Like to do your own oil changes at home?
Be careful you don’t buy this oil — it only works in cars that are nearly 90 years old!
Understanding what qualifies as obsolete motor oil
Dollar General was sued June 5 by the Attorney General of the state of New Mexico for “wrongfully representing” that its store brand of oils are comparable to brand-name products.
At issue is the rating of the oils (aka service classification), which is determined by the American Petroleum Institute (API).
There are three groupings of service classifications: Current, obsolete or obsolete/can cause equipment harm.
According to MousePrint.org, Dollar General’s house brand of 10W-30 is only good for cars that were built before 1988 and falls firmly in the obsolete category.
But that’s not the worst of it!
Dollar General also sells SAE 30 oil with the following disclaimer: “Caution – This oil is rated API SA. It contains no additives. It is not suitable for use in most gasoline powered automotive engines built after 1930. Use in modern engines may cause unsatisfactory engine performance or equipment harm.”
Using that stuff in a modern engine would likely cause equipment harm, according to the API’s service classification.
Here’s what is at issue
Clearly, it’s an indisputable fact that Dollar General sells some outdated oil that won’t work in many cars on the road today.
What is up for dispute is whether or not the company is guilty of “wrongfully representing” that its store brand of oils are comparable to brand-name products because of their placement in stores.
“Positioning its DG Auto obsolete motor oil immediately adjacent to the more expensive brand-name motor oil, wrongfully [represents] that its obsolete motor oil is lower-priced but comparable to the brand-name products,” the Attorney General’s complaint alleges.
The Attorney General also alleges that the dollar store has “done significant harm to New Mexico’s pristine air quality by selling obsolete motor oil that was unknowingly used by its customers in modern vehicles, damaging engines and deactivating emission control equipment that is required to reduce and control the emission of harmful pollutants.”
New Mexico joins 14 other states in suing the retailer over its motor oil, according to MousePrint.org.