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Oil Condition Monitoring

Is Re-refined Oil as Good as the Original?

The answer is “Yes”. Lubricating oil doesn’t wear out, but it does get dirty and loses its protective additives. Once contaminants are removed and a fresh additive package is added, it takes on a new life. Test after test has proved there is no difference in quality between re-refined oil and virgin oil. Re-refined oil products are subjected to the same testing as virgin oils including cold start, rust-corrosion, anti-wear, high temperature, etc. and must undergo the same API (American Petroleum Institute) testing process in order to be API-certified. The quality is so similar that retailers are not required to indicate on a product’s packaging how much re-refined base stock is used in a particular product.

Re-refined oil is energy-efficient and environmentally beneficial:

  • According to the EPA, an estimated 185 million gallons of oil is improperly disposed of each year in the U.S., being dumped on the ground, down storm drains or in the trash where it ends up in landfills.
  • If all the oil from American do-it-yourself oil changes was recycled, it would be enough motor oil for more than 50 million cars a year.
  • It takes just one gallon of used motor oil, compared to 42 gallons of crude oil, to produce the same 2.5 quarts of lubricating oil.
  • Recycling just 2 gallons of used oil can generate enough electricity to run the average household for almost 24 hours.
  • The cost of re-refined oil is nearly the same as virgin oil, and is some cases, may be cheaper.
  • Re-refined oil is available in the same viscocity grades as virgin oil.
  • Re-refined oil reduces U.S. dependence on imported oil

In addition to re-refining, used motor oil can be recycled and reused in other ways, including furnaces, turbine engines, and manufacturing facilities, among others.

Who’s Using Re-refined Oil?

There are thousands of cars, trucks and fleets around the world using it. A partial list includes:

  • Coca-Cola
  • UPS
  • US Postal Service
  • Frito-Lay
  • Numerous state and municipal agencies including waste management, emergency services and transportation

Engine & Vehicle Manufacturers Approve of Re-refined Oil

Manufacturers including Ford, GM, Chrysler, Cummins and Detroit Diesel agree that as long as the oil is API-certified it will not void warranties. Mercedes Benz actually uses products with re-refined content in its new passenger cars. According to MB, “If these re-refined oils are manufactured correctly, there is then no reason not to use them. We approved the use of re-refined oils for use in our engines decades ago.”

Recycling Programs

Oil from lawnmowers, boats and RVs can be recycled just the same as oil from cars and trucks. If you change your own motor oil it’s critical to dispose of it properly as improperly handled used oil from one oil change can contaminate 1 million gallons of fresh water – a year’s supply for 50 people. For a list of recycling centers, visit

Re-refined oil is an excellent way to turn a nonrenewable resource into a renewable one.


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