by Robert Sanborn on Fri, Mar 27, 2009, who was a member of the STLE Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers for 15 years.
Countless articles have been written about additives and how they do not work, but the major oil companies continue to prove their effectiveness constantly. Every time a new motor oil warranty specification is created it increases the additives and addresses the problems that the last specification didn’t take care of.
GF-4 Needs Improvement With More Additives
GF-5 the latest motor oil warranty specification that intends to come to market in 2010, is loaded with additional additives. The additive suppliers have found that the current GF-4 specification doesn’t fully address the following problem areas: greater sludge protection, which means more detergent/dispersants; more engine durability then what the current additives provide, which includes more anti-wear agents; rust protection, which means more TBN or similar additives to reduce corrosive wear due to high heat in modern engines; turbo chargers are still failing thus additional extreme pressure agents are needed to address this problem that has been going on for many years, and finally additional fuel economy, which equates to more friction modifiers. This adds up to a healthy increase in the use of additives. So much for all the people that write don’t use additives as it will cause upheaval to the fine chemical balance. With all of increase in additives this would certainly upset the balance as they call it.
Major Oil Companies Continue to Bring New Additives to Market
The public is generally unaware that it’s the additives that do the work not the mineral or synthetic base oil. Marketers spend millions telling the consumer not to use additives but the major oil companies continue to bring new additives to market for increased performance as due the many aftermarket additive companies. What’s most interesting is that when a new category is created it exposes the shortcomings of the previous specification. Additives are the life-blood of any engine oil or aftermarket treatment. Since additives cost a lot of money, they are not used fully to their potential by the oil companies’ as they only need to meet the specification at hand. Detergents alone cost as much as $40 per gallon so they are the ones cut the closest to meeting the specification but not going over, as they do not want to hurt profitability.
Additives Will Continue to Become Increasingly Popular
Will additives continue to be popular? With the new government regulations to further improve fuel economy and reduce tailpipe emissions, the Federal CAFÉ (U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy) Regulations requirements have set an average target of 35 miles per gallon for passenger cars sold by 2020, you can bet there will be a lot more use of additives in the future. So when someone tells you additives do not work, think again as you now know better.