An Essential Buying Guide for Engine Oils on eBay

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An Essential Buying Guide for Engine Oils on eBay

Anyone looking for engine oils can search eBay to find a variety of products and types of oil. eBay is home to a wide range of products including engine oils of different types and viscosities, as well as a range of different popular brands. Buyers can choose motor oils based on the specifications that they prefer to use on their car, based on budget, or based on what their car requires.

Buying on eBay is usually a simple procedure but some people might be confused by the wide range of options available. Usually purchasing engine oil on eBay should involve deciding on a type of oil, an SAE viscosity, and a grade. Buyers should also decide on a budget and then compare the cost of shipping and the cost of the oil until they find a brand that they would like to purchase.

Engine Oil Types

There are several types of engine oils, most of which are intended for the same purpose. There are energy conserving oils and synthetic blends, so it can be difficult to choose between different oils. Buyers should check the user manual of a car because it usually contains information that recommends certain oils for a specific car, but older cars are not likely made with all options in mind.

Oil Type

Function or Definition

Premium Conventional

Standard engine oil for cars

Full Synthetic

High-end oil made for high-tech engines

Synthetic Blend

Part organic, part synthetic oil; higher end than organic oil due to a higher heat load tolerance

High Mileage Oil

Any oil designed to accommodate older cars with high mileage

Each of these oil types can be found on eBay in a variety of blends and styles. Usually the owner of the car can pick out an oil type based on properties and budget. It is, however, important to keep in mind that a more expensive oil is not necessarily better for the car.

Engine Oil SAE Viscosity

The SAE or Society of Automobile Engineers determines viscosity grading based on a stress and tensile strength test, or the amount of pressure, heat, and friction that the oil can maintain a solid state under. In layman's terms, viscosity is the oil's resistance to flow, meaning that higher viscosity oils are thicker. Because oil thins as it heats up and congeals in cold temperatures, high grade viscosity is used for warm temperatures and low grade for cold temperatures. This means that oils used in hotter engines must be thicker and oils used in winter and cool engines must be thinner. Mixing low viscosity oil with a hot engine is generally not a good idea. This is important for the safety of the engine as the lower the viscosity, the thinner it is in warmer temperatures, and the more wear that applies to the engine.

A viscosity level that is too low can be dangerous for the automobile. Winter grade engine oils are listed with a 'W' following the grade. The following chart outlines the various SAE viscosity grades and what they mean.

SAE Viscosity Level

Kinematic Viscosity at 100 degrees Celsius Maximum (mm2/s)

Kinematic Viscosity at 100 degrees Celsius Minimum (mPa × s)

Pumping Viscosity at Maximum Temperature (mPa × s)

Cranking Viscosity at Maximum Temperature (mPa × s)



less than 9.3





less than 12.5





less than 16.3





less than 21.9





less than 26.1






60,000 at -40 degrees Celsius

3,250 at -30 degrees Celsius




60,000 at -35 degrees Celsius

3,500 at -25 degrees Celsius




60,000 at -30 degrees Celsius

3,500 at -20 degrees Celsius




60,000 at -25 degrees Celsius

3,500 at -15 degrees Celsius




60,000 at -20 degrees Celsius

4,500 at -10 degrees Celsius




60,000 at -15 degrees Celsius

6,000 at -5 degrees Celsius

Essentially, 'W' grade oils are tested at -100 degrees Celsius or lower, while standard oils are tested at 100 degrees Celsius or higher. This is to ensure that the oils are usable at different temperatures and thicken appropriately as the engine heats and cools. Most user manuals recommend the appropriate viscosity levels to use in each car in summer and winter.

Choosing a Grade for Engine Oils

Oil grades include multi- and single-grade oils. Multi-grade oils are those with polymer additives to allow them to have both a cold W viscosity rating and a hot viscosity rating. Multi-grade oils are useful for car owners who do not intend to change the engine oil when temperatures drop, or who only intend to purchase one brand of oil to be used for each change. Single-grade oils are those without the polymer additives and therefore with only one viscosity grade. Multi-grade oil is sometimes labelled on eBay as 'all-season oil'.

Choosing Engine Oil Additives

Oil additives range from the simple to the complex but are normally listed on the bottle and in the eBay description of a certain type of engine oil. Additives can be used to help maintain and improve engine performance, especially in high-tech cars or in older ones that might need extra help. It is better to choose one or two additives rather than a great deal as too many might not interact well and could thin the oil.

Engine Oil Additive


Improve Viscosity Index (VI)

Prevents oils from thinning at higher temperatures


Remove engine deposits and help to prevent clogs


Reduce sludge

Anti-Wear Agents

Protect metal surfaces

Friction Modifiers

Reduce friction and can improve fuel economy

Pour Point Depressants

Prevents oil from congealing in cold temperatures


Prevents thickening of oil

Foam Inhibitors

Collapse foam bubbles in oil

Rust or Corrosion Inhibitors

Help to prevent rusting and corrosion

It is important to consider which additives are most appropriate for the season as well as for the particular engine. Some are obviously not necessary at all times of the year, or on certain cars. For example, rust inhibitors would do very little in a very new automobile while depressants would be a poor choice for engine oils in the summer. Choosing relevant and useful additives can help to improve oil and motor function so shopping for season and individual auto is a great idea.

Setting a Budget for Engine Oil

Setting a budget for an eBay engine oil purchase is very important. Likely buyers do not want to pay more for the oil than their budget for such product, so it is important to check the shipping cost and purchase price and compare it. Doing research on different oils and sellers and choosing an affordable option can help to save money as well as shipping time.

Comparing Shipping Costs

While it is important to find engine oil at an affordable price, it is also important to check the shipping price. For example, the same oil can be sold at the same price by two different sellers, but one might be able to ship it to the buyer at a much lower rate. Some local eBay sellers might allow buyers to pick the oil up as well, which can save a great deal in shipping cost, especially for a large or bulk order of engine oil. Local sellers can also ship oil more quickly so that it arrives within a few days of purchase.

Choosing a Brand

While it is true that price of engine oil does not always transfer into the value of the product, it is important to choose a brand based on affordability and value. Checking the quality of the oil as well as viscosity, grade, and any additives can help buyers to decide if the oil is worth the money, or if it is a better deal to pay slightly more money to get better quality engine oil. Buyers who are on a very low budget on the other hand can simply choose the lowest price option available in order to save money.

Buying Engine Oils on eBay

Buying engine oils on eBay is relatively simple once you know what you are looking for. It is important to check the owner's manual of the car to see what specifications your car requires, such as viscosity level of the oil. From there, you can choose the type of oil that suits your needs. Buyers who would like to choose their own grade of oil can look it up on eBay specifying the grade or viscosity.

Search from the home page of eBay and specify a brand, if you like. For example, you can search for 'Castrol engine oil', simply 'engine oil', or 'synthetic engine oil'. You could also choose to specify the amount of oil you would like to purchase such as '5 litres' or '1 litre'. Once you find what you are looking for you can read the description, check the shipping cost, and of course, contact the seller if you have any questions before making a purchase.


Buying engine oils on eBay can be a great way to compare the prices of different brands, find a rare brand or grade, or to save money on a purchase. There are hundreds of brands and grades of oil available on eBay and most of them are affordably priced. Buyers can choose the oil to purchase based on a number of factors including oil viscosity, oil grade, any additives in the oil, as well as whether it is synthetic or organic. Most standard multi-grade oils are suitable for most engines in both winter and summer, so these are likely to be good choices for most buyers.

Other considerations for shoppers include what their auto recommends for use. This recommendation can usually be found in the owner's manual of the car, and should list the viscosity and type of oil. Finally, buyers should set a budget, compare purchase and shipping costs, and compare cost of oil per litre before buying on eBay.

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