Since March 1, 2010 Valvoline has been offering to guarantee your engine for up to 300,000 miles, if you “religiously” use their motor oil. The company's material is up front about the limitations that apply: A vehicle must have less than 125,000 miles on it, 18 months lead time between registration and the effective date is required and engine failures caused by an outside force are not covered.
Let’s start considering these caveats. The first one is quite reasonable. If you start the coverage with a vehicle that already has 100,000 miles on it, I’d have to say that Valvoline's exposure is the greatest. It's not known what kind of forensic autopsy they would do on the failed engine to determine if an “outside force” contributed to the failure. By the way the outside force can be “problems with non-engine vehicle systems.”
The 18 month lag from the time you register to the time the guarantee takes effect has the marketing department’s fingerprints all over it. It seems like the advertising effort would spur short term sales of their oil, while the requirement of six oil changes (computed at 12,000 annual miles) prior to coverage would generate second thoughts in many consumers. This, of course, would happen after their registration and initial purchase or possibly multiple purchases.
The “outside force” stipulation is the big one but is actually quite reasonable as well. What they’re saying here is that you not only have to be religious about using their motor oil but also have to be born again about maintaining the rest of your car as well. If a radiator hose blows and you car runs hot and that episode contributes to the engine failure, their coverage would be in doubt. And if you dig down another level into their legal description it’s in black and white: “The Covered Consumer must comply with all scheduled engine maintenance recommended by the Qualifying Vehicle’s manufacturer as outlined in the Qualifying Vehicle’s owner’s manual.” How’s that for a C.Y.A. position in classic legalese.
So purchasing their oil and changing it every 3,000 miles with a 1,000 mile grace period constitutes only part of your responsibility. To their credit Valvoline does allow for three exceptions to the 3,000 mile rule. Each oil change has to be recorded online and of course hard copies of the proofs of purchase must be retained by the consumer and will be needed in the event of a claim.
The 300,000 mile warranty is available only to owners purchasing their fully synthetic oil with 225,000 and 150,000 mile guarantees possible for those purchasing their synthetic blends and premium oil products respectively. Should a claim occur Valvoline will pay up to $5,000 to replace the engine with the option to “pay the Covered Consumer an amount equal to the private sale value of the Qualifying Vehicle on the date of a Qualifying Engine Breakdown” in the event your car’s value is less than the cost of the repair.
If you are a loyal Valvoline customer and either change your own oil or insist upon its use when you get your car serviced, there’s no doubt that this is for you, because you are committed to the brand. If you’re someone who needs a nudge to properly maintain your car this program has something to offer – keep the guarantee in force by keeping up with your car as a whole. However, if you are casual about the maintenance of your vehicle and your good intentions dwindle with every monthly payment don’t give in to the marketing hype.