Use the Right Oil; Keep Your Engine Clean

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In August the administration proposed rolling back the 2025 targets for higher fuel economy and lower emissions from cars and trucks. The action required a 50-day discussion period before implementation. What impact will this have on your oil change business if it occurs? Whether the 2025 MPG requirements were realistic or not, at the end of the day we need to take care of the customer. That means building trust, educating and suppling the right information for them to stay on the road longer.

By means of gasoline direct injection (GDI), turbochargers (TGDI), sensors, variable valve timing and other techniques, MPG has been continuously inching upwards and emissions lowered.

These engine modifications, however, have put tremendous pressure on the lubricants required to keep them running smoothly and breaking down. Because they run hotter and harder than conventional engines, they place more stress on the oil and engine components.

GDI fuel injectors are located inside the combustion chamber. By means of sensors and computers, automakers have achieved remarkable precision with regards to fuel-injection timing and air/fuel mix ratios. The result has been improved fuel economy. Side effects, however, include a measure of oil contamination when unburnt fuel slides past pistons into the sump. Other by-products of combustion include the buildup of deposits on intake valves, which can have adverse effects on fuel economy and performance. The severe deposits that form on the very hottest surfaces within the engine, such as those within the turbocharger bearing housing, can contribute to bearing failure. In addition, oxidation can produce sludge, which accumulates in filters, plugs oil passages and bakes into hard-to-remove carbon deposits that can lead to catastrophic engine failure. When sludge interferes with sensors that control performance, all the performance gains of these technical advances are lost.

Are you Protecting Your Customers' Investments?

The Right Oil

Not only have engines improved over time, motor oil quality has had to be constantly upgraded in order to perform as intended. This requires oil service pros to pay attention to API service classifications. Older oil may look, smell and feel the same as new oil, but it’s not. According to the Petroleum Quality Institute of America older oils can cause your customers’ engines serious harm. The current API service rating is SN. Oils before SJ are considered obsolete. They are not equipped with additive chemistries capable of managing today’s GDI and TGDI technology.

The right oil also means the right viscosity. Viscosity is a measure of the oil’s resistance to flow. Temperature changes will cause oil to thin when higher or thicken when lower. It’s important to match oil viscosity with the engine specifications. If your customer brings in an eight-year-old Honda Pilot requiring 5W-20 oil, don’t use 10W-30.

Proper Maintenance & Cleaning!

It cannot be stressed enough: engines need to be kept clean. Nearly every manufacturer has published a bulletin stating that the number one cause of variable valve timing system issues is small amounts of residue and sludge. In other words, cleanliness in the system is absolutely essential.

Many people feel that removing used oil and installing clean oil is all that is necessary. Here are four reminders regarding engine cleaning.

  1. Oil life monitors do not really monitor oil life. Rather, they rely on computer-based software algorithms that evaluate engine operating conditions. These algorithms may not detect all issues impacting motor oil service life.
  2. Motorists who extend oil change intervals frequently exceed OEM recommendations. As dirt, abrasives, deposits and other contaminants increase over time, the importance of oil system cleaning increases.
  3. Automakers recommend oil change intervals based on how vehicles are driven. SAE Paper 2003-01-1057 confirmed that a majority of car owners are unaware that what they consider normal service — stop and go traffic, short trips, etc. — is actually severe service. As a result, many are not following the maintenance regimens outlined in their owner’s manuals.
  4. One of the most important times to consider an oil system cleaning is when someone buys a used car without a maintenance history. Whereas the cost of an oil system cleaning is minimal, the cost of engine repairs is significant. Oil system cleaning helps establish a new service baseline while providing peace of mind for the owner.

The Bottom Line — Build Trust!

The bottom line, whatever happens with federal legislation, engine technology is going to remain complicated. However, keeping your customers vehicle maintained and operating efficiently is key! As we all know, people buy from people, and when they can trust you for supplying them the right information so they can make an educated decision, you win every time!

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