as new. Then special additives are blended to create a recycled motor oil with superior performance and protection characteristics compared to specifications. Valvoline has a rigorous quality control process to assure that NextGen is of the highest quality.