How to Tell If Motor Oil Is Detergent or Non-Detergent?

Written by rich finzer
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How to Tell If Motor Oil Is Detergent or Non-Detergent?
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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.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Access to an auto parts store or retailer selling motor oil

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  1. 1

    Visit an auto parts store or other retailer selling motor oil. Locate the motor oil display.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    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.

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