Performance Technologies for a Clean Planet

Archive for the ‘FAQ’s’ Category

How often should I change my oil?

Monday, June 25th, 2007

It is obvious that the oil should be changed before its contaminant level reaches the point where engine damage can result. It is difficult, if not impossible, for the individual motorist to determine when the contaminant level is too high. (more…)

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Fuel is better quality these days I heard additives are no longer needed. Is that true?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Simply put, fuel quality is at an all time low. See (

Six of the world’s top automakers, BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen and Audi recognize that the current EPA minimum detergent requirements do not go far enough to ensure optimal engine performance.

Since the minimum additive performance standards were first established by EPA in 1995, most gasoline marketers have actually reduced the concentration level of detergent additive in their gasoline by up to 50%. As a result, the ability of a vehicle to maintain stringent Tier 2 emission standards have been hampered, leading to engine deposits which can have a big impact on in-use emissions and driver satisfaction.

For a simple anwser, after market fuel additives are even more important than ever before. For a more detailed article on the subject of poor fuel quality and how it effects automobiles read the following article that was published in The Kansas City Star. (more…)

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What are anti foaming oil additives?

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

Generally, additives to be blended in lubricants are mostly polar compounds, which are surface active. Therefore, when they are added to lubricant base oils, foaming readily occurs.
Furthermore, when lubricants are oxidized and deteriorated during use, or as additives decompose, highly polar oxides may be formed. The increase in polarity makes the lubricants more surface active, increasing the tendency of foaming. (more…)

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Do oil additives void car warranties?

Monday, June 18th, 2007

The answer to that question is simply no.

No OEM can void a warranty due to use of a product. This is actually federal law the Magnuson/Moss Warranty Act. In this act it states that if a manufacturer requires the use of a certain product they must provide it free of charge as long as it’s on warranty. Unless a manufacturer has proof that an additive does not meet the specification of its product it cannot void the warranty. In terms of additives the cost for such testing to prove an additive is at fault is $1,500,000 for a diesel engine and about $500,000 for a gasoline engine. For this reason all of the manufacturers put out a statement through an industry legal opinion that states “the use of an additive will not, in and of itself, void your warranty.” (more…)

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In the owner’s manual, it says the oil additives are not recommanded. Why?

Monday, June 18th, 2007

OEM’s are finally recognizing the need for additives and making such recommendations in their Owner’s Manuals. For years OEM’s shunned additives as they didn’t want to have to test the myriad of additives on the market and more importantly they didn’t want their cars to last longer than engineered for. And that’s the real reason they told their buyers not to use additives. Now they have a dilemma, as the oil companies have relaxed their standards for gasoline after the EPA reduced standards with the onslaught of the Katrina Hurricane that hurt refiners. Newspapers around the U.S. have been stating that the oil companies and their refineries have cut the detergency in gasoline by 50%. With this major cut in detergents gasoline is showing up at the pump with poor quality. The OEM’s vehicles are running poorly in many states so now the OEM’s think its okay to use additives. (more…)

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Do Oil Additives Really Work

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

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

Tested Additives vs Marketing Companies

First, lets get one thing clear, it’s important to distinguish from oil additives developed by companies that have been 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 many on the market, which have no real testing, even though, they claim they do. This is where additives have gotten a bad name.

On the other hand there are a number of companies that sell additives that have extensive research and development teams that have tested their additive packages. For example, Lubrizol whose revenues were over 4 billion dollars for 2005 specializes in additive packages including aftermarket engine and fuel treatments. Anyone doing this kind of volume is not selling snake oil to millions of dumb consumers—just doesn’t happen. And they are only one of several that are very large. Others include Oronite, Ethyl, Infineum, Bardahl, Wynn’s, SFR, Power Up, STP, Slick 50. This is just a partial list of companies that have well documented additive products.

Motor Oil Contains Additives

In actuality additives are used in most all lubricants, because even the best synthetic base oils cannot protect vital parts alone, as it’s the additives that do all of the work. Let’s concentrate on the internal combustion engine in looking at the need for additives. According to the American Petroleum Institute the powerful watchdog for the oil companies, “The temperatures and types 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 must be capable of meeting the cooling requirements of the engine at high speeds, they may overcool the engine in short-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 needs to operate smoothly at cold temperatures, but this richness will result in 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 in combination with acidic gases, may cause valve lifters to rust and stick. It may also 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 some of the effects 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. As a result there little or no incomplete combustion to produce soot other residue. Under these conditions water compensation is not 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 is 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 only 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 is 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 is also found around the top piston ring where oil supply is limited, 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 as a result of using the wrong type or grade of lubricant for the operating conditions of the engine. Since motor oils do not contain extreme pressure agents this is an area that aftermarket additive manufacturers focus a lot 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 may 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 need for additives.

Additives to take care of the deposits and sludge, called detergent/dispersant additives, anti-oxidants to delay the effects 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.

Motor Oil Contains Additives, but are they Enough?

If additives are a necessity to reducing wear in an engine and are contained in motor oils, then that must be the end of the story right? Not quite. Few people know that the oil companies do not make the specifications for motor oil. They are required to make their motor oils to meet the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) specifications. Motor oil specifications are established by the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee, which consists of the Big Three domestic car manufacturers as well as the Japanese car manufacturers. ILSAC defines the performance characteristics and the chemistry of the oil it will accept for use in its engines; and then the American Petroleum Institute (API) makes sure the oil sold by marketers displaying that label meets the definition.

This isn’t an easy process as the OEM’s are not best of friends as competitors, thus they have driven the cost of this highly political process into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Yes, just to come up with a new specification. ILSAC comes up with a series of Sequence Tests that a motor oil must pass to receive certification. The public is not aware of the fact that, a motor oil formulation going through the process, can fail a Sequence test two times and not have to re-formulate. If the formulation fails three times on a single Sequence test then it must be re-formulated and start over. To control how many additive companies that can supply the complete packages to meet the 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 is assuming you pass on the first 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 highest standard available it’s the only one so it’s also the lowest standard. Regardless of how good your motor oil is there is only one standard, currently GF-4 for gasoline engines and CJ-4 for diesel engines. There is no incentive to improve beyond the lowest passing standard because it costs money 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 cut costs and maximize revenues. In summary, the oil companies make their motor oils to the OEM’s standards not theirs!

Why Don’t OEMs Recommend Oil Additives?

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

First, it seems fairly obviously why the OEM’s do not want to recommend oil additives as they have spent millions of dollars protecting their engineering. When I say protecting their engineering I mean using a fluid to insure that the engine, on average, lasts as long as they engineered it to last. They are in the business of selling cars and they know to be competitive it has to last a certain amount of time, but then they want you to purchase a new car. They do not want to have to test other additive products as they have spent money to develop their specification.

This does not mean that oil additives can’t be beneficial as a Sequence Wear Test was run by SFR Corporation with the leading selling motor oil in the United States—once without the additive and once with the leading motor oil and 5% SFR’s additive package SFR 100. The test was run by a large testing facility certified to conduct tests for motor oil warranty approval. The results 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 results were an outstanding 80-90% reduction in wear using the additive.

When OEM’s are developing their own specifications they are not going to say their specification needs help in performance by using an additive as it’s against their best interest. However, no OEM will state that the use of an additive in itself will void a warranty. The reason is that they must run the battery of tests which costs from $500,000 to 1, 500,000 per test. This doesn’t 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.

If Oil Additives are so Good Why Don’t the Oil Companies Make Them?

Why aren’t the oil companies involved in the additive market? Truth is they are the leaders in the development of aftermarket oil additives. Many of the additives used in the aftermarket industry are actually 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 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 and then there is Ethyl who is well known for its tetraethyl lead previously found in all gasoline. Shell has their 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 as the liability would be too great if the products would not perform. Chevron sells Techron today an aftermarket gasoline treatment, Valvoline has marketed aftermarket additives as well as others including the additive leader Lubrizol.

One must realize the following: The oil companies make products to meet the OEM’s requirements not theirs. You could call an oil company up right now and ask if oil could be made better and your response would be similar to this: We have over 150 chemists in this building alone and if motor oil could be made better, we would be the ones to do it. On the other hand we could call their additive division and say we want a heavy duty performing oil that would out perform the current specification and they could fax you a product with hundreds of thousands of dollars of testing documentation.

It all boils down to special interest groups protecting their special interests. The OEM’s and the major oil companies all protect their interests. It’s hard for an oil company not to defend their oil as the best there is, but in reality we know the specification was created by the OEM. This is the main 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 at the oil company. That person reinforces that their oil is the best and doesn’t need additional additives. Even the specialty motor oil marketers such as Amsoil support the notion that oil additives are not needed. They do not want competition from additive companies because in their mind all you need is their oil. Unfortunately, being a (MLM) multi-level marketing company, most all are part-time, thus more laymen in the business than any other oil marketing company. Their dealers go to great lengths supporting articles that additives do not work. What a paradox, because if additives do not work, than why is their motor oil better than anyone else’s. Doesn’t take much thought to figure that one out.

Mobil Admits to Using Additional Additives

To support the issue of additives all one has to do is look at Mobil’s new marketing campaign. They still claim their oil meets GF-4 or the new specification that API certifies, but they are now calling for extended drain intervals. And, if you read anything about Mobil’s 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 level 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 additives are what make aftermarket additive manufacturers their gains in performance. It’s 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 OEM’s engineer their products to last on average a certain amount of time and the oil companies make their products to meet the OEM’s needs. So if you want to find out about additives you wouldn’t ask the OEM’s 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 so that you can see the tremendous amount of data that is available from large substantial companies. 

They include:

Written by Robert H. Sanborn, who was a member of the STLE Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers for 15 years.

Posted in D-Sol Diese Fuel Conditioner All Season, D-SOL Diesel Engine Fortifier, D-Sol Diesel Fuel Conditioner Summer, FAQ's, Gaszol Gasoline Engine Fortifier, Gearzol Diffierential Oil Fortifier, H-Zol Hydraulic Oil Fortifier, ProTecta Engine Oil Booster, ProTecta Engine Treatment, ProTecta Fuel System Treatment, ProTecta Synthetic Transmission Treatment, SFR 100 | 19 Comments »

How Much SFR do I add to my engine if I have a by-pass filter?

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

I have a special by-pass filter that filters down to one micron and I am not going to change my oil until 500,000 miles on my truck.  I change my regular full flow filter at normal intervals and my truck uses 3-4 gallons of motor oil during this interval.  How much SFR should I use with the make up oil?  Kelly Lackey, Lamar, Missouri

Normally you would use 4-6 ounces per gallon of motor oil.  Thus you would put in 12-24 ounces per drain interval.  I would recommend the upper amount as not only does SFR have extreme pressure additives not found in motor oil, but it also contains more concentrated additive packages found in motor oil.  One should be careful going a large number of miles and not changing their oil.  Even though the by-pass filter will remove the vast majority of contaminants they do not account for additive depletion from the motor oil.  Adding 3-4 gallons does not provide enough additives to treat the entire 13 gallons of motor oil that is in your truck.  Additives do all of the work in a motor oil and get used up over time. 

Motor oils contain corrosion inhibitors to fight water and fuel dilution, anti-oxidants to fight the affects of oxygen from the atmosphere that shortens the life of the oil, dispersants and detergents to fight soot and other contaminants, de-foamers to protect against foaming that ruptures film strength, anti-wear agents such as lubricity and boundary additives that are used up by sliding metal surfaces rubbing against each other over time.  All additives get used up and adding make up oil to your engine is not enough for optimum protection. 

By adding SFR with its concentrated additives it will extend drain intervals but you should always use oil analysis because acids etc. can form that shorten the life of the motor oil depleting the additives ability to protect.  This is why at SFR we have always recommend using SFR with each oil change.  You should always beware of products that claim a one time treatment as not only is that dangerous there is no proof how long they will last.  If you are going to extend your drain interval use a good oil analysis program to monitor your results.

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When should I use a multi-functional diesel fuel conditioner like D-SOL?

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

Whenever the temperature is under 30 degrees Fahrenheit one should use a multi-functional fuel conditioner. This is not just for the anti-gel additives necessary to prevent filter plugging, but detergents necessary to combat the extra production of soot by your diesel engine in cold temperatures. Cold weather requires more than 5 times the amount of detergents and corrosion inhibitors as compared to warm weather operation. D-SOL contains a premium additive package for outstanding service as well as de-icers to prevent filter plugging.

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My diesel engine has a lot of miles on it and has not had any problems, so why do I need to consider a fuel conditioner?

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

With today’s mandate of ultra low sulfur diesel fuel by the EPA, it is necessary to use a lubricity additive as well as a heavy detergent. Injector designs are going to multiple port injection for better fuel atomization. With these smaller multiple ports injectors are found to be plugging more frequently than the old injectors. Also, the new fuel is so dry you really need a lubricity agent or you will experience pre-mature fuel pump failure. Fuel pumps are very expensive.

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Is synthetic D-SOL compatible with my heavy-duty petroleum diesel motor oil?

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

Yes, D-SOL is compatible with all petroleum motor oils. D-SOL will improve the pour point, oxidation stability, heat protection, and detergency of a petroleum motor oil.

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