Oil refiners produce several grades or blends of lubricating oils for use in automotive engines. Some are detergent formulations, while others are non-detergent motor oils. The basic difference is that detergent oils contain special additives which trap and hold dirt and engine deposits in suspension until the oil changed. Non-detergent oil lacks these additives. Distinguishing between the two types is an easy task that practically anyone can accomplish in a matter of minutes.
Visit an auto parts store or other retailer selling motor oil. Locate the motor oil display.
Select several different brands of motor oil in the weight you wish to buy. As an example, you might select 1-quart containers of SAE (Socierty of Automotive Engineers) 30W, or 10W-30W.
Read the label on each container. Any motor oil which is non-detergent blend will be clearly marked as such. Conversely, any oil which is not specifically marked as non-detergent is by default, a detergent blend.