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Why it Matters     What does oil actually do? 
Oil Pump     Oil Seals     Oil Dip Stick     Oil Filler Cap     Oil Filter     Oil Passages     Oil Pan
Choosing The Right Oil for Your Vehicle    
 Which Oil Do I Choose?     Which One is Better?   
 Why are there different weights of motor oil?    
What about own-brands?
Why So Many Oils?
What is the difference between synthetic and regular motor oil?
Premium Conventional Oil     Full Synthetic Oil     Synthetic Blend Oil     Higher Mileage Oil     Viscosity Index
Flushing oils
Engine Additives
Should I use an oil additiveServicing and checking

This image above shows the route taken by the oil within an engine. The oil pump draws oil from the oil pan, then forces it through the filter, into the crankshaft passage, through the connecting rods to the pistons and rings. Oil is pushed through the lifters and pushrods, and covers the rocker arms.
It then flows back down into the pan to complete the cycle.

Why it Matters

Keeping your engine properly lubricated reduces friction, heat buildup, and wear.
 This means that good engine lubrication maintenance will help your engine run better and last longer.

What price do you put on the oil in your car's sump?
 After all, it is the lifeblood of your car's engine. 

Is oil really the lifeblood of an engine?
 That's a long-popular analogy, but it's really not an accurate description. Blood carries nutrients to cells, but it's air that carries fuel - the "nutrition" - for an engine.
 However, without oil to lubricate and cool moving parts, keep them clean and help to seal the pistons in the cylinders, the engine would run for only a matter of seconds . . .

then seize!
 So, yes, oil is important.

In the mid-80's to mid-90's there was a mini revolution in car engine oil. All oils are no longer the same. Thanks to the increased popularity of sporty GTi's, 16 valve engines and turbos,
the days of one oil catering for everyone are over.

Take Castrol for example. They led the field for years with GTX. This was surpassed a few years back by semi-synthetic and fully synthetic oils, including GTX2 and GTX3 Lightec. Now, that's been surpassed by Formula SLX. And most recently, Castrol GTX Magnatec which is muscling in on the hitherto separate world of friction reducers.

(we'll discuss them later, 1n the additives section)

What does oil actually do?

An engine oil's job is primarily to stop all the metal surfaces in your engine from grinding together and tearing themselves apart
 (and that's the last thing we'want!).
But it  has to dissipate the heat generated from this friction also. It also transfers heat away from the combustion cycle. Another function is that a good engine oil must be able to hold in suspension the nasty by-products of fuel combustion, such as silica (silicon oxide) and acids, while also cleaning the engine of such mean,ugly, nasty things.
And it must do all of these things under tremendous heat and pressure without succumbing to fatigue -
 the ultimate engine destroyer.

The primary functions of oil are listed below: 

1. Provide a barrier between moving parts to reduce friction, heat buildup, and wear.

2. Disperse heat. Friction from moving parts and combustion of fuel produce heat that must be carried away.

3. Absorb and suspend dirt and other particles. Dirt and carbon particles need to be carried by the oil to the oil filter where they can be trapped.

4. Neutralize acids that can build up and destroy polished metal surfaces.

5. Coat all engine parts. Oil should have the ability to leave a protective coating on all parts when the engine is turned off to prevent rust and corrosion.

6. Resist sludge and varnish buildup. Oil must be able to endure extreme heat without changing in physical properties or breaking down.

7. Stay fluid in cold weather; yet remain thick enough to offer engine protection in hot weather.

It is a good habit to keep engine running at idle for few minutes after it is started.
 NEVER rev the engine.
Letting it idle allows the oil to flow all over the moving parts before any load is placed on the engine. Remember, the maximum wear and tear of the engine takes place when it is started for the first time of the day.

Oil Pump 

The oil pump is mounted at the bottom of the engine in the oil pan

 and is connected by a gear to either the crankshaft or the camshaft.  This way, when the engine is turning, the oil pump is pumping.

There is an oil pressure sensor near the oil pump that monitors pressure and sends this information to a warning light or a gauge on the dashboard. When you turn the ignition key on, but before you start the car, the oil light should light, indicating that there is no oil pressure yet, but also letting you know that the warning system is working.  As soon as you start cranking the engine to start it, the light should go out indicating that there is oil pressure.
What if It Does Not Go Off?

The oil pump is used to force pressurized oil to the various parts of the engine. 

Gear and rotary pumps are the most common types of pumps. The gear pump consists of a driven spur gear and a driving gear that is attached to a shaft driven by the camshaft. The two gears are the same size and fit snugly in the pump body. Oil is carried from the inlet to the delivery side of the pump by the opposite teeth of both gears. Here it is forced into the delivery pipe. It can't flow back, because the space between the meshing gear teeth is too tight.

The rotary pump is driven by the camshaft. The inner rotor is shaped like a cross with rounded points that fit into the star shape of the outer rotor. The inner rotor is driven by a shaft turned by the camshaft. When it turns, its rounded points "walk" around the star shaped outer rotor and force the oil out to the delivery pipe.

Oil Seals 

Oil seals are rubber and metal composite items. They are generally mounted at the end of shafts. They are used to keep fluids, such as oil, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid inside the object they are sealing. These seals flex to hold a tight fit around the shaft that comes out of the housing, and don't allow any fluid to pass. Oil seals are common points of leakage and can usually be replaced fairly inexpensively. However, the placement of some seals make them very difficult to access, which makes for a hefty labor charge!

Engine Oil Dip Stick

The engine oil dip stick is a long metal rod that goes into the oil sump.
The purpose of the dip stick is to
check how much oil is in the engine.

The dip stick is held in a tube; the end of the tube extends into the oil sump. It has measurement markings on it. If you pull it out, you can see whether you have enough oil, or whether you need more by the level of oil on the markings.
How to correctly find the dipstick and what it's markings mean

Oil Filler Cap 

The oil filler cap is a plastic or metal cap that covers an opening into the valve cover. It allows you to add oil when the dipstick indicates that you need it. Some cars have the crankcase vented through the filler cap. Oil which is added through the filler passes down through openings in the head into the oil sump at the bottom of the engine.
How to locate the Oil Fill Cap

Oil Filter

Oil filters are placed in the engine's oil system to strain dirt and abrasive materials out of the oil.

The oil filter cannot remove things that dilute the oil, such as gasoline and acids. Removing the solid material does help cut down on the possibility of acids forming. Removing the "grit" reduces the wear on the engine parts.

Modern passenger car engines use the "full flow" type of oil filters. With this type of filter, all of the oil passes through the filter before it reaches the engine bearings. If a filter becomes clogged, a bypass valve allows oil to continue to reach the bearings. The most common type of oil filter is a cartridge type. Oil filters are disposable; at prescribed intervals, this filter is removed, replaced and thrown away.
Most states now require that oil filters be drained completely before disposal, which adds to the cost of an oil change, but helps to reduce pollution.

Oil Passages

Within the engine is a variety of pathways for oil to be sent to moving parts. These pathways are designed to deliver the same pressure of fresh lubricating oil to all parts. If the pathways become clogged, the affected parts will lock together. This usually destroys parts that are not lubricated, and often ruins the entire engine.

The oil passages are cleverly drilled into the connecting parts of the engine, which allows the highly mobile ones (like the pistons) to have ample lubrication. Originating at the oil pump, they flow through all of the major components of the engine. In the case of the pistons and rods, the passages are designed to open each time the holes in the crankshaft and rods align.

Oil Pan 

At the bottom of the crankcase is the container containing the lifeblood of the engine. Usually constructed of thin steel, it collects the oil as it flows down from the sides of the crankcase. The pan is shaped into a deeper section, where the oil pump is located. At the bottom of the pan is the drain plug, which is used to drain the oil. The plug is often made with a magnet in it, which collects metal fragments from the oil.

Choosing The Right Oil for Your Vehicle 

Many people don't know how to select motor oil that will help them get optimum performance out of their car.
Some people often simply select the oil their father used, others may take the suggestion of a counter person at an auto parts store who may not know any more about cars than you do
and the majority of others simply grab any ol' quart(s) of oil on the shelf without thinking or knowing any better.

There are meaningful differences in motor oils and choosing the right one can have a major impact on how well your car runs. Selecting the right oil is often the quickest and cheapest way to improve your car's performance and reliability. 

Which Oil Do I Choose?
Which One is Better?

USE the type of oil
specified by the vehicle manufacturer
 in your owner's manual. 
The company that built your car wants it to run reliably for hundreds of thousands of miles. Therefore, the carmaker is going to recommend the kind of oil that is best for its engine.

You are not going to save money by using an off-brand oil because your engine will wear out sooner. Use oil that meets the American Pertroleum Institute (API) classification SL. .

If you are changing your oil just before winter, use SAE 10W30 weight oil. This number means the oil will have a thin 10 weight viscosity when the engine is cold, helping the engine to start easier, and then the oil will thicken to 30 weight viscosity when the engine warms up, protecting the engine better. If you are changing oil just before summer, use SAE 10W40 weight oil. The extra 40 weight viscosity will protect your engine better when it's hot.

Engines need oil that is thin enough for cold starts and thick enough when the engine is hot. Since oil gets thinner when heated, and thicker when cooled, most of us use what are called multi-grade, or multi-viscosity oils. These oils meet SAE specifications for the low temperature requirements of a light oil and the high temperature requirements of a heavy oil. You will hear them referred to as multi-viscosity, all-season and all-weather oils.  An example is a 10W-30 which is commonly found in stores.  When choosing oil, always follow the manufacturer's recommendation.
For most passenger car and light truck gasoline engines today,
it's any oil that meets the American Petroleum Institutes "API" rating.

Quality Counts! 
It doesn't matter what sort of fancy marketing goes into an engine oil, how many naked babes smear it all over their bodies, how bright and colourful the packaging is,
 it's what's written on the packaging which counts. 
Specifications and approvals are everything.
 The API (American Petroleum Institute) an established testing body, will have their stamp of approval to be seen on the side of every reputable can or bottle of engine oil.


Grade counts too!
The API/ACEA ratings only refer to an oil's quality.

 For grade, you need to look at the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) ratings. These describe the oil's function and viscosity standard. Viscosity means the substance and clinging properties of the lubricant.      

Motor oil is classified in two ways by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The API created and maintains a series of "service classifications" for motor oil, based on the oil's performance in certain types of engines. The API service classification is listed on each container of motor oil, and it's easy to match it to the recommendations in your owner's manual.

API Service Classifications: Briefly, the API service classifications are a 2-letter rating, beginning with the letter "S" or the letter "C" and followed by a letter from "A" through "J." "S" stands for "service" and designates an oil primarily for gasoline engines. "C" stands for "commercial" and indicates an oil for diesel engines. Many oils meet the requirements of both series and have a dual service classification, such as SH/CD.

The service classification rating system began in the early 1970s. The earliest S-classification oils were SA, SB, SC, and SD. You can think of the successive second letters-A, B, C, D, and so on-as indicating increasingly higher quality. In fact, each successive service classification has been an improvement on previous classifications and exceeds the earlier performance requirements. Although some low-cost oils rated SA or SB can still be found in some stores, service classifications SA through SF are no longer recommended for use by most vehicle manufacturers. SG, SH, and SJ oils can be used in older engines and should be used in all late-model engines because they lubricate and protect better under all operating conditions. The SJ classification is recommended for 1996 and newer gasoline engines and can be used in any earlier engine.

The older API diesel service classifications, CA and CB, are obsolete, as are the older S-classification oils. The CC and CD classifications are still current, but most late-model diesel engines use the newer CF-4 or CG-4 classifications.

The API also classifies some oils as "energy conserving," which indicates that the oil reduces friction enough to improve fuel economy by at least 1.5 percent. If the oil reduces fuel consumption by 2.7 percent, it may be called "energy conserving II."

SAE Viscosity Ratings: Viscosity refers to how "thick" or "thin" a liquid is, or how easily it pours.

Viscosity also is commonly referred to as "weight," as in a light-weight or heavy-weight oil. Viscosity is really a bit more complicated than simply "thick" or "thin" or "weight," but the Society of Automotive Engineers has organized viscosity ratings in a series of numbers that is easy to understand.


Oil viscosity is affected by temperature. A heavy oil that stays relatively thick at high temperatures would have a high-viscosity rating of 30, 40, or 50. A thin oil that flows freely at low temperatures would have a lower number. Because temperature affects how well any liquid flows, motor oil viscosity is rated at both high and low temperatures. The lower viscosity numbers of 20, 15, 10, and 5 are accompanied by a "W" for "winter." Some motor oils today have a single viscosity rating, such as SAE 30, but many are designed to work in a wide range of temperatures. Such oils have a dual viscosity rating, such as 5W-20 or 15W-30.

When an oil is cold its viscosity increases, and it does not flow easily. If you use high-viscosity oil in low-temperature weather, heavily loaded engine parts will not receive oil until the engine warms and the oil thins. Hot oil, on the other hand, is thin and flows easily. Low-viscosity oil in an engine running at very high temperature may break down and allow moving parts to rub against each other. This can cause rapid engine wear and possible damage. Today, most carmakers recommend multiviscosity oils such as 5W-30 and 10W-30. Check your owner's manual to see what's recommended for your car.

Very few manufactures recommend 10W-40 any more, and some threaten to void warranties if it is used.  20W-50 is the same 30 point spread, but because it starts with a heavier base it requires less viscosity index improvers (polymers) to do the job.
Follow your manufacturer's recommendations as to which weights are appropriate for your vehicle.

Modern metallurgy allows engineers to build engines with tighter clearances between moving parts than was possible in the past. These modern engine designs offer improved fuel economy, emission control, and performance, but they require motor oil that provides immediate lubrication to close-tolerance parts. High-viscosity oil may delay critical lubrication right after startup, even in hot weather. This can lead to premature engine wear and reduced operating efficiency. The best advice for selecting a motor oil that is right for your car is to follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the general climate in which you drive.

The Starburst Symbol: A new motor oil rating system was introduced in 1993 by the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC). Oils that meet the ILSAC standards for gasoline engines in cars and light trucks may display the ILSAC starburst symbol on the container. The ILSAC starburst does not replace API and SAE ratings. It is intended to help car owners select oil that meets all of the operating requirements for vehicles built since 1993. Many owners' manuals for 1993 and later cars and light trucks list the ILSAC starburst symbol along with the recommended API and SAE ratings.

Why are there different weights of motor oil?
(And which one is right for my car?)

Monograde oils (SAE 30, 40, etc.)
Multigrade oils (5w20, 5w30, 10w40, etc.)

Have you ever wondered what all the letters and numbers on an oil bottle mean? They stand for different oil weights. For example, a bottle that reads "SAE30W", assures that the oil conforms to the SAE's (Society of Automotive Engineers) oil weight or viscosity standards. The "30W" represents the oil weight, and the lower the number, the thinner the oil. Use low numbers in cold weather, higher numbers in warm climates.

Oils meeting the SAE's low temperature requirements have a "W" after the viscosity rating (example: 10W), and oils that meet the high ratings have no letter (example SAE 30).

You can buy oils in single grades for warm or cold weather driving. However, most people prefer multigrades which suit your car during all seasons.

Multi-viscosity grades (for example, SAE 10W-30) will provide a wider range of use and permit you to drive from one climate extreme to another. They are also insurance against sudden temperature change in your own area.

At cold temperatures, the polymers are coiled up and allow the oil to flow as their low numbers indicate. As the oil warms up, the polymers begin to unwind into long chains that prevent the oil from thinning as much as it normally would. The result is that at 100 degrees C, the oil has thinned only as much as the higher viscosity number indicates. Another way of looking at multi-vis oils is to think of a 20W-50 as a 20 weight oil that will not thin more than a 50 weight would when hot.

It is important to use the correct motor oil weight to reduce wear on your engine. The optimum oil weight for your car depends on the climate you live in, your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations, your driving conditions and the maximum fuel economy you want out of your car
(the lower the weight of the oil,  the greater the fuel efficiency).

You can determine the best oil weight for your vehicle
checking your owner's manual.

Choosing the right oil for your vehicle is easy.
Just ask yourself the following questions:

  • What kind of oil does your owner's manual recommend? Is your vehicle still under warranty? Be sure to use whatever weight of oil the owner's manual recommends; the manufacturer knows what's best for each vehicle it produces. Using something other than the recommended oil may invalidate the warranty on a new vehicle.

  • What kind of oil have you been using? If you have an old vehicle that's been running on single-weight oil for most of its life, it's built up quite a bit of sludge because some single-weight oils don't have detergent in them. If you suddenly switch to a multi-viscosity oil, the detergent in it will free all that gook in your engine, and the gook will start to slosh around and really foul things up. It's better to let sleeping gook lie unless you want to invest in having your engine cleaned. The engine would have to be taken apart and put back together again, and you could start trouble where none existed before. If your car is running well, don't switch to another oil. Stick with the same old stuff you've been using.

  • How old is the oil in your car? How many miles have you driven it? If your car has been logging a great many miles and has been running on 30- or 40-weight oil, multi-weight oil is not going to be consistently thick enough to lubricate the worn engine parts, which have become smaller while wearing down, leaving wider spaces between them. To keep the oil thick enough to fill these gaps, switch to heavier single-weight oil as your car gets older and starts to run more roughly or to burn up oil more quickly. If you've been running on 30-weight oil, switch to 40-weight, at least during the summer, when oil tends to thin out.

  • Do you live where it's very cold? Hot? Is it mountainous? Are there sharp changes in temperature where you live or where you're going? Multi-weight oils cover a range of temperatures. Consult a viscosity chart to be sure that the oil you use will flow properly under extreme conditions.

Whenever you buy oil, look for major brands, such as Pennzoil, Quaker State, and Valvoline, or check Consumer Reports. Good brands of oil are often on sale in supermarkets and at auto supply stores, so if you want to save money and you spot a sale, buy a case and stash it away.

If I buy it now, how long can I keep if before I use it?"

In general, liquid lubricants (ie. oils, not greases) will remain intact for a number of years. The main factor affecting the life of the oil is the storage condition for the products.
Exposure to extreme temperature changes, and moisture will reduce the shelf life of the lubricants.
- for example: don't leave in the sun with the lid off. Best to keep them sealed and unopened.

Technically, engine oils have shelf lives of four to five years. However, as years pass, unused engine oils can become obsolete and fail to meet the technical requirements of current engines. The specs get updated regularly based on new scientific testing procedures and engine requirements. But this is only really a concern if you've bought a brand new car but have engine oil you bought for the previous car. An oil that is a number of years old might not be formulated to meet the requirements set for your newer engine.

The following are signs of storage instability in a lubricant:

  • Settling out of the additives as a gel or sticky liquid 

  • Floc or haze [Floc - A flocculent mass formed in a fluid through precipitation or aggregation of suspended particles].
  • Precipitates/solid material
  • Color change or haziness 

Water contamination in a lubricant can be detected by a "milky" appearance of the product.

What about own-brands?

If you can't afford the big-name players such as Pennzoil, Quaker State, and Valvoline, you could look at own-brand oils. These are usually badged oils from one of those larger companies but sold without the name, they are cheaper.
Check the standards and grade ratings on the pack first!!! 

And just make sure it isn't a 20W/50 oil (which a lot are because it's cheap) unless your car is old enough to warrant it.

No matter how crazy about recycling you are, NEVER
put recycled oil in your precious car.
You don't know where that stuff has been.

Why So Many Oils?

Look on the shelves in auto parts stores and you'll see oils labeled for all kinds of specific purposes: high-tech engines, new cars, higher-mileage vehicles, heavy-duty/off-road SUVs. In addition, you'll see a wide selection of viscosities. If you read your owner's manual, you'll know what the car manufacturer recommends for a brand-new vehicle. The manual may include a reference to Energy Conserving oils, which simply means that the oil has passed a lab test against a reference oil. It's no guarantee of better fuel economy, but most of the leading brands have at least some viscosities that are so labeled. Let's take a look at the different types.

What is the difference between
synthetic and regular motor oil?

The first difference is the source. Regular oil is prepared from the separation of the components in crude oil. Synthetic oil is manufactured in a chemical plant.

Many synthetic oils are silicon based polymers rather than carbon based. Silicon has similar properties to carbon in these systems, but sometimes provide better properties at high temperatures such as in a car. Silicone is used on many substitutes for carbon such as in glues, caulks and gaskets.

Both methods take energy to give the final product. Synthetics are probably more expensive based on the cost of the raw materials. Crude oil is cheap. Also note that regular motor oil can have synthetic components added. The term synthetic is used when the major component is synthetic.

Premium Conventional Oil
 This is the standard new-car oil. All leading brands have one for service level SL, available in several viscosities. The carmakers usually specify a 5W-20 or 5W-30 oil, particularly for lower temperatures, with a 10W-30 oil as optional, particularly for higher ambient temperatures. These three ratings cover just about every light-duty vehicle on the road. Even more important, though, is changing the oil and filter regularly. A 4000 miles/4 months interval is good practice. The absolute minimum is twice a year. If your car has an electronic oil-change indicator on the instrument cluster, don't exceed its warning.

Full Synthetic Oil
 The oils made for high-tech engines, whether in a Chevy Corvette or Mercedes-Benz, are full synthetics. If these oils pass stringent special tests (indicated by their labeling), it means they have superior, longer-lasting performance in all the critical areas, from viscosity index to protection against deposits. They flow better at low temperatures and maintain peak lubricity at high temperatures. So why shouldn't everyone use them? Answer: These oils are expensive and not every engine needs them. In fact, there may be some features that your car's engine needs that the synthetics don't have. Again, follow your owner's manual.

Synthetic Blend Oil
These have a dose of synthetic oil mixed with organic oil, and overall are formulated to provide protection for somewhat heavier loads and high temperatures. This generally means they're less volatile, so they evaporate far less, which reduces oil loss (and increases fuel economy). They're popular with drivers of pickups/SUVs who want the high-load protection. And they're a lot less expensive than full synthetics, maybe just pennies more than a premium conventional oil.

Higher Mileage Oil
 Today's vehicles last longer, and if you like the idea of paying off the car and running the mileage well into six figures, you have another oil choice, those formulated for higher-mileage vehicles. Almost two-thirds of the vehicles on the road have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer. So the oil refiners have identified this as an area of customer interest, and have new oils they're recommending for these vehicles.

When your car or light truck/SUV is somewhat older and has considerably more mileage, you may notice a few oil stains on the garage floor. It's about this time that you need to add a quart more often than when the vehicle was new. Crankshaft seals may have hardened and lost their flexibility, so they leak (particularly at low temperatures) and may crack. The higher-mileage oils are formulated with seal conditioners that flow into the pores of the seals to restore their shape and increase their flexibility. In most cases, rubber seals are designed to swell just enough to stop leaks. But the oil refiners pick their "reswelling" ingredients carefully. Valvoline showed us the performance data of one good seal conditioner that swelled most seal materials, but actually reduced swelling of one type that tended to swell excessively from the ingredients found in some other engine oils.

You also may have noticed some loss of performance and engine smoothness as a result of engine wear on your higher-mileage vehicle. These higher-mileage oils also have somewhat higher viscosities.
 (Even if the numbers on the container don't indicate it, there's a fairly wide range for each viscosity rating and the higher-mileage oils sit at the top of each range.)
They also may have more viscosity-index improvers in them. The result? They seal piston-to-cylinder clearances better, and won't squeeze out as readily from the larger engine bearing clearances. They also may have a higher dose of antiwear additives to try to slow the wear process.

If you have an older vehicle, all of these features may mean more to you than what you might get from a full synthetic, and at a fraction the price.

Beyond that, there's plenty more to the oil story. 
Read on.

Viscosity Index

Resistance to thinning with increasing temperature is called viscosity index. And although a higher second number is good, the oil also has to be robust. That is, it must be able to last for thousands of miles until the next oil change. For example, oil tends to lose viscosity from shear, the sliding motion between close-fitted metal surfaces of moving parts such as bearings. So resistance to viscosity loss (shear stability) is necessary to enable the oil to maintain the lubricating film between those parts.

Unlike antifreeze, 95 percent of which is made up of one base chemical (typically ethylene glycol), petroleum-type engine oil contains a mixture of several different types of base oil, some more expensive than others. Oil companies typically pick from a selection of five groups, each of which is produced in a different way and in different viscosities. The more expensive groups are more highly processed, in some cases with methods that produce a lubricant that can be classified as a synthetic. The so-called full synthetics contain chemicals that may be derived from petroleum but they're altered so much that they're not considered natural oil anymore. Our custom blend contained 10 percent polyalphaolefins (PAO), the type of chemical that's often the primary ingredient in a full synthetic.

The base oil package in any oil makes up anywhere from 70 to 95 percent of the mix, the rest comprised of additives. Does that mean an oil with just 70 percent base oils is better than one with 95 percent. No, because some of the base oils have natural characteristics or ones that derive from their processing, which reduces or eliminates the need for additives. And although some additives make important contributions to lubrication, by themselves don't necessarily have great lubricity.

The ingredients in an additive package differ in cost, as we said, but price is just one factor. Some work better in certain combinations of base oils, and some of the less-expensive base oils are a good choice for a blend because of the way they perform with popular additives. Bottom line: every motor oil has a recipe. Refiners come up with a list of objectives based on the needs of their customers (the carmakers, for example) and formulate oil to meet those goals as best they can.

Now, keeping an oil from thinning as it gets hot while it takes a beating from engine operation is one thing. But it's also important to keep oil from getting too thick. Using premium base oils for low volatility (to prevent evaporation) is one approach. Evaporation of the base oil package not only increases oil consumption, it results in thicker oil (which decreases fuel economy).

Flushing oils

These are special compound oils that are very, very thin. They almost have the consistency of tap water when cold as well as hot. Typically they are 0W/20 oils.
Don't ever drive with these oils in the engine - it won't last. 
Their purpose is for cleaning out all the gunk which builds up inside an engine. Note that Mobil1 0W40 is okay, because the '40' denotes that it's actually thick enough at temperature to work. 0W20 just doesn't get that viscous!

To use them:
  • Drain your engine of all it's oil, but leave the old oil filter in place.

  • Next fill it up with flushing oil and run it at a fast idle for about 20 minutes.
  • Finally, drain all this off, replace the oil filter, refill with a good synthetic oil.

 . . .  and voila

Clean engine!

In an old engine you really don't want to remove all the deposits.
Some of these deposits help seal rings, lifters and even some of the flanges between the heads, covers, pan and the block, where the gaskets are thin.
I have heard of engines with over 180,000 miles that worked fine, but when flushed it failed in a month because the blow-by past the scraper ring (now really clean) contaminated the oil and screwed the rod bearings.

Engine Additives

T.V. commercial:

Announcer: Every time you cold start your car without Slick 50 protection, metal grinds against metal in your engine.

Video: A key turning the ignition accompanied by sound of metal grinding.

Announcer: With each turn of the ignition you do unseen damage, because at cold start-up most of the oil is down in the pan.

Video: Shows a box of Slick 50, and then shows a bottle of Slick 50 being poured into a funnel.

Announcer: But Slick 50's unique chemistry bonds to engine parts. It reduces wear up to 50% for 50,000 miles.

[Super: Proven by Independent Lab Tests.]  

Video: A large heavy ball is dropped down onto the car and demolishes it.

Announcer: So get Slick 50, while there's still time.

Video: Shows three different boxes of Slick 50 and then shows the demolished car.

Announcer: Slick 50's engine formula, the world's number one selling engine treatment.

[Super: Advanced Technology/Street Smart Science.] 

Should I use an oil additive

absolutely not,

Lubrication system additives are never necessary as long as you are following the manufacturer's recommendation for oil change intervals.
Additives do not provide any protection or performance improvements,
and can in some cases cause engine damage or excessive engine wear.

Engine/Oil Additives are an addition to the engine which it was not designed to take.
 Engines are designed to use engine oil, 
not Teflon®. 

My opinion, the majority of these are primarily a placebo to put uneducated minds at rest while making a nice profit for the additive manufacturer.

If you're considering Duralube, ProLong, Slick50 or any of the other brand-name placebos, you should think twice and read further.

To illustrate the whole point about additives, consider this.
 In the manufacture of synthetic oils, once the synthetic polyol ester bases are created, anti-wear additives such as zinc dithiophosphates (essentially combinations of zinc, phosphorous, and sulphour molecules) are added. These combinations are extremely effective as anti-oxidant, anti-wear, anti-corrosion inhibitors. Now look at the contents of some of the after-market additives. Wow! Zinc, phosphorous and sulphour!
 Those aftermarket additives are in fact exactly what your oil manufacturer has already put in .

Consider further that some oil companies actually make a point of telling you not to use aftermarket additives with their oils.

So if these additives are so brilliant, why do the companies always seem to end up in trouble?

Go ahead and click on a Brand below your thinking about using
and see all the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) reports pertaining to that product . . .



Apart from the fact that all the additive manufacturers have been in trouble in the past, and most of them have lost their cases
(see above):

My views on engine oil additives are this: 
the oil companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on research and development in order to make their oils suitable for use in car engines.
Standard off-the-shelf engine oil is already stuffed with a cocktail of additives put there by the oil company. By contrast, additive companies spend a couple of million on R&D and an equal amount in PR and advertising to claim that their product
 (and only their product)
will enhance the life of your engine. 
You're adding an unapproved additive to an already additive-full oil.

Click here for MORE info about BELTS

Servicing and checking

For the love of your vehicle don't skimp on either of these.
 You can never check your engine oil too often. Use the dipstick - that's what it's there for - and don't run below the 'min' mark. Below that, there isn't enough oil for the pump to be able to supply the top of the engine while keeping a reserve in the sump. All oils, no matter what their type, are made of long-chained molecules which get sheared into shorter chains in a running engine. This in turn means that the oil begins to lose it's viscosity over time, and it uses up the additives in it that prevent scuffing between cams and followers, rings and cylinder walls etc, etc, etc.
 When this happens, fresh oil is the key. 
And don't worry about the engine oil turning black. It will lose it's golden-brown color within a few hundred miles of being put in to the engine. That doesn't mean it's not working. Quite the contrary - it means it is working well.
It changes color as it traps oxidized oil, clots and the flakes of metal that pop off heavily loaded engine parts.
Just don't leave it too long between oil changes. 

Click Here 
How to Check & Change Your Oil


There are a lot of people who can't understand how we came to have oil shortages here in the USA.

Well, there's a very simple answer . . .
nobody bothered to check the oil.

We just didn't know we were getting low. The reason for that is purely geographical. All the oil is in Texas, Oklahoma, Alaska, etc.

All the dipsticks are in Washington, DC.



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The objective of this Web Page is to familiarize you with basic auto maintenance
-  in some common emergencies -
not to make you an expert in auto mechanics

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 I am in no way, shape, or form telling you to do this yourself. Your results may vary. If something goes wrong, it is not my fault.
These are just guidelines.

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