Penrite Oil – a simple review

In every car forum around the world, you’re bound to see some sort of question from a newbie (or otherwise) “Can I use this brand xxx oil? Is it any good for me?”

Then the usual responses from the masses would be to recommend premium brand A or racing brand B because “they’ve used it and it’s good sh*t”. I have a problem with that. Sometime ago I wrote a dummies guide to engine oil and I personally think (without meaning to sound self centered) it’s a good start for anyone to learn about engine oil.

For the uninitiated and the lazy, engine oil is like blood to your car. It cleans, it lubricates, it reduces heat (to some extent) and protects your engine from a variety of things. Get it wrong and you’ll be expecting higher wear and tear. Get it right and you can rev to kingdom come and the only problem you’ll have is how loud your engine and exhaust is at redline. Personally, I choose oils based on requirements and budget. No point going for something you can’t afford! In my case, for my everyday cars that trotter around town and travel no more than 30km a day, I use the cheap and cheerful fully synthetic 5W30 Pennzoil. At RM120 for 4L it’s one of the cheapest and most reliable oils you can buy and the fact that it’s OEM for Toyota, that’s reassuring too. But for my more valuable and precious machines, I use only the best because I know I’ll be abusing her more than any other car that I drive.

There are only a few brands that I consider premium in terms of quality and long lasting. Pennzoil is not one of them. It didn’t survive my thrashing it along Dato Sagor at constant high revs (engine oil temp read 150 degs at one point) and at the moment, I’ve only ever tested one oil that has withstood the test of the track – Rock oil. It’s expensive yes but it won’t overheat no matter how I thrash it, 6 continuous laps of Sepang and I had to turn in to let my tyres cool off and my engine temp still maintained a cool 90 degrees Celsius.

The good blokes at Penrite gave me a call sometime back and asked if I’d try out their oil. Not their racing lubes, their everyday HPR 5 fully synthetic (top of the line for this range) oil. I cautioned the Aussie blokes (Penrite is Australian) saying that if the oil didn’t survive my car, I’ll write it as I see it. They didn’t even flinch. In fact they even gave me a bottle of their manual gear oil for me to change too since my car was due for a full service.

Here’s what’s interesting about the HPR 5. Full certification all there from ACEA and API meant that their claims were verified and what’s interesting is the extremely high zinc content in this oil. Not zinc literally, but ZDDP otherwise known as Zinc Diakyldithiophosphates. What exactly is this good for? When exposed to heat, the ZDDP creates a phosphate glass film that protects the metal surface it is currently attached to. That’s a good thing since it reduces shearing (or eliminates it altogether) which basically means your engine stays cooler longer even under extreme loads. HPR 5 apparently has loads of it, or a good balance of it compared to its competitor brands.

Another thing is at RM230 per bottle, it’s not priced too expensively considering that the bottle is a 5L bottle. Yes… 5L. Which is why mine has cling wrap on the cover to try to prevent oxidation of the oil. 2 bottles of this oil can service almost 3 of my cars. Pennzoil being RM120 a bottle and using almost all the bottles content means it’s actually more economical or almost the same to use the Penrite for my 4 cars at home (2 Myvis, 1 (ex) Wira and 1 Innova. The Innova uses 5+L of oil and the others almost 3.5L each). I’m sure with a little negotiation the good blokes at Penrite would give me some discount if I opted to buy 3 bottles one go (Hint! Hint!)

Now for the ultimate test, after scaring the living daylights out of the Penrite blokes in a test drive around my neighborhood, the next day I took my precious car out onto some hilly roads  and drove it in just 2nd gear redlining it whenever I could. I did this for a good 30 minutes until I reached the peak and turned back. I checked the engine oil temperature at that point drove exactly the same way back only in 2nd gear and redlining all the way back. The most impressive thing about the oil is that it maintained a constant 86 to 88 degrees Celsius all the way through. This was in the middle of the afternoon so the ambient temperature didn’t seem to even affect the car. Very impressive indeed!

All in all, the oil worked wonders for my cars. On the Innova it somewhat made the car roar less when idling, on my Wira it handled all the revving and temperature tests without even breaking a sweat and on my Myvis…. well… it didn’t make a difference since my mom just uses it to go the market and back. The other Myvi didn’t notice anything significantly different either.

In conclusion – The oil works well. It survived the heat and revving test. It’s cost effective if you have multiple cars and service them around the same time. It’s certified by a lot of OEM car manufacturers in Australia and Australian race groups swear by the oil. Even an independent test was done by an Australian magazine to compare shearing effects compared to other oils and Penrite (which is an off-the-shelf from-your-local-supermarket-brand in Australia) was on par with the premium Royal Purple, and way better than the competition. That’s saying a lot. I wonder what their ester based racing oils would be like!

Do I like this oil? Yes.
Do I recommend it? Depends. Do you want an cheaper alternative to your premium brand oil? Then yes I recommend it. Or do you have multiple cars you’d like to service at one go? Consider this oil.

Any inquiries please contact : Michael @ Penrite Malaysia 016-210 2210