Difference between Virgin, Re-refined, and Recycled Engine Oil

Most of us are prejudiced against using used products such as engine oil similarly to how we are against used cars. But does the same logic (products that were in use have already given everything good they had had) work here? Experts say that lubricants are actually another cup of tea and used motor oil can be as good (or even better) than the virgin one. So, what is the difference between virgin oil, recycled oil, and their re-refined counterpart and does this difference actually affect the performance?

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What is virgin oil?

The product obtained after distillation of crude oil is called virgin oil. It is what we usually buy for our cars. It is considered to be the standard of quality. After you fill up your engine with it, it is no longer considered as virgin.

What is recycled engine oil?

The product obtained after running used dirty motor oil through the filtration system is called recycled oil. It doesn’t contain insoluble dirt anymore, but it is still contaminated with chemicals. For this reason, this kind of oil cannot be used in car motors where purity is crucial, but can be used in other systems were purity isn’t critical or simply re-used as fuel. Recycled oil is often opposed to virgin oil, but it isn’t correct as recycled oil cannot be re-used in the same situation as the virgin one. It is more logical to oppose virgin engine oil to the re-refined one.

What is re-refined engine oil?

Unlike recycled oil that is cleaned only from insoluble contaminants, re-refined oil is free of chemicals as well. The used oil undergoes a thorough filtration similar to the distillation procedure of refining the crude oil, so in terms of cleanness, re-refined oil doesn’t yield to virgin oil and can be successfully re-used in the same situations (vehicle engines). Re-refined oil undergoes qualification against the same ratings as virgin oil does, so you can be sure you get the highest quality for a much lower price. What is more, re-refined oil is more environment-friendly as its ‘production’ requires triple as less energy as virgin oil does. But the biggest benefit is that re-refined oil can be refined many times, which means even a more tangible saving.