Soot is known to cause engine wear. In this work, we focus on how engine oil formulation affects soot-related wear, and how the lubricant-derived anti-wear film changes when soot is present. Friction and wear experiments of fully and partially formulated diesel engine oils (containing basestock, dispersants and viscosity modifiers) are conducted with a ball-on-disk rig in the presence of carbon black (CB) as a soot surrogate. The friction coefficient was largely unaffected by CB dispersed in the oils, but electrically insulating film formation, an indication of the formation of anti-wear films, was decreased. Wear on the disk was found to either remain the same or decrease when CB was present, depending on the oil formulation. An examination of the lubricant-derived films using Raman and Auger electron spectroscopies found that the presence of more abundant amorphous carbon and lesser amounts of anti-wear film components on the surface was associated with higher wear. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.