Written By: Corey Foy

The choice between Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) specified and private label lubricants often sparks debate. A large concern among equipment owners is if private label lubricants could affect their warranty claims. This blog post aims to shed light on this issue by examining lubricant standards, warranty regulations, and the competitive landscape.

Lubrication Standards

The lubricant industry has strict quality and performance standards. These are set by groups such as the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC). However, when examining warranty claims, the standards that really matter are the ones established by the OEM. Examples of these include TO-4 (Caterpillar), J20C (John Deere), or AXO 80 (Komatsu). These standards outline benchmarks in categories such as viscosity, oxidation stability, wear protection, and more. To keep this blog concise, we will not examine these targets individually. However, feel free to reach out to our technical specialist for an in-depth explanation. What you need to know is that as long as a lubricant meets the performance requirements of the OEM a warranty claim cannot be denied. 

Case Study: Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a federal law in the United States, plays a crucial role in protecting consumers' rights regarding warranties. It's summary is that warranties cannot be conditioned on the use of specific brands of parts or services. The exception to this rule is if the manufacturer provides those items free of charge.

This means that if your heavy equipment's warranty specifies the use of a lubricant meeting a particular OEM specified standard, you are free to choose any lubricant that meets that standard, regardless of whether it's an OEM specified or private label product. Using a private label lubricant that meets the required specifications will not void your warranty under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

Warranty Protections in Canada

While Canada lacks an equivalent to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, it outlines how companies structure their warranty polices in North America. Specifically in Canada, the Competition Act prohibits anti-competitive practices like "tied selling". To elaborate, tied selling requires consumers to use specific brands to maintain their warranty. Additionally, provincial consumer protection laws and common law principles support the right of consumers to use private label products. However, this is only if they meet or exceed the manufacturer's specifications.

How 49 North Meets Warranty Standards

Our blending facility is a state-of-the-art operation with over 80 years of experience. They partner with the top 3 additive companies in North America and use only virgin base oils. With over 100 million liters of annual production and ISO 9001 certification, our blender has proven their commitment to quality. This is further reinforced by the fact that our blending facility produces lubricants for many trusted brands, including OEMs. In summary, any product that leaves our blending facility is subject to the same rigorous testing as any other brand name lubricant. This testing ensures that all of our products meet or exceed any warranty policy you may encounter.


If you are ever unsure if a product will meet your OEM’s specifications, do not hesitate to reach out to our technical specialist, Corey Foy at info@49northlubricants.com. Alternatively, feel free to browse our online store here.