By on May 20, 2009

Longtime TTAC reader dastanley writes:

As a TTAC reader and sometimes blog participant, I have a question about motor oil in our 2008 Hyundai Tucson with the 2.7L V-6. The owner’s manual recommends Quaker State 5W20, 5W30, and 10W30 in that preferential order. Why Quaker State? Is there an engineering/operational reason for that particular brand or is that a marketing deal where Hyundai gets cheaper oil for their new cars off the assembly lines if they recommend Quaker State?

Sajeev replies:

If this were Pistonhead Jeopardy, I’d go with “Marketing Tie-Ins for $800, Alex.”

The Ferrari Enzo has unique oil requirements, fitting well with their lease-to-own scheme. More to the point, a Tucson ain’t no Enzo. All oils meet specifications (that minimalist donut graphic on every quart of oil) set by the American Petroleum Institute. I doubt Quaker State has any significant benefit over other oil manufacturers. Use whatever you want; even Wal-Mart’s SupraTech oil gets the job done. As mentioned previously, switch to synthetic oil if you plan on keeping this Tucson as a family heirloom.

And legally, there’s no reason (via voiding your warranty) for Hyundai to punish you for choosing other brands over Quaker State. As TTAC commentator skor mentioned, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act shall save your bacon. This law (per Wikipedia) states that, “Warrantors cannot require that only branded parts be used with the product in order to retain the warranty.” Indeed.

Back to the question: there’s no engineering or legal incentive for a manufacturer to “recommend” one brand over another. Until you follow the money: there’s a good reason why Hyundai is in love with Quaker State. Marketing skills über alles.

[send your technical queries to [email protected]]

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13 Comments on “Piston Slap: Hyundai’s Religious Society of Friends...”

  • avatar

    Quaker State is required the same way Ford Recommends BP gas for my 06 Fusion… says so right on the gas cap.

    In the 2 1/2 years I have had the car I never put BP in it… hell, I dont event think there is one within 20 miles of my house. The only time I ever saw one was when I took a road trip to vist my brother in NJ.

    Hyundai is paid money my Quaker State of recommend their oil… it’s all advertising, sadly, some people believe they need to use that brand.

  • avatar


    Arco is owned by BP, maybe that would be good enough for your Fusion?

    Anyway, I’m pretty sure that Ford can’t void your warranty because you use a different petrol.

  • avatar

    Is there an engineering/operational reason for that particular brand or is that a marketing deal where Hyundai gets cheaper oil for their new cars off the assembly lines if they recommend Quaker State?

    Congratulations on your new question. It will bring you many hours of happy puzzlement. However, as with any fine conundrum, your question will eventually require an answer.

    For best results, follow only answers found on TTAC..


  • avatar

    My Hyundai dealer changes oils for free so I don;t have to deal with this.

  • avatar

    6 months after the first dealer oil change (08 Elantra), I decided to change my own (because their Service Dept. wasn’t answering the phone).
    Bought the ramps, filter and oil. Since Advance Auto parts had the Quaker State in the right grade, I bought it (drank the Kool Aid).
    If the motor blows (@ 4500 mi), I have a nice little receipt with “Quaker State” on it.
    If they don’t have it next time, it’ll be Pennzoil, or whatever.

  • avatar
    John R


    Not my Hyundai dealer. Anyhow, I’ve been using synthetic since I got my Sonata. Then I got into a scheduling pinch and had my Hyundai dealer do it for me using their oil, I guess its Quaker State conventional. Blech.

    I can wait to get back to doing these things myself.

  • avatar

    This is no different than in 2005-2006, when Ford put “Ford recommends BP” on the gas caps of their cars. Any gas runs good in those Fords, (My mom has never put a drop of BP fuel in her 05 Taurus and it is still running good), and you can use any oil you want in your Sonata without anything going boom.

  • avatar


    Pennzoil owns the Quater State brand so its pretty much all the same oil.

    And to answer the question above, you could use any oil, whether be Quaker State or the generic store brand, its all the same. The important thing is to change it on time.

  • avatar

    Lucky for me and my 2008 Santa Fe, Quaker State 5w30 just happens to be one of the most frequently sale-priced name brand oils around where I live. But I would use Castrol, Mobil or any other name brand if it was cheaper. There is no difference.

    Oil changes with my Nissans and Hondas were a dealer affair. Who wants to drag out the ramps and then crawl around on your back while dirty oil pours into your ear? But the Hyundai 3.3 Lambda engine’s top-mounted oil filter is so quick and painless to deal with that I can’t help but do it myself. Reminds me of the good old days.

  • avatar

    Is the drain plug top mounted also ?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Marketing BS, nothing more.

    FWIW, Quaker State is one of the brands of SOPUS …. Shell Oil Products US. Pennzoil, Slick 50, Quaker State and of course Shell’s self-branded lubricants are all products of the Shell Oil Co. BP owns Castrol. ConPhillips owns Kendall, Union 76 and Phillips 66 branded oils, as well as making the motor oils for Ford’s Motorcraft brand. Valvoline is presently owned by Ashland, but is up for sale and may become a brand name slapped on someone else’s stuff soon.

    None of which matters, use whatever major brand oil floats your boat.

  • avatar

    05gt: Thanks, no guilt using anything with the right grade…

    John Horner:”FWIW, Quaker State is one of the brands of SOPUS…”

    Cripes! Victimized by another “Shell Game!”.

    Per an enthusiast’s website, I run Rotella T (blue bottle) in my Kawasaki Z750S…

    So, I guess that makes me a “Shell” man. :-P :-)

  • avatar

    Thanks Sajeev for answering my question. To make a long story short, our ’05 RAV4 was totaled in an accident. No injuries (and no, I was not driving) but about a month ago my wife, daughter, and myself went to Carmax in Albuquerque with the intent of getting another RAV4 (I HATE the process of buying a used vehicle and Carmax seemed the easy way out). My wife saw the Tucson, liked it, and that was that.

    Carmax performed an oil change before we bought it but I’m planning to change the oil early to get on the same schedule as our Corolla and to switch to either blend or synthetic.

    Thanks again Sajeev!

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