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Intelligent Lubrication Solutions™

Intelligent Lubrication Solutions™


The ‘Skinny’ on Engine Oil Additives

Posted by Matt Mohelnitzky on Jan 26, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Engine-Oil-Additives.jpgChoosing the ideal engine oil for an automobile is no easy task. From understanding all the different engine oil specifications from independent organizations to finding the perfect formula that maximizes performance and protection, there’s a lot more that goes into it than simply browsing a catalogue and choosing a generic, off-the-shelf engine oil. Likewise, while engine oil additives can be useful for enhancing the performance of your oil, if you don’t know exactly how they’ll react with your base fluid, you’d likely be doing more harm than good by adding them to your formulation after the fact.

It’s easy to think that more of a good thing means more protection or added performance, but in reality, increasing the percentage of one additive may create an imbalance in your oil, causing one property of your oil to degrade while improving another.

For automobile manufacturers looking to find the best possible engine oil for their vehicles, the best way to maximize the protection and performance of your engines is by using a properly formulated fluid from the start—one that already includes the right additives for peak performance. In fact, if you’re already using a properly blended formula for your engine, you shouldn’t even need an aftermarket additive package. Though manufacturers are often under the impression that it’s less expensive to buy an off-the-shelf base fluid and mix in aftermarket additives themselves, this isn’t always the case with custom-blended engine oils, as some are actually less expensive than their aftermarket alternatives. Even if they are slightly more expensive, however, the added knowledge and experience of your fluid supplier will lead to better protection, performance, and peace-of-mind—which is well worth any extra costs in the long run.

To help you choose the best possible engine oil formulation for your vehicles—and bottom line—here are three reasons why you should use a custom-blended oil from your fluid supplier, and not an off-the-shelf, aftermarket product:

1) Aftermarket additives can upset the balance of your fluid formulation

As we mentioned above, there’s a delicate balance when it comes to formulating engine oils, and if you aren’t precise with the additives you use, you can throw off that balance and negate any benefits the additives might provide. Think of your engine oil as a cake, for example. While you might think adding more sugar would help the cake taste sweeter (and it does), you also have to take into account how the sugar affects the texture and/or baking process, as too much sugar will ruin your cake. The same concept applies for additives and engine oils. If you add too much zinc to your fluid, for example, you may upset the balance.

2) Additives impact performance of your fluid and engine

If you took two of the same base oils and added different additives to each, both oils would perform very differently in the same engine. Take ACEA specs, for example. There are certain environments where European spec oils may work in American auto engines, but because engines in Europe are designed differently, they will generally have additives better suited for those engines and conditions. In Europe, many vehicles have turbo chargers with smaller engines, which creates more heat and requires increased oxidation and rust inhibitors. On the other hand, American manufacturers are more concerned with things like higher fuel mileage, because Americans drive further with more open roadways; and American engines are designed accordingly. Even if the spec oils are similar, if you take oil formulated for an American car and put into a European engine, you could potentially ruin the engine if the oil oxidizes too quickly or thins out—thus eliminating its protective properties. If you want the best results for your engine, it’s important that you leave fluid selection in the hands of a professional supplier to maximize performance and protection.

3) Fluid suppliers understand the key characteristics that influence what additives to use

Plain and simple: maintenance managers may not be trained well enough to know which things like viscosity grade and specification levels are required for different machines and operating environments, let alone which additives are best suited for them. At U.S. Lubricants, however, one of our main responsibilities is knowing which additives and fluids are best suited for any possible scenario. For more than 60 years, we’ve been creating superior, top-of-the-line fluid solutions for our customers. When you rely on a supplier like us, you know you’re getting the best possible fluid for your engine, and world-class service from our lubricant technicians.

To find out more about U.S. Lubricants can help you formulate the ideal automobile engine oil, contact Tony Springer at TSpringer@uslube.com or by phone at (800) 490-4900 ext. 8823, or click the button below to request a quote.

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Topics: Engine Oils