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Can Engine Oil Last 20,000 Miles

Date: 10/26/2017

Few things have raised as much curiosity about a car, as an oil change. How frequently does a car need an oil change? Is it just a big conspiracy being run by the oil companies? At the same time, there are synthetic oils that promises to last for an entire year or at least 20000 miles. What makes this oil so different from others? Can it really last for that long?

Motor oil is essentially a lubricant for the engine. It keeps all the moving parts of the engine running smoothly and cleans the engine of the sludge. Additionally, it acts as a neutralizing agent for the acids in the fuel, helps in forming better seals with the piston rings and carries away some of the heat from the running engine. Basically, it protects the engine from unnecessary wear and keeps things running smoothly. However, the oil breaks down with time and becomes less effective in its job. Running the engine without changing the oil can cause severe damage to the engine. Most mechanics recommend an oil change every 3000 miles. Most car makers recommend one after 5000 miles. Some synthetic oils claim to keep working up to even 10000 miles.

Motor oils are made by mixing a base oil with additives. Depending on the kind of base oils, there are of two kinds: conventional or synthetic. Conventional oils are extracted from crude oils as products found during distillation. Synthetics are made from chemical compounds called polyalpha-olefins. In the past even Canola oil was used as motor oil.

Synthetic oils are better than conventional oils in many ways. A recent test conducted by the AAA on 5 assorted brands, found just that through 8 different ASTM tests. The difference in performance was about 47%. Going deeper into some of the more important tests will further prove the point.

Sheer stability is the measure of how much viscosity the oil loses during operation. At any point where engine parts meet, the friction and heat puts enough stress on the oil to break it down. Conventional oils carry additives called viscosity improvers that maintain the thickness of the oil even at elevated temperatures. They achieve this by expanding at high temperatures and thus maintaining a layer on the rubbing surfaces, at all temperatures. These additives too, are not completely immune to the effects of heat and lose their effect over time. However synthetic oils themselves have these properties and hence do not need to have too many viscosity improvers.

The next benefit is the ability to function during low temperature starts. This was the reason behind the very invention of synthetic oils, as conventional oils freeze at very low temperatures and take some time from startup, to actually start flowing. Synthetic oils are flowing right from the startup, at temperatures as low as 20 below zero.

If its time for your car to have an oil change, come in to Spencer Auto Sales and Service in Mesa Az.

On the other end of the temperature range, we confront the problem of volatility. Engines get hot and volatile oils evaporate on heating. Conventional oils are bad at this as they have a random collection of molecules bunched together. Some of these molecules evaporate earlier than others (thus breaking down the oil), hence leaving the oil thicker and not able to flow as well as it could initially.

The last test was concerned with oxidation viscosity changes which deals with how the oil reacts over time to heat, pressure and exposure to air. Synthetic oils remain unchanged over longer time and thwart the effect of oxidation for longer.

The oil that claimed to last 20000 miles was also tested over 120000 miles on three different turbocharged vehicles with only 5 oil changes throughout the duration at 20000 mile intervals. They also tested the cars for breakdown resistance against oils of other makes. They even went on to break down the engines at the end and measure them for their tolerances. They found the wear to be so minimal that the parts were still within their manufacturing tolerances. This astonishingly, proves the claim this oil manufacturer made. Does this mean that owners now have no need to take care of their cars anymore? Obviously not. Depending on the usage of the car, this claim could be useless to some users and the car still needs its other maintenance needs fulfilled at regular intervals. Still, the fact that one can go without an oil change for an entire year, is truly hard to believe.

If its time for your car to have an oil change, come in to Spencer Auto Sales and Service in Mesa Az.