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Most „electrified“ vehicles still use motor oil

Most „electrified“ vehicles still use motor oil

Most „electrified“ vehicles still use motor oil

The auto industry is changing, but not the Dealer opportunity.

Amsoil Tech Guru

Matt Erickson | DIRECTOR, TECHNICAL PRODUCT MANAGEMENT

Does do term „electrification“ make you fear for the future of the internal combustion engine and your Dealership?

As we explained in the April 2018 AMSOIL Magazine and again at the 45th Anniversary Convention last summer, it shouldn’t.

The truth about vehicle electrification is far different than some headlines lead you to believe. Let’s use Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)* as an example. FCA grabbed headlines last summer when it pledged $10,5 billion to electrifying its vehicle lineup, including Jeep* and RAM*. The story made news for a couple reasons. 1) Judging by the glut of headlines in my inbox, media outlets love any story about vehicle electrification and 2) FCA is considered a laggard on vehicle electrification compared to its competitors. Its announcement signals that even the holdouts have acknowledged that the future of the auto industry includes electrification.

Constantly seeing stories in your newsfeed about automakers pouring money into electrification can understandably make you nervous. Who’s going to buy the products you sell?

But you can relax. If there is one point you take from this column, make it this:

„Electric“ and „Electrified“are Vastly  Different

Notice that FCA (and other automakers) are moving toward electrification, which simply refers to vehicles that have an electric motor somewhere in the drivetrain. This includes several different hybrid vehicles, including the following:

  • Micro hybrid – Vehicles with stop-start technology, like the Ford* F-150*
  • Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) – The electric motor cannot propel the vehicle alone; it’s mainly used for engine start, regenerative braking and acceleration assist.
  • Full Hybrid Electric Vehicle (FHEV) – The electric motor alone can propel the vehicle, but has a limited range. See the Toyota* Prius*.
  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) – Same as a FHEV, but adds a second way of charging the battery. Uses an engine due to limited electric-motor range. See the Ford C-MAX Energi*.

All four of these hybrid vehicle types use an internal combustion engine and require motor oil.

Here’s where the confusion arises: the following electric vehicles are also included under the broad category of „electrified“ vehicles:

  • Range Extender Electric Vehicle (REEV) – A battery electric vehicle that includes an internal combustion engine-driven generator to charge the batteries. See the Chevy* Volt*.
  • Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) – Propelled only by battery-powered electric motors, like the Nissan* Leaf*.
  • Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) – Uses an electric motor, but stores energy in a hydrogen tank instead of batteries. See the Honda* Clarity*.

Although common sense suggests that a Nissan Leaf is drastically different than a pickup truck whose engine shuts off at stoplights, the auto industry says otherwise. So, when an automaker announces its plans to introduce electrified vehicles, many people falsely assume they’re referring only to electric vehicles that don’t use an internal combustion engine. Some media outlets contribute to the confusion by interchanging „electrified“ and “electric.” The fact is, however, the push toward electrification includes widespread use of drivetrain systems that still use a conventional engine. Take, for example, the 2019 RAM pickup with eTorque and a 48-volt mild hybrid system. The system replaces the engine’s alternator with a belt-driven motor/generator that contributes torque, smooths shifts and recovers energy, where it’s stored in a lithium-ion battery. This application of electrification increases fuel economy about 2-3 mpg for the 3,6L engine;  the 5,7L Hemi engine and its classic rumble still remain available.

Yes, electrification is here – and it will only grow in the ensuing years. But it’s not as scary as the headlines may have you believe. Most vehicles will still require motor oil and other lubricants. In fact, an estimated 92 percent of vehicles on the road worldwide in 2030 will still use an internal combustion engine. These new drivetrain technologies will present challenges to lubricants best addressed by high performance synthetics; the lubricant market is headed our way.

Why Steve Scheuring Chooses AMSOIL

Why Steve Scheuring Chooses AMSOIL

This Man is Living His Dream: Why Steve Scheuring Chooses AMSOIL

We all have dreams. Maybe it’s a trip across America on a Harley. Or the backcountry sledding trip of a lifetime. Maybe it’s climbing boulders and crossing ravines in a 1943 Willys Jeep. For Steve Scheuring, it was building a championship-winning Snocross team.

One day, 21 years ago, Scheuring decided to go for it. And he’s never looked back.

Today, Scheuring is a man living his dream.

It’s about racing and the community

Even though starting the team and giving up a nice paycheck was a gamble, Scheuring’s drive and determination ultimately paid off. His professional snocross and side-by-side riders regularly climb the podium at events around the country.

Scheuring believes in his people. His goal is not just to be the fastest (although that certainly helps), but to build a team in which his community can take pride. Every autumn, racers flock to his 23-acre industrial park in Aurora, Minn., where Scheuring maintains a practice track complete with multiple snow-making machines.

When he’s not racing, Scheuring chases wildfires for the U.S. Forest Service. It’s fair to say Scheuring runs on adrenaline.

AMSOIL and Scheuring: more than just logos

Scheuring’s relationship with AMSOIL goes beyond the AMSOIL logos on his semi or race vehicles.

AMSOIL has sponsored Scheuring Speed Sports since day one. Scheuring credits AMSOIL DOMINATOR® Synthetic 2-Stroke Racing Oil for saving his snowmobile following a coolant failure during a Snocross race.

In 2017, Lincoln Lemieux was 14 laps into the 20-lap race and going strong. Then he started slowing down and losing power. He pulled off the track and drove back to the trailer. The heat from Lemieux’s Ski-Doo RS600 engine was overwhelming. “There were parts of the engine that melted,” said Scheuring. “You could smell that antifreeze had gotten hot. Everything was just hot. That’s the best way I can describe it. Just hot.”

It turned out a $1 clamp had broken, separating the coolant lines and causing the engine coolant to pump from the system. The rubber O-rings that separate the cylinder from the head also melted, which caused the engine to lose compression and power. “There were a few other gaskets that actually melted inside the motor,” said Scheuring.

AMSOIL DOMINATOR Protects Scheuring’s Ski-Doo

In stock condition, Lemieux’s engine produces about 130 hp, but the team relies on piping, clutch, carburetion and other modifications to increase power by 20 percent. The modifications and lack of coolant exposed the engine to intense heat far beyond standard operating temperature.

“I believe 100 percent the reason that motor lived was because of the AMSOIL products.”“We go above and beyond the capabilities of these motors. If they fail they cost us money, they cost us time and they cost us races, and we can’t afford to lose any of those,” said Scheuring.

As Scheuring puts it, DOMINATOR Synthetic 2-Stroke Racing Oil saved his engine. “We’ve worked with AMSOIL the last 20 years developing two-stroke oils for our race sleds,” said Scheuring. “In my opinion, I believe 100 percent the reason that motor lived was because of the AMSOIL products.”

So, whether you’re riding the trails this weekend, or revving up the horsepower of your hobby car, we at AMSOIL love enabling you to pursue your passion.

Help! How Many Quarts of Oil Does My Car Use?

Help! How Many Quarts of Oil Does My Car Use?

How Much Oil Does My Car Need?

The answer seems simple: probably about five quarts.

But, if you drive a small car with a four cylinder engine, it’s likely closer to four quarts. However, the V-8 engine in your truck could require about seven quarts. My in-laws’ RAM diesel pickup takes 12 quarts of motor oil.

You can see how the answer isn’t so simple after all.

To find out precisely how much motor oil your car needs, do one of the following:

  1. Check the owner’s manual

Dig the owner’s manual out of your glovebox and look up the information in the index. Eventually you’ll find it.

  1. Check the AMSOIL Product Guide

You can skip the hassle and use our Product Guide instead. Just input your vehicle information and, below the motor oil recommendations, you’ll find motor oil capacity (circled below in red).

What if the oil level is too low?

It could be due to a couple issues, including insufficient oil added during the last oil change or oil consumption. There are several reasons for oil consumption (in fact, you can read about 40 of them here). But here are a couple of the more common.

Leaking seals or gaskets – your engine uses seals in various places to ensure oil stays inside the engine while contaminants stay out. A prime example is around the crankshaft where it sticks out of the engine and connects to the transmission. Gaskets seal the uneven metal surfaces between parts to ensure, in part, that oil stays inside the engine. The cylinder head gasket is a notable example.

If the seals and gaskets become worn, brittle or deformed over time, they can result in oil leaks. The engine oil level will drop, depending on the severity of the leak. If your engine leaks oil, visit a mechanic and have it fixed.

Volatility – engine oil can evaporate when exposed to heat. The less stable the oil, the more readily it evaporates. As the engine is running, a thin film of oil coats the cylinder wall and piston skirt. Given its proximity to the fiery cauldron inside the combustion chamber, the oil in this area of the engine can easily volatilize, or evaporate. The by-products can exit the tailpipe as emissions. But they can also form harmful carbon deposits inside the engine that reduce efficiency and eventually lead to engine failure.

Synthetic motor oil is more resistant to volatility than conventional oil, so use a good synthetic to reduce oil consumption due to volatility and help keep your engine clean.

What if the oil level is too high?

It’s likely due to operator error; someone simply added too much last time the oil was changed or topped-off.

Too much oil is a bad thing. The spinning crankshaft and churning engine parts whip air into the oil, which can cause foam. The tiny bubbles travel between moving parts, where they rupture. When they do, nothing is left to protect metal surfaces from wear. Foam also increases heat, which causes the oil to chemically breakdown sooner.

If the crankcase is overfull, drain the excess oil until reaching the correct level.

Increased oil level can also be due to fuel dilution. This is when fuel enters the crankcase and contaminates the oil. In severe cases, enough fuel can enter the crankcase to noticeably increase the oil level. This is bad. Very bad. Fuel dilution leads to sludge, varnish and engine wear.

Check out this post for more on fuel dilution.

The presence of coolant in the oil can also increase oil level. Again, this is bad. Anytime something that shouldn’t be in your motor oil is present, wear protection suffers. Coolant in the oil is likely due to a bad head gasket, which is a costly repair.

One last word of advice: check your oil at least monthly to ensure the proper level. Make sure the vehicle is parked on a level surface to get an accurate reading. Finding out the oil is too low or too high before something goes wrong can save you a ton of grief in the long run.

Don’t Let Extreme Heat Sideline Your Motorcycle

Dyno control

An Oil to Resist Thinning from Extreme Heat and Mechanical Activity

Extreme summer heat combined with slow-moving rally or parade traffic can pose big problems for you and your motorcycle.

As heat intensifies, motor oil loses viscosity and becomes thinner. The oil can become so thin that the engine loses oil pressure, causing the oil-pressure gauge to bottom out. You may hear increased valvetrain and gear noise as parts clatter together. A good rider knows not to ride with no oil pressure, so he or she will shut down the bike and sit alongside the highway (or push the bike) until the engine cools enough to restore oil pressure.

Decreased airflow stresses oil

Air-cooled V-twins get plenty hot on their own, but riding in slow moving traffic makes it worse. Crawling along barely above idle doesn’t generate enough airflow to cool the engine. Add to that the blazing sun reflecting off the asphalt, and it’s a recipe for trouble. In extreme dyno testing designed to create heat, we’ve seen cylinder temperatures in a 2012 Harley-Davidson* Street Bob* as high as 383°F (195°C).

It’s up to the motor oil to protect the engine despite the intense heat; however, oil becomes thinner as it heats up. If it becomes too thin, it can fail to form a lubricant film of enough thickness and strength to prevent metal components from contacting during engine operation and wearing out. Once the lubricant film fails, it falls on the anti-wear additives to prevent wear. They form a sacrificial layer on components to keep them from contacting. But additives are designed to deplete with time and use. Once they wear out, your engine isn’t protected in this scenario.

Heat breaks down oil faster

The rate at which oil oxidizes, or chemically breaks down, doubles for every 18°F (10°C) increase in lubricant temperature. Oxidation occurs when oxygen molecules attack oil molecules and result in a chemical reaction that leads to harmful byproducts, like sludge and varnish. The faster the oil oxidizes, the sooner it wears out and requires changing.

Ride Hard. Run Cool.®

AMSOIL Synthetic V-Twin Motorcycle Oil uses high-quality synthetic base oils that naturally resist thinning due to extreme heat and mechanical activity better than conventional base oils. As a result, it forms a thick, strong lubricating film on engine components despite the intense heat. Although any oil will become thinner in extreme heat, riders who use AMSOIL Synthetic V-Twin Motorcycle Oil won’t see their oil-pressure gauges bottom out, providing the confidence they need to keep riding after others have shut down their bikes and started pushing.

Find AMSOIL Products for My Bike

*All trademarked names and images are the property of their respective owners and may be registered marks in some countries. No affiliation or endorsement claim, express or implied, is made by their use. All products advertised here are developed by AMSOIL for use in the applications shown.

See How Rtech Fabrications Builds Trucks to do Truck Things

See How Rtech Fabrications Builds Trucks to do Truck Things

Rtech AMSOIL under the hood to ensure a solid-running build for years to come.

Around here we see all sorts of vehicles capable of turning heads, from showroom-shiny to rat-rod realism. No matter the project style, there’s a builder behind the scenes who carried the concept from start to finish while leaving his or her mark on the end result.

Trucks that do truck things

One such builder is Randall Robertson of Rtech Fabrications, who has been honing his craft since he was 17.

Robertson specializes in 1967-1972 GM trucks, and his motto is, “We Build Trucks to Do Truck Things.”

It’s a satisfying position to take when so much time, effort and passion are poured into each build. These builds are not only aesthetically pleasing, but capable of hauling, towing and working the way a good truck should. Keeping in line with his performance-minded process, he uses AMSOIL under the hood to ensure a solid-running build for years to come.

Shop AMSOIL products

Robertson’s talent has taken him from hobby to full-time status, and his work speaks for itself. His builds have won awards, landed magazine covers and features. He’s also secured real-estate in high-profile shows including SEMA.

We caught up with him for our 2019 Company of Enthusiasts campaign, where we learned how he came to be a dream-maker for those in search of a custom truck built to do truck things. Check out his story in the video below.