New Jersey bans motor oil products after testing reveals viscosity inaccuracies

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Thursday, December 4, 2014
banned motor oil

NEW JERSEY (WPVI) -- The New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures issued a statewide ban Thursday on 19 motor oil products after lab testing showed the viscosity on labels did not match the oil itself.

For example, motor oils labeled 10W-40 had viscosity measures that were widely and unacceptably at variance with the universally defined characteristics of 10W-40 motor oil. The products therefore allegedly bear misleading labels that do not inform consumers about their appropriateness for specific motor vehicle engines.

The now-banned products bear the brand names Auto Club Motor Oil, Black Knight Motor Oil, Lube State Motor Oil, MaxiGuard MG, Orbit Motor Oil, TruStar Motor Oil, U.S. Economy Motor Oil and U.S. Spirit Motor Oil.

The use of a motor oil with viscosity levels that are either too high or too low for a vehicle's engine specifications may result in the risk of engine failure, excess engine wear and/or decreased fuel efficiency.

Viscosity is a measure of a liquid's tendency to flow. High viscosity fluids are considered thick and have slower flow rates, while low viscosity fluids are considered thin and have faster flow rates.

The banned products may no longer be sold in the state, and retail establishments that continue to sell them will be subject to a civil penalty of at least $100 per package or container.

"Many of these allegedly mislabeled motor oils are sold at cheap prices, thereby luring those consumers who can least afford the extra maintenance costs or early engine failure that may result from using the wrong type of motor oil," Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said. "We are rightly removing these potentially harmful products from New Jersey's marketplace, and will penalize retailers who continue to sell them."

The universal standards for 10W-40 and other grades of motor oil are established by SAE International (formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers) and are published in that organizations SAE J300 Engine Oil Viscosity Classification document.

The banned products are:

--Auto Club Motor Oil SAE 5W-30

--Auto Club Motor Oil SAE 10W-30

--Auto Club Motor Oil SAE 10W-40

--Auto Club Motor Oil SAE 20W-50

--Black Knight Motor Oil 5-30

--Black Knight Motor Oil 10-40

--LubeState Motor Oil SAE 10W-30

--MaxiGuard MG 10-30

--MaxiGuard MG 10-40

--MaxiGuard MG 20-50

--MaxiGuard MG SAE30

--Orbit Motor Oil 5-20

--Orbit Motor Oil 10-40

--TruStar Motor Oil 10-30

--U.S. Economy Motor Oil 5-30

--U.S. Economy Motor Oil 10-40

--U.S. Economy Motor Oil SAE 10W-40

--U.S. Spirit Motor Oil SAE 10W-30

--U.S. Spirit Motor Oil SAE 10W-40

Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.