Pennzoil and Valvoline are two of the most popular and widely available motor oil brands on the market.
Both companies have been around for a long time – Pennzoil since 1914 and Valvoline since 1866.
They offer motor oils for passenger cars and trucks as well as specialized racing oils.
Despite being major competitors, Pennzoil (owned by Shell Oil) and Valvoline take slightly different approaches when it comes to their oil products.
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- Pennzoil and Valvoline offer conventional, synthetic blend, full synthetic, and high mileage engine oils.
- Pennzoil’s Platinum line of full synthetic oils uses a pure synthetic base stock rather than mixing synthetic with conventional base oils.
- This results in better cold flow properties, increased wear protection, and enhanced performance compared to synthetic blends.
- Valvoline similarly offers full synthetic and synthetic blend oils under its SynPower and SynPower HD brands by claiming extra protection against sludge, deposits, and wear.
- Its Premium Conventional line uses Group 2 and Group 3 base stocks.
- Both brands meet major industry specifications, such as API SN Plus and ILSAC GF-5.
- Overall, there is no much difference in terms of oil types, with both companies offering oils suitable for any vehicle that is old or new which requires conventional, synthetic blend, or full synthetic motor oils.
Oil Formulations & Additives
- Proprietary additives are what set the two brands apart when it comes to oil performance and protection.
- Pennzoil Platinum contains Pennzoil’s PurePlus Technology, which utilizes natural gas to make a 99.5% pure base oil free of impurities commonly found in crude oil.
- It is essential to note that unique antioxidants helps to prevent oxidation.
- The additive package also includes detergents to battle sludge, wear protection agents, corrosion inhibitors, pour point depressants, anti-foam additives, and more.
- Valvoline uses a different approach to achieve high performance in their SynPower oils, which includes extra detergents to prevent engine deposits from forming.
- The additives also aim to reduce wear, prevent corrosion in the engine, neutralize acids and contaminants, and retain viscosity.
- According to this, both brands claim to outperform other synthetics.
- For extreme conditions, Pennzoil Ultra Platinum boasts superior high-temperature protection compared to Valvoline full synthetic.
- However, in everyday usage, minor formulation differences likely make little differences.
- But both provide ample protection when used properly and changed regularly.
Ease of Use
- Valvoline edges out Pennzoil slightly when it comes to ease of use and convenience.
- Valvoline was the first quick-oil change brand, with various retailers nationwide offering their products, fast oil change services, and mechanics.
- This makes their oils easy to find. In addition to that, Valvoline also sells their own oil filters.
- Pennzoil lubes are similarly easy to find at any auto parts retailer.
- However, Pennzoil does not provide branded oil change services.
- As far as oil filters, Pennzoil filters are made by Champion Laboratories, which produces OEM filters for various vehicle manufacturers.
- However, both provide quality filtration.
- Pennzoil Platinum oils tend to cost $2-$3 more per quart than Valvoline full synthetic oils like SynPower.
- For conventional and synthetic blend oils, pricing is very comparable between the two brands.
- Promotions and sales can also affect pricing at times.
- Considering the enhanced additive packages, most automotive experts believe Pennzoil full synthetics provide even better protection and performance than more affordable Valvoline despite similar quality ratings.
- This makes the extra couple of dollars per quart worthwhile for some consumers.
- But Valvoline oils still offer solid quality at a more budget-friendly price point.
- In addition to regular passenger vehicle motor oils, both Pennzoil and Valvoline offer specialized racing oils and other performance products.
- Pennzoil’s Ultra Platinum Race Oil is a full synthetic 0W-40 or 5W-40 viscosity oil designed for high-revving race engines.
- It provides extra protection for flat-tappet cams, wet clutch motorcycle transmissions, and turbochargers/superchargers operating under severe conditions.
- The pure synthetic base and additive package aim to prevent sludge and deposits inside racing engines even at extremely high temperatures.
- Valvoline also developed its own Racing Oil for circle track and drag racing needs.
- The unique chemistry is tailored for high RPM engines to resist viscosity loss while providing anti-wear protection for the valvetrain, bearings, and other critical components under heavy load.
- For average car owners who are not involved in racing, these extreme performance oils aren’t needed.
- But it shows both brands’ expertise in making high-quality lubricants even for engines that are undergoing brutal conditions lap after lap.
- In addition to racing and performances needs, Pennzoil and Valvoline understand that motor oil requirements can vary widely based on regional climate differences.
- Vehicle owners in extremely cold climates or scorching hot areas will have far different needs when picking their oil.
- Pennzoil Platinum oils utilize pure PAO synthetic base stocks with a lower pour point, which means the flow remains smooth even in frigid temperatures below -40°F.
- The line also offers the thickest among top brands to resist viscosity breakdowns in extremely hot climates like Arizona and Texas.
- Valvoline also formulates cold flow improvers into their synthetic oils to make starting easier in extreme winter temperatures.
- Their unique anti-wear additives also aim for stability across high-heat environments.
- Overall, both companies extensively test oils in cold and hot regions to meet driver needs whether they live in Alaska, Maine, Southern California, or Florida.
- Checking manufacturer recommendations remains vital before selecting an oil viscosity.
Oil Recycling and Environmental Efforts
- In addition to oil performance, more environmentally-conscious consumers may want to consider what Pennzoil and Valvoline are doing in terms of sustainability efforts.
- As one example, Valvoline operates their own oil recycling centers.
- Through their Serve program, used motor oil can be returned to participating Valvoline Instant Oil Change locations rather than improperly disposing of it.
- They recycle over 8 million gallons of DIYer-used motor oil each year.
- As a result, this gets turned into new industrial fuel oils and lubricants.
- Pennzoil doesn’t directly handle used oil recycling for consumers.
- However, their parent company, Shell, has invested heavily in recycling efforts.
- Shell operates five large-scale commercial oil recycling plants in North America, including their Puget Sound facility, which can re-refine over 550,000 gallons per day into base oils for lubricants.
- Both companies are also improving packaging sustainability for their finished products.
- Valvoline uses recycled plastic materials in their bottles and jugs, while Pennzoil containers utilize 25% post-consumer recycled plastics.
- This helps to reduce overall environmental impact.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pennzoil vs Valvoline
Q: Which oil brand offers better engine protection overall?
A: Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic oil provides the most complete protection against wear, deposits, oxidation, and breakdown at extreme temperatures. The enhanced PurePlus additive technology puts it ahead of Valvoline SynPower.
Q: Is Pennzoil worth the extra cost over Valvoline?
A: For most everyday drivers, Valvoline will provide sufficient engine protection at a more budget-friendly price point. But for the ultimate protection under heavy towing or extreme heat, Pennzoil is worth spending a few extra dollars.