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Why Motor Oil Deteriorates

Why Motor Oil Deteriorates

 

Like just about everything else, motor oil has a lifespan. Even the best oils eventually require you to change them. Historically, many motorists like the convenience of changing oil with the seasons, visiting the quick lube or pulling the ramps out of their garage each spring and fall.

Motor oil can deteriorate by becoming contaminated, the additives depleting over time or both.

How oil becomes contaminated

Base oils are the backbone of the finished lubricant that ends up in your engine. They can be conventional, synthetic or a combination thereof. They’re responsible for lubricating components, which reduces friction and protects against wear.

Base oils can lose their effectiveness over time due to a few different factors.

Oxidation – The interaction between oxygen molecules and motor oil molecules naturally leads to chemical breakdown. Just as oxygen causes a cut apple to brown or exposed metal to rust, it breaks down base oils and reduces motor oil’s effectiveness. Oxidation can lead to increased oil viscosity, which negatively affects energy efficiency. It also causes the formation of harmful deposits and sludge.

High heat – Today’s engines run hotter than ever before, with temperatures up to 235°F, and even higher if towing or hauling. The rate of oxidation for oil doubles for every 18°F increase in temperature.

Moisture – Your vehicle is also subjected to temperature swings, even when it is parked in the garage. Those temperature swings cause condensation to form inside your engine, leading to water contamination. Leaving a vehicle parked for extended periods or taking short trips that don’t allow the engine to fully warm up allow water to remain in the oil rather than evaporating and exiting through the tailpipe. Water can lead to formation of sludge.

Viscosity loss – A lubricant’s viscosity is its most important property. Viscosity has a direct bearing on wear protection, and your engine is designed to operate best using a motor oil of a specific viscosity (e.g. 5W-30). The intense pressure the oil bears as it’s squeezed between moving parts, like the piston ring/cylinder wall interface, can tear apart, or shear, its molecular structure, leading to viscosity loss. Suddenly, the 5W-30 motor oil your engine was designed to use is now essentially a 5W-20 oil, and wear protection may be compromised.

Fuel dilution – Fuel can wash past the piston rings and contaminate the motor oil, causing it to lose viscosity. Frequent short trips that don’t allow the oil to reach normal operating temperature can be especially problematic because the fuel won’t volatilize and exit through the PCV system. Excessive fuel dilution leads to sludge and varnish, requiring the oil to be changed more often.

Additive are designed to deplete

Additives are added to base oils to reduce destructive processes and enhance beneficial properties. For example, antioxidant additives help slow the rate of oxidation. Detergency additives help prevent deposits and sludge while cleaning pre-existing deposits. Anti-wear additives are added to some lubricants to form a sacrificial barrier on metal components and help prevent wear.

Since they’re sacrificial in nature, additive depletion is one of the primary reasons motor oil loses its effectiveness and must be changed.

Though all motor oils eventually deteriorate, synthetic oils last longer than conventional oils and deliver improved protection against wear and deposits. They’re formulated with base oils that are more resilient to oxidation and heat, while their additives also typically offer improved performance.

In fact, AMSOIL Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil performs so well you can go up to 25,000 miles/one year between oil changes (15,000 miles/one year in severe service) if you want, saving money.

New AMSOIL Brake Fluid and Brake & Parts

New AMSOIL Brake Fluid and Brake & Parts

Performance and Reliability

 

New DOT 3 & 4 Synthetic Brake Fluid (BFLV), DOMINATOR® DOT 4 Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid (BFR) and Brake & Parts Cleaner (BPC) help boost the performance, safety and reliability of brake systems.

AMSOIL DOT 3 & 4 Synthetic Brake Fluid, AMSOIL DOMINATOR DOT 4 Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid and AMSOIL Brake & Parts Cleaner will launch April 3. These new products are precisely tailored to the needs of auto enthusiasts and dedicated racers. DOT 3 & 4 Synthetic Brake Fluid meets the highest DOT standards (5.1) and is the perfect choice for high-performance passenger-car, light-truck and powersports applications. DOMINATOR DOT 4 Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid features the ultra-high boiling point required during extreme racing conditions. Brake & Parts Cleaner supplies auto enthusiasts and mechanics with a professional strength, dedicated brake and parts cleaner.

AMSOIL DOT 3 & 4 Synthetic Brake FLuid

  • Maximum ABS and traction-control performance: Low-viscosity, specially designed fluid provides improved cold-weather performance and excellent ABS and traction control responsiveness.
  • Firm brake pedal feel: Maintains low compressibility in severe operating conditions, resulting in consistent brake pedal feel.
  • Helps extend the life of essential components like calipers, wheel cylinders, seals, lines, master cylinders and ABS control valves.

AMSOIL DOMINATOR® DOT 4 Synthetic Brake Fluid

  • Provides vapor lock protection through high boiling points.
  • Resists brake fade common in racing applications for a confident brake feel all the way to the finish line.
  • Nitrogen blanket added to avoid moisture absorption and prevent contamination during manufacturing and storage, ensuring top-quality fluid upon purchase.

Recommendations

AMSOIL DOT 3 & 4 Synthetic Brake Fluid is engineered for use in passenger cars and light trucks. It is a DOT 5.1 product, exceeding the specifications of DOT 3 and DOT 4. Additionally, its 5.1 formula provides excellent protection against water contamination. Rather than offer multiple products, we created one formula that performs best in all three applications.

DOT 3 & 4 Synthetic Brake Fluid is also the primary recommendation for powersports applications. However, if a customer consistently pushes his or her brakes to the limit in racing (or similar applications), DOMINATOR DOT 4 Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid is recommended.

Refer to the owner’s manual regarding the proper change interval for your brake fluid and to determine the correct DOT classification. Change AMSOIL DOT 3 & 4 Synthetic Brake Fluid twice a year for maximum performance. Change AMSOIL DOMINATOR DOT 4 Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid once a year for maximum performance.

AMSOIL Brake & Parts Cleaner

New Brake & Parts Cleaner is a professional-strength product that quickly and effectively removes oil, grease, brake fluid and other contaminants from brake parts and other automotive components. It cleans brake parts with no major disassembly and leaves no residue, helping eliminate brake squeal and chatter.

  • Quickly removes grease and oil
  • Leaves no residue
  • Dries quickly
  • Chlorinated, non-flammable formula
  • VOC-free

Applications

  • Brake Parts
  • Brake Pads
  • Calipers
  • Drums and More

Brake & Parts Cleaner (BPC) vs. Heavy-Duty Degreaser (ADG)

Brake & Parts Cleaner and Heavy-Duty Degreaser are both excellent cleaning and degreasing products. If working with painted, plastic or rubber surfaces, we recommend choosing Heavy-Duty Degreaser.