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Is there such a thing as bad motor oil? Vehicle mechanics step inside. Login/Join 
Picture of kent j
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I also suspect it was overfilled. Probably was not drained and new oil put in on top of old. this would account for oil looking black. Overfilling by 5 or 6 quarts would swamp the engine internals and would certainly cause a number of issues on newer computer controlled engines.

Regards, Kent j

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Posts: 259 | Location: Southern Indiana | Registered: December 11, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of P250UA5
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Originally posted by kent j:
I also suspect it was overfilled. Probably was not drained and new oil put in on top of old. this would account for oil looking black. Overfilling by 5 or 6 quarts would swamp the engine internals and would certainly cause a number of issues on newer computer controlled engines.

My dad had this happen at the dealer where he works.
C8 Corvette, in for oil change & the quick lube jockeys didn't drain it, then added the new oil on top.
Lots of smoke in the time it took him to drive it around the corner of the shop.

The Enemy's gate is down.
Posts: 12543 | Location: Spring, TX | Registered: July 11, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of cas
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^(this is a better chance)

Did somebody drop off a gallon jug of drain oil and some else mistakenly put it in the engine?

Quite a stretch, but also an answer.
Posts: 20135 | Location: 18th & Fairfax  | Registered: May 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Aeteocles
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Sounds like they failed to drain the oil completely and then overfilled it. Likely metered in a set amount of new oil based iny oil capacity spec without verifying fill level. Very likely if the car doesn't have a dipstick and relies on a sensor to read out oil levels (requires oil to be warmed and resting for several minutes)

If overfilled, the moving parts in the engine may whip up the oil into a froth which then inhibits lubrication. Bubbles in the oil make it harder for pumps to pick up, and air bubbles mess up the protective film. I imagine that could cause an engine to run rough.
Posts: 12892 | Location: Orange County, California | Registered: May 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Irksome Whirling Dervish
Picture of Flashlightboy
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On Subarus (I drive an OB) it's not unheard of for a place such as Iffy Lube, or even the dealer, to mistakenly drain the transmission and then add new oil to the engine.

Transmission is toast and the engine might be. If it's a dealer mistake they typically offer an extended engine warranty but 100% of the time the CVT is a goner.
Posts: 3683 | Location: "You can't just go to Walmart with a gift card and get a new brother." Janice Serrano | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Greymann
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Is there bad motor oil ?

Yes, here is a list of oils banned in New Jersey.

Some were taken off shelves here too.

19 motor oils banned in NJ; is yours on the list?
David P. Willis@dpwillis732

WOODBRIDGE – New Jersey has banned the sale of eight brands of discount motor oils after testing found that what was on the label was not in the bottle.

Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Steve Lee speaks at a news conference Thursday in Woodbridge announcing 19 motor oil products had been banned in New Jersey because their viscosity failed to match what was promised on the label.
The ban, ordered by the New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures, covers motor oil with the brand names Auto Club Motor Oil, Black Knight Motor Oil, Lube State Motor Oil, MaxiGuard MG, Orbit Motor Oil, TruStar Motor Oil, U.S. Economy Motor Oil and U.S. Spirit Motor Oil. See the full list of 19 individual oils banned in New Jersey at the bottom of this story.

"As of today, these products may no longer be sold in New Jersey," said Steve C. Lee, acting director of the state Division of Consumer Affairs. The motor oil is priced at about $3 to $6 a quart.

Operating off a tip from the Petroleum Quality Institute of America, the state sent various motor oils, found for sale at 99-cent stores, discounters and gasoline stations, to a state-contracted lab for testing. The results: the now-banned products failed to conform to the viscosity stated on the product label.

Viscosity is a measure of a liquid's tendency to flow. High viscosity fluids are considered thick and flow slowly while low viscosity fluids are considered thin and flow faster.

So among the banned oils, motor oils labeled 10W-40 had viscosity measures that were "widely and unacceptably" in contrast to the industry standards of 10W-40 motor oil, the state said.

Some of the motor oils banned in New Jersey.
Could damage car

Below is a list of motor oils banned for sale in New Jersey because their viscosity did not match what was promised on the label.

•Auto Club Motor Oil SAE 5W-30

•Auto Club Motor Oil SAE 10W-30

•Auto Club Motor Oil SAE 10W-40

•Auto Club Motor Oil SAE 20W-50

•Black Knight Motor Oil 5-30

•Black Knight Motor Oil 10-40

•LubeState Motor Oil SAE 10W-30

•MaxiGuard MG 10-30

•MaxiGuard MG 10-40

•MaxiGuard MG 20-50

•MaxiGuard MG SAE30

•Orbit Motor Oil 5-20

•Orbit Motor Oil 10-40

•TruStar Motor Oil 10-30

•U.S. Economy Motor Oil 5-30

•U.S. Economy Motor Oil 10-40

•U.S. Economy Motor Oil SAE 10W-40

•U.S. Spirit Motor Oil SAE 10W-30

•U.S. Spirit Motor Oil SAE 10W-40

Source: New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures

Posts: 1312 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: March 21, 2017Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Black92LX
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Is it possible there was a bad batch of oil, sure but I very much doubt it.

I am in the boat that says they did not drain it. Then over filled it.

Originally posted by TMats:

Like any profession, I know mechanics have biases. I have never in my life put a can of Pennzoil into a vehicle I owned, and that goes back to a couple of mechanics I worked with when I was 18. Seems like they said Pennzoil had a waxy element to it (either inherent to Pennsylvania crude, or added in formulation) that they thought would break down in high heat. I don’t know, but they kept me from ever using it.

I guess Ferrari did not get the memo

I used to use Amsoil exclusively for synthetic. I recently switch to LiquiMoly and noticed an immediate decrease in engine noise, easier starting, and a smoother running engine.

Sending off the Amsoils with 5k I just drained to Blackstone and then will do the same with this LiquiMoly to Blackstone.

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Posts: 24377 | Registered: September 06, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by RogueJSK:
Or they drained the old oil, got distracted, and didn't put any new oil in it, and then made up the story about the oil being black after they checked it and went: "Oh shit, we forgot to put oil in it!"

Rogue is correct, this is the most likely scenario. Hard to prove. Might go to another shop, have the oil changed again, possibly take an oil sample and have it tested. They might have started the engine before the oil was put in, I have seen this happen.

Other possibility is the oil was not fully drained, and they overfilled, as mentioned above.

Posts: 3830 | Location: West coast | Registered: March 31, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Is there a "bad oil"? It's was possible when oil was reclaimed back in the 50's. Oil was recycled and sludge burned off. The EPA put a ban on that.

Recycled oil then was about 10 cents a quart.

As a habit, I always check the oil level on my car or motorcycle immediately after having it serviced. In past years I saw too many mechanic screw ups.

"Some people are alive today because it's against the law to kill them".
Posts: 8132 | Location: Arizona | Registered: August 17, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of 4MUL8R
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Could a blend of engine oil be bad? Yes, but with infinitesimal probability.

Could an engine oil formulation be bad? Only oils without API credentials.

Document everything and sue for losses, should the engine fail.

BMW K1600GT Pilot
Posts: 4525 | Location: Commonwealth of Virginia | Registered: January 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of SIGnified
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About 20 years ago on a 90° summer day the kids mom takes them to the zoo on the side of the mountain. They spend the whole day there and then as they back out of the parking spot at the zoo, wife sees a pool of oil all over the ground.

Her decision? Drive 12 miles to me to see what’s wrong.


There is no oil in the motor other than maybe what was left in the filter.

Turns out the oil pressure sending unit had blown out and all the oil was dumped on the ground earlier.

Thank goodness I used Castrol synthetic at the time. Just like the commercial on television. The motor kept running without oil. Saved me a ton of money.

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Posts: 26725 | Location: dughouse | Registered: February 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Thank you
Very little
Picture of HRK
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Bad Modern oils? doubtful, have to agree, bet someone didn't drain it and someone else filled it.

Either way be sure that's on the work order that they screwed up in case the overfill caused something wrong internally.

Posts: 20508 | Registered: November 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of bubbatime
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They are not going to admit to making a mistake. They definitely are not going to admit to a mistake by putting in on a work order. An engine for a new infinity SUV is probably $5000-$6000 or more…

You need to check your transmission fluid level NOW! Many a junior lube tech has drained a transmission on accident instead of the engine oil. And I guarantee that a mom and pop shop doesn’t have the correct spec oil for an Infiniti transmission. They likely would have dumped whatever universal transmission oil they had in stock.

One doesn’t get an oil change and then have black old oil 10 minutes later. They did not drain the oil.

Even though you like this shop, they are using absolute morons (16 year old kids?) for lube techs and you probably should stop taking your car there for oil changes.

Often times a very small man can cast a very large shadow
Posts: 6510 | Location: Floriduh | Registered: October 16, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
It's pronounced just
the way it's spelled
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The amount of smoke from overfilling with oil can be epic. And the vehicle will run rough. I had it happen many years ago, but I still remember it.
Posts: 1379 | Location: Arid Zone A | Registered: February 14, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Savor the limelight
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The facts:
Car ran fine when your wife dropped it off.
Car ran like crap from the get go when your wife picked it up.
Car runs fine again after they fixed whatever they screwed up.

The fiction:
Everything the mechanic said is a story to cover up the screw up.

The timing chain suddenly went bad while they did an oil change. Obviously, a fictional story since the car now runs fine again.

The oil was black and must have been bad. Fiction. The only black oil that comes out of our vehicles is from my truck. The oil drained from the rest of our vehicles comes out light to medium brown and clear.

If it were me, I'd talk to the owner, explain what happened, what you were told, and ask for the true story. If he can't/won't give it to you, find a new shop. Either way, document everything and try to get them to put down in writing what they did. You may need that if the engine or transmission goes in the next few thousand miles.
Posts: 8973 | Location: SWFL | Registered: October 10, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Team Apathy
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Any updates from the OP?
Posts: 6170 | Location: Modesto, CA | Registered: January 27, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of holdem
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Originally posted by thumperfbc:
Any updates from the OP?

Car has been running perfectly fine. My wife has noticed no issues. I have driven it a few times, pushing the accelerator hard a couple of times, I did not notice any issues.

Based on the advice here, I would have to guess they did not drain before adding oil.
Posts: 2112 | Location: Orlando | Registered: April 22, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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