Motoring Q&A

How good is recycled oil?

2013-09-07T00:00:00Z How good is recycled oil?By Paul Brand Minneapolis Star-Tribune Arizona Daily Star
September 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Q: What is your take on 50 percent recycled oil? Stores are offering more of this oil. Is it just as good as new oil? Or should I stay with 100 percent new oil?

A: As an oil “consumer” — meaning I buy and change my own oil — here’s my take on recycled oil. I’m absolutely sure it’s as good as 100 percent new oil, meets all the Society of Automotive Engineers and American Petroleum Institute service ratings and standards, and provides equal protection and performance.

But — and here’s where personal “baggage” comes into play — I’ll stick with new oil. The vehicles and engines I own are mine, I’m responsible for their maintenance and longevity, so I’ll continue to buy and use synthetic oil — the best oil available.

For the relatively small difference in price, I’m simply more comfortable sticking with what’s worked for me for decades. At least until the price of recycled oil becomes so attractive that the Scrooge in me can’t resist.

Q: On my 1997 Mazda B4000 with a 4.0-liter V-6 engine and auto transmission, a “check engine” light with Code 1443 is coming up. Know why?

A: Check for low engine vacuum or some type of vacuum leak between the intake manifold and the purge flow sensor. With the engine idling, pull off the hose at the sensor and plug it with your thumb. Is there strong, constant vacuum? If not, this could cause this issue.

Paul Brand, author of “How to Repair Your Car,” is an ex-race-car driver. Email

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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