PQIA Cites Valvoline’s NextGen


The Petroleum Quality Institute of America issued an advisory last week to warn consumers that a sample of Valvolines NextGen SAE 5W-20 failed to meet certain industry specs.

Purchased at a retail store in New Jersey, the bottle of Valvoline NextGen 5W-20 that PQIA tested did not meet volatility requirements set by the American Petroleum Institute and the International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee, PQIA president Thomas Glenn told Lube Report.

Part of Valvolines NextGen product line, the motor oil is made up of 50 percent recycled oil. The sample was within the ranges of viscosity and elemental requirements for the API SN and ILSAC GF-5 specs it claims to meet, but failed considerably when it came to volatility – or more specifically, evaporation loss in high heat.

Using the ASTM D 5800 method, which was developed by ASTM International and commonly known as the Noack volatility test, PQIA had the sample tested twice and found mass loss of 18.4 percent and 18.3 percent, which is around 22 percent higher than the industry-required maximum of 15 percent. The test involves heating the oil at 250 degrees C while a stream of air passes through it. After an hour, the samples weight determines how much mass was lost. PQIA used Procedure B of the Noack volatility test, which Glenn said is considered the industry standard out of the tests three procedures, referred to as Procedures A, B and C.

Valvoline, a consumer division of Kentucky-based Ashland Inc., tested the product when it was manufactured and found that it met all requirements, said Thom Smith, the companys vice president of lubricant technology. The discrepancy between Valvolines results and PQIAs results were most likely due to the variability of the ASTM D 5800 test, Smith told Lube Report. The varied testing results bring to light the industry concern with the ASTM test [D 5800]… and its inherent variability, Smith wrote in an emailed response. He confirmed that Valvoline also used Procedure B of the Noack test.

Glenn said that PQIA would be willing to engage in a discussion with any relevant stakeholders about the variability of the Noack test if Valvoline believes it is a concern. However, PQIA uses a universal method to test all other samples of oil, he continued, pointing out that the question of variability seems to be separate from the issue at hand, which is that the Valvoline sample failed to meet standards when a slew of others did not.