Skip to main content

A closer Look At Engine Sludge

Preventing Causes of Engine Oil SLUDGE

Brands matter, quality matters and frequent oil changes will not alter this. It’s all based on the additive quality and it does effect the price.

Engine sludge occurs when oxidized oil and contaminants build up on engine surfaces. It can restrict the flow of oil to the point of engine failure and costly repairs.

As the oil installed in your vehicle ages, oxygen reacts with the lubricant, resulting in a permanent chemical change. The oil picks up oxygen and becomes thicker. Just like oxygen attacks metal surfaces and causes corrosion, it negatively affects lubricants and reduces their ability to lubricate, cool and protect components. Excessive heat speeds the oxidation process. In fact, every 18°F (10°C) increase in temperature doubles the rate of oxidation.

Adding to the challenge, contaminants begin to form during normal operation. In engines, hot combustion gases can blow by the piston rings and contaminate engine oil. Glycol from engine coolant, water that forms with temperature fluctuations and fuel are other common contaminants that affect lubricants. Left unchecked, contaminants accelerate chemical reactions, which overload the lubricant and cause the formation of sludge – a gelatinous substance that wreaks havoc in engines.

Sludge can block the oil passages and oil-pump pick-up screen, resulting in oil starvation. Often, the negative effects are cumulative rather than sudden. Many engines with variable valve timing (VVT) use oil pressure-operated mechanical devices to change valve timing, duration and lift. Sludge can plug the solenoid screen or oil gallies and impact the operation of VVT mechanisms, eventually leading to a costly repair bill. Sludge reduces efficiency and increases time and money spent on maintenance.

Signature Series vs. Sludge

Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil was subjected to the Sequence VG test to measure its ability to prevent sludge. As expected, Signature Series produced an oil pick-up tube screen virtually free from sludge (see image below). Our unique combination of detergents and high-quality base oils control oxidation and sludge to keep engines clean and efficient.

AMSOIL synthetic lubricants not only resist oxidation and sludge formation, they can help clean existing deposits in neglected engines due to superior detergency. With modern engines and equipment demanding higher-quality lubricants, it’s good to know AMSOIL synthetic lubricants are formulated to protect against sludge in the toughest operating conditions.

Sludge: a gelatinous substance that wreaks havoc in engines.

 

 

 

 

Signature Series has 50 percent more
detergents¹ to help keep oil passages clean and promote oil circulation. It provides 90% better protection against sludge².

 

 

Synthetic Warehouse note:

We own an ecoboost engine (on our Ford van) so based on our personal experience the Signature Series is the only choice in these engines. They run extremely hot effecting the process mentioned above. Test the oil you are using now at or near Ford’s maximum interval and I’m certain it’s beyond it’s life!! TBN and Oxidation levels can be at dangerous levels.  Signature Series gives you that extra benefit of the doubt because when the detergents dissipate you can start to have severe wear from corrosion and of course needless deposits from sludge AND increased oil consumption. We eliminated 75% of a resent F150 Ecoboost V6 oil consumption problem using the Engine Flush (FLSH) and the Signature Series 5W-30 (ASL).

It’s not just about keeping your car or truck longer. It’s the issues our competition causes such as carbon coating your intake valves which is an issue on modern gasoline direct injection engines.  It’s very costly to clean these as there is no-longer the gasoline we enjoyed as the cleaning agent. Fuel is shot directly into the quench area so oil vapors land on valves and build up over time.
Some newer cars do have an additional injector in the throttle body for start-up and cleaning but this will not be the common setup.

So AMSOIL Signature series will keep these areas cleaner as that’s part of what you are paying for. AMSOIL’s lowest volatility is by far worth paying for. And in some cases you pay less for our product than several of the “so called synthetics”.

Make our Sioux Falls locations your only source for lubricants! Many have made the switch for good. We’re at 47073 98th St just behind Marlins Diner. Exit 73 on I29. Or call to make sure I’m there at 605-274-2580.

 

Want the Best Diesel Oils for Your Vehicle?

Confused About Diesel Oil? We’ll help you

Your diesel truck is a serious investment – don’t skimp on protection. AMSOIL manufactures the best diesel oils on the market, providing the ultimate protection for your hard-working diesel engine, preserving the horsepower you crave and keeping you on the road.

We engineer our synthetic diesel oils with the same passion and pride you put into your turbodiesel, providing protection you can depend on in the most severe operating conditions.

Do you want extra engine protection?

Excessive wear to diesel cylinder liners and rings leads to increased oil consumption and loss of compression, reducing horsepower and fuel economy.

AMSOIL delivers rock-solid wear protection you can rely on.

Do you tow or haul?

Operating at up to 150,000 rpm in temperatures that exceed 1,000°F (538ºC), a turbocharger on a stock engine can dish out a lot of punishment to your oil.

If it’s not formulated to take the beating, the oil can break down, creating deposits and wear.

For some, stock engines don’t provide enough power, but dropping a tune on your engine puts even more stress on both your turbo and your oil.

Here again, AMSOIL delivers.

When you push the Turbo in your diesel, we'll provide the extra protection.

Do you store your vehicles and equipment?

Intermittent use, prolonged storage, humidity and short drives can lead to the development of rust and corrosion, causing major damage to diesel engines.

Come of the better known diesel oils offer little rust protection if any.

Do you drive in hot temperatures?

AMSOIL synthetic diesel oils resist thermal (heat) breakdown better than conventional and competing synthetic diesel oils, effectively retaining their protective viscosities for added engine protection in extreme temperature conditions.

Check out the entire AMSOIL diesel Oil line

Do you drive in cold temperatures?

Unlike conventional oils, AMSOIL synthetic diesel oils contain no wax, staying fluid in sub-zero temperatures for easier starting, improved oil flow and reduced wear.

Signature Series 0W-40 has a broad viscosity range that offers 4X better cold-cranking ability than a 15W-40. Use the 0W-40 year round here in Sioux Falls  – no problem!

Find out how to keep diesel fuel from gelling in the cold.

Do you own a high-mileage vehicle?

AMSOIL synthetic diesel oils provide low rates of volatility (burn-off), reducing oil consumption during operation and passing less oil vapor into the combustion chamber.For example the Signature Series in 2017 and earlier Duramax engines per customer feedback yield a significant reduction in regens! The savings in fuel and agony is worth that alone.

Reduced oil consumption is especially important for the performance of your exhaust system.

lower oil consumption saves you in future diesel downtime and loss of fuel economy.
A top seller in the Sioux Falls 98th St Store.

 

Why Buy Signature Series? Nothing Comes Close

Why Buy Signature Series?

There are many big names out there. A lot of new start-ups claiming to be the Holy Grail in engine oil. But in short, AMSOIL remains on top for one reason – the founder AJ Amatuzio wanted to provide a product where the customer can be certain he (or she) is getting what is expected.  Nothing is scaled down to improve profit margins. (There are no share holders) Simply the best and that process involves earning the highest respect from suppliers for the privilege of developing the finest finished lubricants.

Setting Standards For You to Measure From

Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil is not only the best oil we have ever made, it’s better than any competitive oil we have tested. Advanced engine technology and the normal demands of everyday life generate extreme conditions that can challenge motor oil and engine life. Signature Series delivers the ultimate protection against everyday extremes like towing and extended idling. Don’t just take our word for it; read on for proof.

Do you drive in hot temperatures?

In testing, kept pistons clean and held oil thickening to only 6 percent, a minimal amount compared to the proposed specification limit of 150 percent4. 50 percent more detergents5 to help keep oil passages clean and promote oil circulation. Provides 90 percent better protection against sludge6.

Do you have long commutes?

30 percent more acid-neutralizing power8 than Mobil 1*, and 36 percent more than Royal Purple*, helping engines stay cleaner, longer. Reserve protection, so you can go up to 25,000 miles, 700 hours of operation or one year between oil changes, whichever comes first.

Does your vehicle have a turbocharger?

72 percent better turbocharger protection than required2 by the GM dexos1® Gen 2 specification. Achieved 100 percent protection against low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI)3.

Do you tow or haul?

75 percent more engine protection against horsepower loss and wear7.

Do you drive in cold temperatures?

66 percent better cold-temperature performance for easier starting, better fuel economy, improved oil flow and reduced wear.

Do you want extra engine protection?

Far superior wear protection compared to the competition – kept bearings looking like new after 100,000-mile test1.


1Testing conducted in an independent lab using AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil and a leading synthetic-blend 5W-30 motor oil in Ford F-150 trucks with 3.5L twin-turbo engines. 2Based on independent testing of AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 in the GM turbo coking test. 3Based on zero LSPI events in five consecutive tests of AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 Motor Oil in the LSPI engine test required by the GM dexos1 Gen 2 specification.  4Based on the ILSAC GF-5 PLUS specification. 5vs. AMSOIL OE Motor Oil 6Based on independent testing of AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 in the ASTM D6593 engine test for oil screen plugging as required by the API SN specification. 7Based on independent testing of AMSOIL Signature Series 0W-20, in ASTM D6891 as required by the API SN specification. 8Based upon independent testing of Mobil 1 Annual Protection Full Synthetic 5W-30, Royal Purple High Performance 5W-30 and AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 in ASTM D2896. Oils purchased 05/03/18. *All trademarked names 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.

What Motor Oil is Best for Winter? (And Other Cold-Weather Questions)

The Best Winter Motor and Transmission Oil Choice

Synthetic oil is best for winter.

We’re done here.

If only it were that simple. But most people want empirical data to support such claims.

Well, take a look at the video. We cooled a conventional 5W-30 motor oil and AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil to -40º. As you can see, the conventional oil thickened so much that it barely flowed from the beaker. The AMSOIL product, on the other hand, flows almost immediately.

Buy AMSOIL Signature Series

Why the dramatic performance difference? In answering that question, I’ll also answer the question hoss61761 poses on social media:

Conventional oils contain waxes that solidify when the temperature drops. This severely impairs the oil’s ability to flow when you crank your engine. In some cases, the oil can thicken so much that it prevents the crankshaft from spinning fast enough to start the engine.

Prior to using AMSOIL, I had a Cutlass Ciera that was notorious for refusing to start on our cold Minnesota mornings. The dirt-cheap big-box-retailer oil I used back then thickened so much the engine would barely turn over.

Why synthetics flow better in winter weather

Synthetics, in contrast, don’t contain waxes due to the chemical-reaction process used to construct synthetic base oils. As a result, synthetics demonstrate far better cold-flow properties than conventional oil. Not only will your vehicle start more easily (I’ve yet to have one of my vehicles using AMSOIL fail to start, even with temps pushing -30ºF), the oil will flow more quickly, ensuring oil reaches vital components faster. This, in turn, maximizes wear protection, helping your engine last longer.

Check the oil’s pour point

If you want more data to prove synthetics’ cold-weather superiority, check the oil’s Product Data Sheet. Look for the oil’s pour point. Lower numbers indicate better cold-flow, thus better cold-weather performance.

In the example here, you can see that AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30, the same oil shown in the video above, has a pour point of -58ºF (-50ºC).

What is cold?

Not to get existential here, but it’s a relevant question. Folks in the south whose idea of winter is putting shoes on for a couple weeks in January may think they’re off the hook. Do they need to waste mental energy on motor oil cold-flow properties?

Good cold-flow is important to Southerners, too. Here’s why.

Engineers agree that most engine wear occurs during cold starts. There are several reasons, but two concern us for this discussion:

  • Gravity causes much of the oil to fall back into the oil sump, leaving components unprotected
  • Cold oil doesn’t flow immediately at startup, temporarily starving the engine of oil

While true that oil thickens more in sub-zero winter weather and causes increased starting difficulty, an engine is considered “cold” after it’s sat long enough to cool to ambient temperature, typically overnight.

The oil inside your engine cools as it sits overnight. As it cools, its viscosity increases (it thickens). When it’s time to start your vehicle in the morning, the thicker oil doesn’t flow through the engine as readily as it does when it’s at operating temperature. It’s during this time that vital engine parts can operate without lubrication, increasing wear. So, even in warm climates, cold-start wear is a problem. Southerners are well-advised to use a good synthetic oil with excellent cold-flow properties, too.

Thick or thin oil in winter?

Motorists sometimes ask if they should use thicker or thinner oil in the winter. Fortunately for them, we wrote a whole post on that topic. Check it out here.

Should I Switch to a Lighter Viscosity Oil in Winter?

To summarize, use the lowest viscosity oil your vehicle manufacturer recommends in the winter. Most automakers recommend a lone viscosity year-round. But some allow you to switch to a lower viscosity in winter, which helps improve cold-flow.

If your owner’s manual says you can switch to a lower viscosity oil in winter, go for it.

Shift to better winter protection

While I have you here, I should talk about transmission fluid, too. Like motor oil, it thickens in cold weather. The cold, thick fluid doesn’t flow readily through the intricate network of passageways in the transmission valve body or through the small solenoid openings. What does that mean to you?

  • Delayed shifts
  • Elongated shifts
  • Hard/harsh shifts
  • Reduced wear protection

Cold, thick transmission fluid doesn’t flow readily through narrow valve-body passages, leading to poor shift quality.

Again, I’ll go to the well of personal experience. After buying a Honda CR-V several years ago, I switched to AMSOIL synthetic motor oil…but I neglected to change the transmission fluid. Fast-forward to winter and one of our trademark -20ºF mornings with a wind chill pushing past -40º. The Honda started, but she shifted slowly and with much wailing and gnashing of teeth. The entire vehicle shuddered as it reluctantly found second gear heading down the road.

Switching to synthetic transmission fluid solved the problem. The fluid flows much more readily in the cold, which translates into smoother shifts. It also means the gears and bearing are receiving vital lubrication, too. Anyone who’s shelled out thousands of dollars for a tranny replacement knows how important that is.

Buy AMSOIL Signature Series ATF

Bottom Line: Synthetic motor oil and drivetrain lubricants perform better in the cold than conventional oils. They flow better for easier starts, smoother shifts and better protection against wear. Upgrade to synthetics to maximize cold-weather protection and performance.

Find AMSOIL Products for My Vehicle

Signature Series: The Measure Of Performance

SIGNATURE SERIES: Brand comparison Testing – Viscosity

In the NOACK Volatility Test, Signature Series scored far below the API limit for evaporation and proved it remains where it’s needed most – protecting your engine.

Nearly 35 years ago AMSOIL became the first oil manufacturer in the United States to use the NOACK Volatility Test as a measure of motor oil excellence. Today, it’s the industry standard. Originally developed and used in Europe, the NOACK test was not commonly used for lubricants until AMSOIL Founder Al Amatuzio pioneered its use for automotive motor oils in 1985. Previously, a lubricant’s flash point was the primary way to approximate its volatility.

Oil Volatility: Feeling the Burn

Modern engines generate more heat than their predecessors. At elevated temperatures, the oil’s lighter-weight molecules can volatilize, or burn-off. The more volatile a lubricant is, the lower the temperature at which the lubricant will begin to evaporate. The more it evaporates, the less oil is left to protect the engine, and frequent top-offs are required. You may have owned an automobile that mysteriously “used” motor oil.

Volatility affects more than the rate of oil consumption. When light elements in oil evaporate, the oil’s viscosity increases. This thicker oil forces the engine to work harder and can result in numerous problems:

  • Reduced performance
  • Reduced fuel economy
  • Poor cold-temperature starting
  • Increased engine deposits
  • Out-of-balance oil formulation, potentially leading to reduced protection

Signature Series Limits Oil Consumption

Signature Series has a uniform molecular structure that limits evaporation and keeps it where it’s needed most – protecting your engine. It limits the volatility (burnoff) that occurs when oil gets hot, protecting against the harmful effects of oil thickening, additive imbalance, higher emissions and oil consumption. A lower NOACK number indicates better resistance to evaporation. Signature Series falls far below the API limit for volatility, reducing the need for frequent oil top-offs and limiting vehicle emissions.

 

NOACK Volatility Test

In the NOACK test, an oil sample is weighed and heated to 250°C (482°F) for one hour. Dry air is passed over the sample, carrying the oil vapors that have boiled off and depositing them in a beaker. The original sample is removed and re-weighed. Any reduction in weight is reported as a percentage loss of the original weight.

Signature Series Fights Viscosity Breakdown

AMSOIL fights viscosity breakdown better than the competition, providing superior protection of pistons, cams and bearings.

Signature Series Neutralizes Acids

AMSOIL Signature Series is fortified with a heavy treatment of detergent additive and it delivers 30% more acid neutralizing power than Mobil 1, and 36% more than Royal Purple, helping engines to stay cleaner, Longer. Also due to requests AMSOIL is comparing Schaeffer’s to these comparison tests.

WELL-BALANCED PROTECTION

Signature Series’ well-balanced formula delivers exceptional protection in all areas of motor oil performance.

Signature Series Fights Wear

AMSOIL Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil provides 75 percent more engine protection against horsepower loss and wear than required by a leading industry standard, extending the life of vital components like pistons and cams. Based on independent testing in the ASTM D6891 test using 0W-20 as worst-case representation.

Signature Series Guards Turbos

Signature Series protects turbochargers 72% better than requiredC by the GM dexos1® Gen 2 specification. CBased on independent testing of AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 in the GM turbo coking test.

Signature Series Protects Against LSPI

AMSOIL synthetic motor oils achieved 100% protection against LSPI. Based on zero LSPI events in five consecutive tests of AMSOIL Signature Series, XL and OE 5W-30 Motor Oil in the LSPI engine test required by the GM dexos1 Gen 2 specification.

Signature Series Cleans

AMSOIL Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil has 50% more detergents to help keep oil passages clean and promote oil circulation. It provides 90% better protection against sludge. vs. AMSOIL OE Motor Oil Based on independent testing of AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 in the ASTM D6593 engine test for oil screen plugging as required by the API SN PLUS specification.

Sioux Falls customers can stop on in at Stan Houston’s Equipment company 2030 W 12th St.  for AMSOIL products locally. If you don’t see something please request it and we will get it stocked!