How much Oil Change TIME and MONEY are YOU Pouring DOWN the DRAIN?
The 3,000-mile oil change drain interval has been ingrained in the American conscious for decades. Conventional motor oil companies aggressively push it, oil change centers remind their customers to return when another 3,000 miles have accumulated on the odometer and fathers teach their children to change their oil and filter according to a 3,000-mile schedule.
Most in the u.s. oil industry still clearly see "extended oil change drain intervals" as a pocketbook issue.
Consider the Following:
Marc Graham, president of Pennzoil-Quaker State-owned Jiffy Lube International, was quoted in a 2001 Lubricants World interview as saying, "At (PQS) we use a number internally that if we (shortened the drain interval) by 100 miles (for each car serviced), it would mean an additional $20 million in revenue for the company." He also explained that "if we could move our customers to get one more oil change per year, it's worth $294 million for the oil change alone and $441 million in revenue, when you include the ancillary products and services customers typically buy along with the oil change."
Up-Date: Lawsuit Hits at Jiffy Lube Oil Change Intervals Read it in the Lube'n'Greases Lube Report Section
The Best Kept U.S. Military Vehicle Maintenance SECRET for over 30 Years
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is the premiere world resource for the design, manufacturing, operation, and maintenance of automobiles, aircraft, space vehicles, off-highway equipment, trucks, buses, trains, marine craft, engines, and self-propelled vehicles.
You get better wear protection, lower engine temperatures, improved fuel efficiency and easier cold-weather starts. All of these benefits add up to reduced operating costs and longer engine life. And even more, you generate less waste oil, which helps preserve our environment and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
What is a motor oil?
Motor oil is one of the most important determinants in the durability of an engine. It contains two basic components: base stocks and additives.
The base stock comprises the largest portion of the oil. It lubricates internal moving parts, removes heat and seals piston rings.
Motor oil base stocks can be composed of
- chemically synthesized materials or
- a combination of synthetics and petroleum (called para-synthetic, semi-synthetic or synthetic blend)
A petroleum base stock consists of many different oil factions that form the final product. Generally, petroleum base stock molecules are long carbon chains that can be sensitive to the stress of heat and "boil off" at relatively low temperatures. Engine temperatures break down these molecular chains, changing the physical properties (such as viscosity) of the motor oil.
Synthetic base stock molecules are uniformly shaped, helping them resist the stress of heat. Because synthetic motor oils are constructed of these uniformly shaped molecules, they have a low "boil off" rate and their physical properties (such as viscosity) resist change.
The various chemicals that comprise a motor oil's additive system provide anti-wear, anti-foam, corrosion protection, acid neutralization, viscosity maintenance, detergency and dispersancy properties. Additives help modern motor oils meet the increasing demands of today's high-tech engines. Their quality varies widely throughout the lubrication industry, ranging from a bare minimum with some oils (to comply with certain requirements) to exceptionally high quality, as with "The First in Synthetics"® synthetic motor oils.
What a Motor Oil Must Do
Modern motor oil is a highly specialized product carefully developed by engineers and chemists to perform many essential functions.
A motor oil must:
- Lubricate engine parts and prevent wear
- Reduce friction
- Protect against corrosion
- Keep engine parts clean
- Minimize combustion chamber deposits
- Cool engine parts
- Seal combustion pressures
- Resist foaming
- Aid fuel economy
- Permit easy starting
Improvements in Oil
Motor oil quality has changed dramatically in the past 30 years, and new demands on lubricants in modern engine designs call for oils that meet stringent requirements. Variations in an oil's ability to meet the requirements determine which service classification rating and viscosity grade it receives.
Service classifications are determined by the American Petroleum Institute (API), while oil viscosity grades are determined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). These two organizations have set industry standards for motor oils for more than 75 years.
Viscosity refers to the oil's resistance to flow and is the most important property of an oil. The viscosity of oil varies with changes in temperature – thinner when hot, thicker when cold. An oil must flow at cold temperatures to lubricate internal moving parts upon starting the engine, but it must also remain viscous or "thick" enough to protect the engine at high operating temperatures. When an oil is used at a variety of temperatures, as it is in most engines, the change in viscosity should be as minimal as possible.
The measure of an oil's viscosity change is called the Viscosity Index (VI) number; the higher the number, the smaller the viscosity change and the better the oil protects the engine. The number does not indicate the actual viscosity of the oil in high- and-low temperature extremes; it represents the rate of viscosity change with temperature change.
Viscosity improvers are viscous chemical compounds called polymers or polymeric compounds that decrease the rate at which oils change viscosity with temperature. Viscosity improvers extend a motor oil's operating temperature range and allow the manufacture of multi-grade or all-season oils. Low-quality viscosity improvers, however, lend themselves to shearing.
Synthetic-based motor oils have a naturally high viscosity index and require less viscosity improver additive than petroleum oils.
Motor oil must begin to circulate as soon as the engine is started. If oil gets cold enough and begins to solidify, it fails to flow through the oil screen to the pump at engine startup, causing bearings and other critical parts to fail almost immediately. Pour point is the lowest temperature at which an oil will flow, providing an indicator of its ability to flow at cold operating temperatures.
Although modern refining techniques remove most of the wax from petroleum oil, some wax-like molecules remain. These wax-like molecules are soluble at ambient temperatures above freezing, but crystallize into a honeycomb-like structure at lower temperatures and cause oil circulation problems. Pour point depressants keep wax crystals microscopically small and prevent them from joining together to form the honeycomb-like structure. Found in most motor oils designed for cold-weather use, they lower the temperature at which oil will pour or flow.
Anti-wear additives bond to metal surfaces and form a protective film layer between the moving parts that are vulnerable to friction and wear when the engine is first started. While this protective film doesn't entirely eliminate metal-to-metal contact, it minimizes the effects.
Oxidation inhibitors limit the impact of oxidation. Oil oxidation produces acidic gases and sludge in the crankcase, and when combined with water, leads to corrosion.
An oil's ability to neutralize acids is expressed by its Total Base Number (TBN). The greater the number, the greater the amount of acidic by-products the oil can neutralize. A high TBN is particularly important in extended-drain-interval oils, such as "The First in Synthetics"® synthetic motor oils, because it neutralizes increased levels of acids for a longer period of time.
Combustion causes carbon build-up and deposit formation on the pistons, rings, valves and cylinder walls, negatively affecting engine temperature and performance, oil circulation and fuel efficiency. Detergent additives clean these by-products from the oil. Some combustion by-products slip past the piston rings and into the motor oil, which can clog the engine's oil channels.
While detergents help minimize the amount of combustion by-products, dispersant additives keep those by-products suspended in the oil, helping prevent build-up of carbon and deposits. Larger suspended particles are removed by the oil filter.
When tiny air bubbles are whipped into motor oil by the action of the many rapidly moving parts, it results in a mass of oily froth that has very little ability to lubricate or cool the engine. Anti-foam additives weaken the air bubbles, causing them to collapse almost immediately upon forming and allowing the oil to continue protecting the engine.
Motor oil must be compatible with the various seal materials used in engines. It must not cause seals to shrink, crack, degrade or dissolve. Ideally, oils should cause seals to expand or "swell" slightly to ensure continued proper sealing.
Another function of motor oil is engine cooling. The radiator/antifreeze system is responsible for cooling about 60 percent of the engine, covering only the upper portion, including the cylinder heads, cylinder walls and valves.
The other 40 percent is cooled by the oil, which is directed onto hot surfaces in the lower portion of the engine, including the crankshaft, main and connecting rod bearings, the camshaft and its bearings, the timing gears, the pistons and many other components.
Engine heat is created from friction of moving parts and fuel ignition inside the cylinder. Oil carries heat away from these hot surfaces as it flows downward and dissipates the heat to the surrounding air when it reaches the crankcase.
Lubricating an engine requires a very small amount of motor oil compared to the amount needed to ensure proper cooling of these internal parts.
Oil is classified by two systems. The SAE grade determines the oil's viscosity, while the API class determines its performance level and appropriate applications.
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) developed 11 distinct single-grade motor oil viscosity classifications or grades: SAE 0W, SAE 5W, SAE 10W, SAE 15W, SAE 20W, SAE 25W, SAE 20, SAE 30, SAE 40, SAE 50 and SAE 60.
These viscosity grades designate the specific ranges into which the particular oil falls. The “W” indicates it is suitable for use in cold temperatures. (Think of the “W” as meaning “Winter.”) The classifications increase numerically; the lower the number, the lower the temperature at which the oil can be used for safe and effective engine protection. Higher numbers reflect better protection for high-heat and high-load situations.
Single-grade oils have a limited range of protection and, therefore, a limited number of uses. With today’s well-refined, high-viscosity-index oils, however, an SAE 20 oil will usually meet the viscosity requirements of SAE 20W and vice versa. Those that do are classified SAE 20W-20.
This multi-grade or multi-viscosity ability increases an oil’s usefulness because it meets the requirements of two or more classifications.
Examples of multi-viscosity oils are SAE 5W-20, SAE 5W-30, SAE 10W-30, SAE 15W-40 and SAE 20W-50. The number with the “W” designates the oil’s properties at low temperatures, while the second number characterizes its properties at high temperatures. For instance, a multi-viscosity 10W-30 oil meets the 10W criteria when cold and the 30 criteria once hot. SAE 10W-30 and SAE 5W-30 are widely used because under all but extremely hot or cold conditions, they are light enough for easy engine cranking at low temperatures and heavy enough to protect at high temperatures.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) developed a classification system to identify oils formulated to meet the different operating requirements of gasoline and diesel engines. The API system has two general categories: S-series and C-series.
S-series service classification emphasizes oil properties critical to gasoline- or propane-fueled engines. When an oil passes a series of tests in specific engines (API Sequence tests), it can be sold bearing the applicable API service classification. The classifications progress alphabetically as the level of lubricant performance increases. Each classification replaces those before it. Oils meeting the latest API classification, API SN, may be used in any engine, unless the engine manufacturer specifies a "non-detergent" oil.
SA and SB are non-detergent oils and are not recommended for use unless specified.
The API SN category is the most recent classification, replacing those before it. SN oils are designed to provide improved oxidation resistance, deposit protection, fuel economy and emission system performance over the life of the oil.
SL, SM and SN are the currently recognized API classes; previous classifications are obsolete.
C-series classifications pertain to diesel engines; they include CA, CB, CC, CD, CD-II, CE, CF, CF-2, CF-4, CG-4, CH-4, CI-4, CI-4 PLUS and CJ-4. The currently recognized classes are CH-4, CI-4, CI-4 PLUS and CJ-4.
Not all C-series classifications supersede one another.
These classification systems aim to help motorists choose the right oil for their applications. The choice depends on the engine, the outdoor temperature and the type of driving the engine must withstand.
How does motor oil become contaminated?
Motor oil deteriorates and becomes unfit for service due to accumulation of contaminants in the oil and chemical changes (additive depletion and oxidation) in the oil itself.
Dust and Dirt
The design limitations of air cleaners, some oil fill caps and crankcase ventilation systems allow a certain level of dust and dirt into the engine, while leaks in the intake system can permit unfiltered air to enter the engine. Proper maintenance of the engine and its accessories can minimize the amount of contaminants entering the lubrication system and extend engine life.
Normal wear of engine parts produces very small metal particles that are picked up and circulated by the oil. Particles of road dust and dirt increase wear rates and generate larger, even more abrasive metal particles that are circulated through the engine by the oil. While oil filters help keep these particles at a minimum, they can’t remove them entirely.
Combustion produces water vapor, or steam. When engine temperatures are high, most of the water remains in vapor form and exits through the exhaust. However, when engine temperatures are low, such as at start-up, warm-up and during short-trip operation in low ambient temperatures, the water vapor condenses (turns into a liquid) on cylinder walls and enters the crankcase oil, where it leads to sludge and corrosion.
The combustion process produces acidic gases which, like water vapor, condense on cylinder walls at cold engine temperatures and find their way into the crankcase oil. The gases combine with water to cause corrosion.
Soot and Carbon
Incomplete combustion produces soot, carbon and other deposit-forming materials. An engine running too "rich," or with too much fuel, increases contaminant levels. Lightload, low-speed gasoline engine operation and high-load, low-speed diesel engine operation increase levels of these combustion by-products.
When an engine is started or running abnormally, some unburned fuel is deposited on cylinder walls, leaking past the rings and into the crankcase, where it reduces oil viscosity. Fuel dilution decreases oil film strength and increases oil consumption. Although this is only a minor problem when engine operation is at high-speed or high-temperatures, it can be a significant problem in vehicles consistently used for short-trips.
What causes engine wear?
Automotive experts agree dirt is the number-one cause of engine wear. In fact, analysis by Federal-Mogul Corporation reveals that 43.4 percent of all engine bearing distress is caused by dirt.
Dirt particles are extremely abrasive, consisting of razor-like flakes of road dust and airborne grit drawn into the engine through the intake manifold. Along with residual manufacturing dust and wear-metal particles generated inside the engine, these contaminants are carried by the oil into the precision clearances between bearings and other moving parts, where they grind and gouge surfaces, alter clearances and generate more abrasive debris. As this wear cycle continues, precision components become sloppy and fatigued until they fail altogether.
Filtration is the key to preventing costly engine repairs caused by dirt, removing contaminants by trapping and holding them outside the system of oil circulation. Truly effective filters must capture contaminants of all types and sizes. "The First in Synthetics"® offers a complete line of sophisticated filtration products designed to offer the best protection available against virtually all harmful engine contaminants.
How do you stop engine wear?
An engine "breathes" air to mix with fuel for combustion – about 9,000 gallons of air for every gallon of gas. The air within one cubic mile over a typical city contains more than 400 tons of suspended dirt, and the concentration is much higher in rural areas where travel frequently takes place over unpaved roads.
The air filter is the engine's first line of defense against abrasive airborne grit. It must effectively filter the dangerous particles without obstructing the vital flow of air that sustains the engine.
Conventional air filters quickly become obstructed with dirt, reducing vital engine air intake and leading to poor engine performance and low fuel efficiency. They require frequent replacement.
Full-flow oil filters install directly into the line of oil circulation; the oil passes through the filter as it travels between the oil pump and the engine. A full-flow oil filter must remove and hold contaminants without obstructing oil flow to the engine.
Because they use a thin layer of porous filter paper, most oil filters on the market compromise the filtration of finer materials. Such filters have almost no extended cleaning ability because they have a low capacity for storing dirt.
These "surface-type" paper filters quickly become restricted as debris builds up on the paper surface, forcing the filter bypass valve to open and allow unfiltered oil into the engine.
By-Pass Oil Filtration
Because oil must be filtered quickly while removing most of the particles, the average full-flow filter can only trap particles as small as 20 microns.
By-pass oil filtration uses a secondary filter with the purpose of eliminating nearly all contaminants in engine oil. By-pass filters have high capacities and eliminate much smaller particles than full-flow filters, including those in the two to 20 micron range, soot and sludge.
By-pass filters operate by filtering oil on a "partial-flow" basis. They draw approximately 10 percent of the oil pump's capacity at any one time and trap the extremely small, wear-causing contaminants that full-flow filters can't remove. The continual process eventually makes all the oil analytically clean, reducing long-term wear and helping extend oil life.
Wasted maintenance material, motion and time, drastically affect the bottom line profitability.
In Maintenance, LESS means MORE
LESS Effort means MORE Productivity
LESS Complicated means MORE Confidence
LESS Waste means MORE Profit / REDUCED Expenses
A Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) program can eliminate waste associated with outdated procedures, overstocked and redundant inventory, as well as wasted labor, time and transportation. Improve the efficiency of the system undergoing maintenance, and all other products or processes that interact with that system. Developing an effective RCM program will optimize the maintainability of the system allowing you to anticipate the times when the system is down for maintenance, and scheduling other activities or processes accordingly. By sharing information about fleet vehicle and industrial equipment maintenance pollution prevention (P2), businesses can become more competitive, business and government can realize cost savings, and environmental quality can be enhanced.
REDUCE Equipment Down or Out of Service Time
REDUCE Lubricant Inventory Requirements
ELIMINATE Premature Equipment Failures
REDUCE Energy and Fuel Consumption
REDUCE Hazardous Waste Lubricants
STREAMLINE Maintenance Protocols
REDUCE Waste Disposal Expenses
MAXIMIZE Equipment Service Life
REDUCE Man Hour Requirements
EXTEND Lubricant Drain Intervals
REDUCE Capital Expenditures
The Best Manufacturing Practices Center of Excellence was formed through a partnership between The Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Department of Commerces Bureau of Export Administration, and The University of Marylands Engineering Research Center. The BMP Program is a unique industry and government cooperative technology transfer effort that improves the global competitiveness of the U.S. industrial base. The primary objective toward this goal is simple: to identify and validate best practices, document them, and then encourage industry, government, and academia to share information about them. By fostering the sharing of best practices, BMP has become a national resource in helping organizations benchmark with the best, learn from others attempts, and avoid costly and time-consuming duplication.
U.S. Military and Government Cooperative Technology Transfer Information
Can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, 'I served in the United States Navy'."
Chief... MMC (SW) Retired 1991