What is re-refined motor oil, and is it safe to use in your engine?
Re-refined motor oil is made from recyled used motor oil. The U.S. generates over 1.4 BILLION gallons of waste oil annually. Approximately 1 billion gallons of used oil are collected on an annual basis. Nearly 400 million gallons are believed to be burned or improperly disposed of, but the rest is recycled back into lubricants.
Oil that is recycled for use as a lubricant undergoes a refining process similar to that which crude oil undergoes when it is made into lubricating oil. The only major difference is that used waste oil contains various contaminants such as water, dirt, engine wear particles, unburned gasoline or diesel fuel that must be removed before the oil molecules can be recovered and reconstituted back into a high quality lubricant.
One fact you may not know is that oil molecules are very robust and hold up quite well inside an engine. The oil itself does not wear out but the viscosity improvers, corrosion inhibitors, foam suppressants, anti-wear compounds and other additives that are in the oil do break down as the miles as up. That's why the oil and filter have to be changed regularly.
When used motor oil is recycled to recover the reusable portion of the oil, the re-refining process separates out all of the contaminants using a multi-step recovery process. First, the waste oil is tested to make sure it is suitable for recycling and does not contain any hazardous contaminants. The oil is they dehydrated to remove moisture and coolant contamination before it undergoes vacuum distillation to separate out solid contaminants and unburned fuel residue. It then enters a series of high pressure, high temperature, hydrotreatment reactors that reinfuse hydrogen atoms back into the long chain oil molecules to fully restore their lubricating properties. The end product is a clear high quality (Grade 2 base stock) oil that can be used as an engine lubricant.
The re-refined base stock oil is then blended with all of the same additives that go into a conventional motor oil made from crude oil to create a fully formulated high quality motor oil that meets or exceeds all American Petroleum Institute (API) quality and performance requirements as well as the lubricant requirements of the various vehicle manufacturers.
Re-Refined Motor Oil is Safe to Use!
Re-refined motor oil that meets all API and OEM performance and quality requirements is safe to use in your engine, and it will NOT void your new car or powertrain warranty, and it will perform the SAME as any conventional motor oil in your engine. Just make sure the product has the API service certification symbol on the label, and that the viscosity meets the OEM service specifications for your engine.
In fleet tests conducted by one major supplier of re-refined motor oil (Safety-Kleen), heavy-duty truck engines that ran over a million miles showed almost no wear from using re-refined motor oil when the engines were disassembled and inspected. In fact, the engine wear results were actually better than those obtained with conventional motor oil.
Re-refined motor oil is currently being used by all kinds of truck fleets, municipal fleets and the U.S. military with excellent results. Re-refined motor oil is also being used in NASCAR racing and NHRA drag racing to improve their green image.
Re-refined motor oils are available to consumers in popular viscosities under various brand names, including Green Earth Technologies G Oil, Safety-Kleen EcoPower oil and Valvoline NextGen Oil.
Re-Refined Motor Oil is Good for the Environment
The dirty used motor oil that drains out of your engine is still a valuable and recyclable commodity. It can be economically recycled back into a high quality motor oil up to 8 to 10 times. Recycling used motor oil back for repeat use makes environmental sense because it takes approximately 85 percent less energy to make a quart of re-refined motor oil from recycled used motor oil compared to refining virgin oil from crude oil. It takes about 42 gallons of crude oil to make the the same amount of high quality lubricant you can get from a single gallon of used motor oil. Multiply this savings times millions of quarts of oil, and the environmental impact really adds up.
According to a report by Safety-Kleen, a major re-refined of used motor oil, replacing one million gallons of conventional motor oil a year with re-refined motor oil reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 7,668 metric tons per year! That is the equivalent the carbon that would be removed from the atmosphere by growing 198,725 trees for 10 years, or the emissions produced by approximately 100,000 cars!
If you decide to use Re-Refined Motor Oil in Your Engine...
If you decide to use a re-refined motor oil in your engine, follow the same oil and filter change recommendations that you would for a conventional motor oil. Use the same oil viscosity as before, and use the same amount of oil as before (do not overfill or under fill the crankcase).
Also, if you change your own oil, drain the oil into a sealed container and take it to an auto parts store or service facility that accepts used motor oil for recycling. It's okay to mix used transmission fluid or gear oil with used motor oil, but avoid mixing in other automotive liquids such as used coolant, brake fluid or power steering fluid (all of which contain ethylene glycol).