N.C. Orders Murky Oil off Shelves


A North Carolina state agency issued an official ban on the sale of Everclear motor oil after tests found 95 samples failed to meet proper levels of viscosity and several other industry standards.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stop-sale order applies to three grades of oil labeled 5W-30, 10W-30 and 10-W40, which all failed to meet viscosity levels that would protect an engine against wear, the department said in a Dec. 5 press release. The company responsible for supplying the products, Everclear Oil of Ohio, declined to make a spokesperson available despite Lube Reports multiple calls.

After finding Everclear motor oil bottles with labels claiming American Petroleum Institutes SC category, which is obsolete for any engine built after 1967, the agency’s Standards Division put the oil through a complete kinematic testing process for viscosity levels and found that the oil had most likely been recycled and resold without the addition of proper additives. The oil even looked dirty, director Stephen Benjamin told Lube Report.

After cold crank and kinematic viscosity tests, the standards division sent the samples to Wear Check USA in Cary, N.C., which provided additional elemental analysis. Along with a lack of any additives or detergents necessary to protect engines, the independent company found wear metals present in both Everclear engine oil and Everclear automatic transmission fluid.

Inspectors from the standards division have held 175 cases of Everclear oil at warehouses and distribution centers in Greensboro, N.C., and Charlotte, N.C., and the agency is urging all retailers and distributors of the product to return it to their suppliers immediately. Its not necessarily the distributors fault, Benjamin noted, adding that its not clear how much of the oil is still in distribution centers and storage tanks or on the shelves.

New Jersey-based Petroleum Quality Institute of America also tested samples of Everclear oil several years ago after purchasing a bottle in Indiana. The independent testing and consumer advocacy organization found that the oil contained high levels of aluminum, chromium, iron, silicon and copper, and that it lacked the requirements of the obsolete SC category on its labels. Shortly after, PQIA found some of the same issues with samples of Everclear automatic transmission fluid, and warned consumers to avoid both.

The standards division reached out to Everclear in November, Benjamin said, but the company has not responded. Everclear doesn’t list an address on its website and wouldn’t confirm its location to Lube Report, but Benjamin said the agency believes its likely based in Austintown, Ohio.