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Do Oil Additives Really Work

The entire all of the negative articles about oil additives, which have been written and supported extensively by special interest groups, its time to tell the true truth about oil additives. Most often they perform a positive function and with regular use can provide a number of benefits to vehicles and equipment.

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First, lets get one thing clear, its important to tell apart from oil additives developed by companies which were extensively tested, and others, usually made by individuals, without such testing and documentation. Anyone can put an additive package together and have a label made. There are lots of available on the market, which have no real testing, regardless that, they claim they do. That is where additives have gotten a nasty name. On the other hand there are quite a few companies that sell additives that have extensive research and development teams that have tested their additive packages. For instance, Lubrizol whose revenues were over 4 billion dollars for 2005 specializes in additive packages including aftermarket engine and fuel treatments. Anyone doing this sort of volume isn’t selling snake oil to millions of dumb consumers—just doesnt happen. And they’re only certainly one of several which are very large. Others include Oronite, Ethyl, Infineum, Bardahl, Wynns, SFR, Power Up, STP, Slick 50. That is only a partial list of companies which have well documented additive products.

In actuality additives are utilized in most all lubricants, because even the very best synthetic base oils cannot protect vital parts alone, as its the additives that do all of the work. Lets concentrate on the internal combustion engine in taking a look at the need for additives. Based on the American Petroleum Institute the powerful watchdog for the oil companies, “The temperatures and sorts of service under which an engine is operated vary markedly. Moderate-speed driving on short trips or stop-and-go driving in traffic uses only a fraction of the available engine power. Because the cooling systems should be capable of meeting the cooling requirements of the engine at high speeds, they may overcool the engine in brief-trip driving. In such light-duty service engines and motor oils warm up slowly and often do not reach proper operating temperatures.

Under these conditions automatic chokes will provide the engine with the rich air-fuel mixture it must operate smoothly at cold temperatures, but this richness will lead to incomplete combustion. Soot and partially oxidized hydrocarbons undergo further oxidation in the crankcase, forming sludge and varnish deposits. These may clog oil screens or plug oil rings, interfering with oil circulation and control, or they may cause hydraulic valve lifters and valves to stick. Corrosive acids are formed that cause wear on piston rings, cylinders, and occasionally on piston skirts. Steam from combustion condenses on cylinder walls and drains into the crankcase. Water, often together with acidic gases, may cause valve lifters to rust and stick. It may create rust deposits on piston pins, rocker arm shafts, and valve stems. Liquid fuel leaking past the piston rings dilutes the oil and reduces its lubricating value. These are a few of the consequences of engine operation at cold temperatures.

In contrast legal speed limit driving and long trips allow the engine and oil to warm p properly. The choke is open, and the carburetor is feeding the cylinders with a lean, clean burning air-fuel mixture. Because of this there little or no incomplete combustion to produce soot other residue. Under these conditions water compensation will not be a problem, nor is dilution of the motor oil by raw fuel.” Additives have been developed to address these problems as most of us qualify much of time for driving in severe service conditions. Furthermore, the API goes on to say “Under some conditions it’s impossible to maintain a continuous oil film between moving parts, and there is intermittent metal-to-metal contact between the high spots on sliding surfaces. Lubrication engineers call this boundary lubrication. Under these circumstances the load is just partially supported by the oil film. The oil film is ruptured, resulting in significant metal-to-metal contact. When this occurs, the friction generated between the surfaces can produce enough heat to cause on or both of the metals in contact to melt and weld together. Unless counteracted by proper additive treatment, the result’s either immediate seizure or the tearing apart and roughening of surfaces.

Boundary lubrication conditions always exist during engine starting and often during the operation of a new or rebuilt engine. Boundary lubrication can also be found around the highest piston ring where oil supply is proscribed, temperatures are high, and a reversal of piston motion occurs.

Extreme pressure conditions can develop between heavily loaded parts from lack of lubrication, inadequate clearance, extreme heat, and sometimes on account of using the wrong type or grade of lubricant for the operating conditions of the engine. Since motor oils don’t contain extreme pressure agents that is an area that aftermarket additive manufacturers focus a number of attention. In modern engines the valve train with its cams, valve lifters, push rods, valve stem tips, and parts of the rocker arms operate under conditions of extreme pressure because they carry heavy loads on very small contact areas. Unit loading, which could also be as high as 200,000 pounds per square inch, is many times greater than the loads on the connecting rod bearings or on the piston pins.” Motor oils rarely contain extreme pressure additives, thus premature wear could take place. The preceding has laid the groundwork for the necessity for additives. Additives to take care of the deposits and sludge, called detergent/dispersant additives, anti-oxidants to delay the consequences of oxidation. Anti-foaming additives are important as if foaming occurs in a motor oil the film strength is reduced allowing wear. And since base oils alone cannot withstand the metal-to-metal contact inside an engine, anti-wear agents are needed. With acids there is also a need for corrosion inhibitors; and in reducing friction in hydrodynamic lubrication such as on the cylinder liners, where metal-to-metal contact does not occur, friction modifiers or lubricity additives are desired to improve engine efficiency and improve mileage.

If additives are a necessity to reducing wear in an engine and are contained in motor oils, then that have to be the top of the story right Not quite. Few people know that the oil companies don’t make the specifications for motor oil. They’re required to make their motor oils to satisfy the original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) specifications. Motor oil specifications are established by the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee, which consists of the large Three domestic car manufacturers as well because the Japanese car manufacturers. ILSAC defines the performance characteristics and the chemistry of the oil it will accept to be used in its engines; and then the American Petroleum Institute (API) makes sure the oil sold by marketers displaying that label meets the definition. This isnt a simple process because the OEMs will not be best of friends as competitors, thus they have driven the price of this highly political process into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Yes, just to provide you with a brand new specification. ILSAC comes up with a series of Sequence Tests that a motor oil must pass to receive certification. The general public is not aware of the fact that, a motor oil formulation going through the method, can fail a Sequence test two times and not have to re-formulate. If the formulation fails thrice on a single Sequence test then it have to be re-formulated and begin over. To regulate how many additive companies that can supply the entire packages to fulfill the brand new warranty specification, ILSAC has proposed the testing process to cost a whopping 1.5 million dollars for diesel motor oil warranty, and over $500,000 for gasoline engine motor oil. That’s assuming you pass on the primary try other wise the costs can escalate. With specifications changing so fast, only a few large companies can recover their cost of development in such a short time. When oil companies advertise they exceed the best standard available its the only one so its also the lowest standard. No matter how good your motor oil is there is just one standard, currently GF-4 for gasoline engines and CJ-4 for diesel engines. There isn’t a incentive to enhance beyond the lowest passing standard because it costs money so as to add additives that do the work. Motor oil companies often cut additives to the core to exceed the standard by the narrowest of margins to chop costs and maximize revenues. In summary, the oil companies make their motor oils to the OEMs standards not theirs!

Two questions are always asked when discussing oil additives and whether or not they work or not and they’re: Why doesnt the OEMs recommend oil additives and why doesnt the oil companies get into the additive business if they’re so good.

First, it seems fairly obviously why the OEMs do not wish to recommend oil additives as they’ve spent millions of dollars protecting their engineering. After i say protecting their engineering I mean using a fluid to insure that the engine, on average, lasts so long as they engineered it to last. They are in the business of selling cars they usually know to be competitive it has to last a certain amount of time, but then they want you to buy a new car. They don’t need to have to check other additive products as they’ve spent money to develop their specification. This does not mean that oil additives cant be beneficial as a Sequence Wear Test was run by SFR Corporation with the leading selling motor oil within the United States—once without the additive and once with the leading motor oil and 5% SFRs additive package SFR 100. The test was run by a large testing facility certified to conduct tests for motor oil warranty approval. The outcomes of these expensive tests showed that the additive package reduced the overall wear of the leading motor oil by 17% and on the exhaust lobe part of the test the outcomes were an outstanding 80-90% reduction in wear using the additive. When OEMs are developing their own specifications they aren’t going to say their specification needs help in performance by utilizing an additive as its against their best interest. However, no OEM will state that the usage of an additive in itself will void a warranty. The reason being that they must run the battery of tests which costs from $500,000 to 1, 500,000 per test. This doesnt mean that an additive could not hurt or destroy an engine and that is why the leading additive suppliers have performed extensive testing to validate their product.

Why arent the oil companies involved price of oil per barrel 2015 within the additive market Truth is they’re the leaders in the event of aftermarket oil additives. Most of the additives used in the aftermarket industry are literally purchased from the oil companies. The oil companies, with their big budgets, can provide hundreds of thousands of dollars of testing to validate additive performance. The general public is unaware of this though as most all oil companies run their additive divisions as separate companies under their corporate umbrella. They include Infineum for Exxon/Mobil, Oronite for Chevron/Texaco after which there is Ethyl who is well-known for its tetraethyl lead previously present in all gasoline. Shell has their very own as does Castrol. Quaker State owned Slick 50 additive company, and i cannot see them buying this company if the product would not have any benefit because the liability could be too great if the products wouldn’t perform. Chevron sells Techron today an aftermarket gasoline treatment, Valvoline has marketed aftermarket additives in addition to others including the additive leader Lubrizol. One must realize the next: The oil companies make products to satisfy the OEMs requirements not theirs. You can call an oil company up right now and ask if oil could possibly be made better and your response would be much like this: We’ve got over 150 chemists in this building alone and if motor oil could be made better, we could be the ones to do it. However we could call their additive division and say we want a heavy duty performing oil that would out perform the present specification and they could fax you a product with hundreds of thousands of dollars of testing documentation.

It all boils right down to special interest groups protecting their special interests. The OEMs and the key oil companies all protect their interests. Its hard for an oil company to not price of oil per barrel 2015 defend their oil as the very best there is, but in reality we know the specification was created by the OEM. That is the primary reason why so many articles have been posted about why additives do not work. A magazine writer doing an article on additives will go to a source that he or she thinks is an expert, and thus they call someone up on the oil company. That person reinforces that their oil is one of the best and doesnt need additional additives. Even the specialty motor oil marketers similar to Amsoil support the notion that oil additives are usually not needed. They do not want competition from additive companies because of their mind all you need is their oil. Unfortunately, being a (MLM) multi-level marketing company, most all are part-time, thus more laymen within the business than every other oil marketing company. Their dealers go to great lengths supporting articles that additives do not work. What a paradox, because if additives don’t work, than why is their motor oil better than anyone elses. Doesnt take much thought to figure that one out.

To support the problem of additives all one has to do is look at Mobils new marketing campaign. They still claim their oil meets GF-4 or the brand new specification that API certifies, but they at the moment are calling for extended drain intervals. And, when you read anything about Mobils new products is that it has to do with additional additives being used, mainly detergents. From their literature it states: Mobil Clean 7500 is a synthetic blend formulation with a boosted level of cleaning performance, 18 percent beyond the extent of even our premium Mobil Clean 5000 conventional motor oil, to keep your engine cleaner longer.

Additives are what make motor oil what it is and price of oil per barrel 2015 additives are what make aftermarket additive manufacturers their gains in performance. Its all based on testing both engine and fleet tests. Additives have been around for years and auto parts stores devote entire rows of products related to additives. Additive manufacturers are seen as nuisances because the OEMs engineer their products to last on average a certain period of time and the oil companies make their products to meet the OEMs needs. So if you want to search out out about additives you wouldnt ask the OEMs or oil companies but the testing laboratories like Southwest Research Institute and Auto Research Laboratories Inc. that performs thousands of tests each year. I am including some links to additive suppliers and testing companies as a way to see the tremendous amount of knowledge that is available from large substantial companies. They include [http://www.lubrizol],,,,,,,,, [],, and many more that I haven’t mentioned.