Skip to main content

The Truth About Whether Valvoline’s Restore & Protect Motor Oil Really Works

Will Valvoline’s Restore & Protect motor oil really do all it claims to clean your engine of carbon deposits? An oil expert weighs in on this question.

Valvoline has a Restore & Protect motor oil product they claim will remove 100% of all carbon deposits on your piston and its rings to the cleanest they’ve been since first off of the assembly line.

Valvoline Video Ad About Their Product


What is a “Restore & Protect” Motor Oil?

A "Restore & Protect Motor Oil" for cars is a special type of engine oil formulated by chemists and automotive engineers to enhance the performance, longevity, and protection of a vehicle's engine.

Special motor oils of this type typically possess a concoction of advanced additives and high-quality base oils to achieve key benefits such as:

  1. A Cleaner Engine: These oils often contain detergents and dispersants that help clean sludge and deposits from the engine which restores its OEM efficiency when new.
  2. Rejuvenated Rubber Seals: Some formulations include conditioners that help rejuvenate engine seals which leads to leak reduction and improved engine compression.
  3. Performance Enhancement: Lost horsepower is restored, and fuel efficiency is improved.
  4. Breakdown Resistance: These types of specialized oils possess increased breakdown resistance meaning the oil will last longer while maintaining its protective properties.
  5. Corrosion and Rust Prevention: Anti-corrosion additives protect engine components from rust and corrosion, thereby extending the engine’s lifespan.

What Is In a “Restore & Protect” Motor Oil?

While the exact formulations of these kind of products are proprietary, you would expect that in order to achieve the aforementioned key benefits that the product would contain a foundation of a synthetic base oil aided by a number of chemicals such as:

  • Friction modifiers
  • Anti-wear agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Anti-foaming agents
  • Highly effective detergents and dispersants.

A Tribologist Weighs in On the Effectiveness of Valvoline’s Restore & Protect Motor Oil

According to a recent The Motor Oil Geek YouTube channel episode, Valvoline’s claims that their “Restore & Protect” motor oil product will clean your engine unlike any other product available today, begs the question of is this really true?

To verify the veracity of such claims, the host of the YouTube channel― Lake Speed, Jr., a tribologist who specializes in understanding how friction, wear, and lubrication interact with each other in car engines―recommends, “Let’s let science do the deciding for you,” as he addresses this important question.

Follow along with the host as he visits a Valvoline lab and discovers whether the “Restore & Protect” motor oil product is all it claims to be. In the video you will learn:

  • That the oil product formulation is the result of academic and industrial research designing theoretical molecules which are tested under laboratory and test facility conditions to determine whether an additive will provide the desired effect needed for cleaning an engine from within.
  • This molecule-to-product journey ends at Valvoline’s engine test labs where real world engine operating conditions put the new oil formulation(s) to the test to see what works and what does not, until a winning formulation is found. Incidentally, Valvoline is the only oil company today that has its own ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) certified test lab for qualifying their motor oil products.
  • Tests are done using some impressive machinery with the capability of flushing out one engine oil and replacing it with another test oil for comparison analysis―while the engine is still running!
  • Piston deposit testing is the focus on whether or not Valvoline’s "Restore & Protect Motor Oil" can do the job its makers claim and is based on understanding and controlling piston temperature and deposit formation in piston rings.
  • The secret behind the capabilities of Valvoline’s "Restore & Protect Motor Oil" comes down to the “synergy with the chemistry” discovery they found while designing and testing theoretical molecules during R&D. In other words, it’s literally a magic formula where researchers found not just the right chemicals but the right combination of each.

One Warning About the Video

If you are expecting to see an actual before-and-after demonstration of the products cleaning abilities, you will be sorely disappointed as I was. The video is more of an abbreviated explanation of the development of this specialized motor oil and the credentials of Valvoline to back up the believability of their claims. Still, it was an interesting video to learn from.

That said, here is the video posted below:

Inside Valvoline's Secret R&D Laboratory To Uncover The Truth


Questions About Valvoline’s "Restore & Protect" Motor Oil Answered by Valvoline

Since there was no direct before-and after demo in the video, here are some questions car enthusiasts will want to know about the product and what Valvoline has to say in response:

1. What makes Restore & Protect different than other premium synthetic motor oils on the market?

Not only does Valvoline Restore & Protect meet today’s engine oil specifications but Restore & Protect is the first and only motor oil in market that actively cleans your engine, removing up to 100% of engine killing deposits and helping prevent future deposits from forming.1 Restore & Protect is the highest performing product in the Valvoline portfolio. Not only does it exceed all the ILSAC GF-6A and API SP industry requirements, but it has superior wear protection and, critically, removes deposits from pistons and prevents more from forming.

2. Is Restore & Protect an engine cleaning product?

No, Restore & Protect is not an engine treatment. It is a fully formulated ILSAC GF-6A and API SP motor oil, exceeding the requirements of each specification. Restore & Protect works to its fullest capabilities when used consistently during regular oil drain intervals.

3. How often should I use Restore & Protect?

When it comes to Restore & Protect, consistency is key. Use Restore & Protect consistently as recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer to get the best results.

4. How do you know it works?

Cleaner parts at 300k miles than at 100k miles. After initial testing of deposit buildup at 100k miles, Valvoline completed an additional 200k miles of testing comparing deposit buildup with Restore & Protect to deposit buildup with an industry qualified GF-6 oil. Valvoline then conducted further modified industry testing confirming the results based on on-the-road driving habits.

5. As deposits leave the engine, where do they go?  Do the deposits have any affect on oil filter performance or longevity? 

Valvoline’s Active Clean technology chemically dissolves deposits into microscopic pieces, which are then suspended in the motor oil, eventually leaving the engine during the next oil change. There is no impact to the performance or longevity of the oil filter.

How Much Does Valvoline Restore & Protect Cost?

Currently, pricing online shows that it goes for about $12 per quart or save money by purchasing the 5-quart bottle for $40.

For additional articles related to car motor oil, here are a few for your consideration:

Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites  and Facebook for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.

COMING UP NEXT: The Most Fuel-Efficient Cars Today

Image source: Deposit Photos