Motor Oil Lawsuits Offer Critical Lesson: Read the Fine Print

Photo (cc) by ** RCB **

How closely do you check product labels before you make a purchase? After you read this story, you may find yourself poring over some product labels with a fine-tooth comb.

A recent class-action lawsuit accuses Dollar General of selling obsolete motor oil without providing consumers with sufficient warning about the potential damage it can cause to modern-day vehicles, or cars with engines built after 1988, according to Law360.

“Dollar General’s entire line of low-cost motor oil is unsuitable for the modern-day vehicles driven by its customers and has no business being sold … except that Dollar General is successfully deceiving a sufficient number of customers to make this fraudulent practice worthwhile,” alleges David Sanchez, who filed suit in a California federal court in mid-December.

Sanchez says he made three separate purchases of Dollar General’s store-branded DG SAE 10W-30 motor oil. The oil sold for $2.50 to $2.75 a quart, alongside higher-priced big name brand oils.

Some of Dollar General’s oil labels can be viewed here on MousePrint.org. The fine print on the back of the detergent motor oil that Sanchez says he purchased reads:

“This oil is rated API Service Category SF. It is not suitable for use in most gasoline powered automotive engines built after 1988. It may not provide adequate protection against the build-up of engine sludge.”

According to the Petroleum Quality Institute of America, the Dollar General oil’s “SF” rating is based on an outdated and obsolete American Petroleum Institute (API) standard. There have been six upgrades in motor oil standards since the “SF” rating.

Click here for a look at API’s engine oil service classifications.

Dollar General also sold DG SAE 30 Non-detergent Motor Oil. Its product label contains this warning:

“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.”

Yikes. “So for everyone with a Model T, go grab some [DG SAE 30],” MousePrint quipped.

Michael Deck of Houston also filed suit in December against Dollar General for allegedly engaging in deceptive trade practices by selling obsolete motor oil, The Houston Chronicle reports.

Dollar General is not alone in selling obsolete oil. The PQIA warns that obsolete motor oils are “found on retail shelves across the country,” and are especially prevalent in convenience stores and lower-income urban neighborhoods. So before you make a motor oil purchase, the PQIA recommends the following:

“[C]onsumers are advised to read the front and back labels when buying motor at any retail store. Look for the API Service Classification and viscosity grade to be sure the motor oil you buy is right for your car. And always read the labels carefully.”

Click here for helpful information from the PQIA on how to read motor oil labels.

Check out “Don’t Buy These 7 Things at a Dollar Store.”

What do you think of the lawsuits against Dollar General? Do you buy your own motor oil for your vehicle? Do you read the label first? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
70% of Older Adults Botch This Basic Retirement Question
70% of Older Adults Botch This Basic Retirement Question

Can you answer this fundamental retirement income question?

14 Things We Buy and Then Almost Never Use
14 Things We Buy and Then Almost Never Use

Save your money. These items seem alluring, but they often end up as coat racks and dust magnets.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

3 Tax Penalties That Can Ding Your Retirement Accounts
3 Tax Penalties That Can Ding Your Retirement Accounts

Protecting a nest egg is tough enough. Don’t make the situation far worse.

60% of People With This Disease Don’t Know They Have It
60% of People With This Disease Don’t Know They Have It

Millions of people overlook this potentially potent condition that tends to strike women and older adults.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar
9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar

Cleaning with vinegar can save you a lot of money, but using it like this can cost you.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50
7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50

As we age, our bodies wear down. Here is how to cut costs associated with some common ailments.

What a $15 Minimum Wage Means for Social Security
What a $15 Minimum Wage Means for Social Security

A federal minimum-wage hike could affect the Social Security system dramatically.

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

7 Things I Never Buy at Costco
7 Things I Never Buy at Costco

A bulk buy isn’t always the best buy.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.