Dangers of fake engine oil, and how to spot them

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Dangers of fake engine oil, and how to spot them

I recently came across a tweet from the public relations officer, of the  Lagos state police command, on Elon Musk’s Twitter (now known as X). This tweet unlocked a fear I didn’t even know I had and was further enforced by the replies I saw to the tweet in question. The tweet was about an arrest of an engine oil counterfeiting syndicate specializing in counterfeiting popular engine oil brands. 

Initially, I thought what could be the effects of using fake engine oil? As long as the engine gets properly lubricated, everything should be fine, but as I read the replies to the tweet I discovered that fake engine oil can turn out to not even be engine oil in the end, as someone said they found water in their engine after using engine oil; which is one of the worst things that can happen to your engine, as it leads to the oil losing some of its protective properties, causing it to no longer cool or lubricate the engine properly, and eventually lead to internal engine damage. 

This prompted me to do some research on the dangers of fake engine oils and to find out how to easily spot them before they damage your engine. I’ll be doing my best to guide you on how to do just this, but the safest thing to do is to always buy your engine oils from official engine oil vendors.

Dangers of counterfeit engine oil

It’s difficult to list out the specific issues you can face from using counterfeit or fake engine oils, as each batch has a different composition of base oils and additives, and this can cause various types of issues from damaging the engine to accidents or even death. Here are some possible dangers you might face, when you purchase fake or counterfeit engine oils.

Wear and tear of engine oil parts:
Counterfeiters are generally more concerned about making profits than ensuring that you get the best protection for your engine, as they don’t have a brand to protect or a registered business to grow. Due to this fact, there’s little to no quality control, and any products purchased from such sources wouldn’t offer the same level of protection for your engine as authentic oils. So your engine is prone to malfunction and even failure.

Reducing vehicle efficiency: Engine oil plays a vital role in how efficient your vehicle is, as insufficient lubrication increases the drag therefore fuel consumption rises. So if you notice that you’re topping your fuel more frequently than before, you should look into your engine oil.

Engine failures aren’t predictable, you can’t tell when your car’s engine will seize up, it could happen on the road while driving, and your car comes to an abrupt halt. If you’re lucky enough to have your seatbelt on other drivers behind you might not be quick to react and this could lead to an accident.

How to spot Counterfeit engine oils

Identifying a fake or counterfeit engine oil isn’t an easy task, as counterfeiters spend more time and money in making the fake cans look exactly like the original than they do in producing their fake oil products. Sometimes, they fill up used engine oil cans from real brands just to deceive unsuspecting users into purchasing their counterfeit products.  

With tactics like these, it can be almost impossible to identify a counterfeit product from the can alone, which is why we advise that you purchase engine oil products from trusted and authorized retailers, you can also contact the engine oil company through their website to confirm the wholesaler or service center’s claim on authorized dealership. 

For Everest Oils in Nigeria, you can confirm the authenticity of a vendor’s claim from us here, or order your products online from our recognized vendor here.

And, if you can’t verify your engine oil supplier, here are some ways to identify your engine oil’s authenticity, to better protect your vehicle.

Appearance: High-quality engine oils look like liquid gold – clear and pure, without any weird stuff floating around. Fake oils, on the other hand, tend to be much darker and can get even murkier after a few uses.

Smell: High-quality engine oil is pretty much odorless, like water. But if you crack open a bottle and get hit with a strong, choking smell, it’s probably fake. Think of it like sniffing burnt toast – not a good sign.

Texture: High-quality engine oil feels smooth and silky to the touch, like a high-quality lotion. Fake engine oil, on the flip side, can be thick and grainy, sort of like mud. It also flows less smoothly through your engine.

Weight: Fake oils tend to be the heavyweight champs. When you drain out the old oil during an oil change and compare it to fresh, real oil, you might notice the fake stuff feels much heavier. It’s like comparing a full water bottle to one that’s almost empty.

Packaging: Keep an eye on the packaging – real oil containers have no weird words or symbols that don’t belong. The labels and caps should be like twins to the original ones. If something looks off, be suspicious.

Consistency (Viscosity): For the seasoned pros who’ve been using the same oil for a while, watch out for changes in how the oil flows. If it’s suddenly thicker or thinner than usual during an oil change, it’s time to question its authenticity.


Remember, spotting fake engine oil is like knowing when your favorite pizza place has changed its secret sauce – it takes a keen eye and some experience, but it’s worth it to keep your engine purring smoothly.

I hope we’ve been able to steer you away from falling victim to counterfeit engine oils and their dangers, please drop your thoughts, questions, comments, or any steps you feel should be added to the guide. Don’t forget to share with friends and family!

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