How important is the selection of oil for my car?

Manufacturer Recommended Motor Oils

Below is a wonderful article highlighting EuroWerks views on the disappointing approach automobile manufacturers have taken with recommended motor oils for the US market? Often, we hear the long winded benefits of the “Manufacturer Specified” motor oil requirements and we imagine it is about keeping your engine in top condition. Consistent with EuroWerks observations, it appears focus of oil product selection is more in helping the manufacturer meet the requirements of the US EPA.

Caution Using Thin Motor Oils

I have noticed the oil recommended for a new gas-fueled truck that I recently purchased is a lower viscosity than my older one. Why is the manufacturer now recommending thinner oil for my new truck? I pull heavy loads with my truck, and I am concerned thinner oil might not lubricate the engine as well as thicker oil. You have a good point here. However, auto manufacturers are under extreme pressure form the federal government to increase the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) of all the vehicles they produce. If they can’t do it, the manufacturer faces large fines. So, with engine tests showing thinner oils produce more fuel mileage, the shift to thinner oils has helped engine fuel economy average improve.

However, as oil temperatures rises, oil viscosity decreases. When viscosity decreases, oil film thickness also decreases. When SAE 20 oil temperature (not coolant temperature) reaches 190°F, its viscosity is about the same as SAE 30 at 220°F. When the oil viscosity of any oil becomes too thin (which is common when an engine is being worked too hard or overheats), it cannot keep metal surfaces form touching, which will lead to catastrophic failure. The big question out there is simple: When I’m pulling 20,000 pounds on my gooseneck trailer trying to get some hay delivered before it rains, is that the same as an engine running on a test stand with an engineer glued to a computer screen waiting for that instant when the engine meets the CAFE requirements? Personally, I would be very careful about using thin oils in extremely heavy engine demand applications. A thin layer of oil is the only thing between you and your hay getting wet while stacked on a trailer on the side of the road.

-Steve Thompson
The Progressive Farmer, Winter Issue 2013

bmw-engineAt EuroWerks, we are strongly considering using oil products used in most of Western Europe where the design of the cars we service and repair originate. Further, we suggest a slightly heavier grade viscosity due to the warmer climate of the US vs. the cooler European average temperatures. We also believe the oil used in Western Europe will clearly meet the needs of the US consumer and offer greater protections for the engine.

For the BMW and Mercedes vehicles we continue to question the 10K – 15K miles distance between oil service intervals. Only recently has BMW adapted new oil service intervals for all of its product line from production years 2013 forward.

After nearly 15 years of extended 15,000 mile service intervals it appears BMW has discovered the engines actually do take a thrashing from these long intervals between oil changes. Based on average driving habits of the US driver, we encourage oil service intervals to be between 6K and 7K miles. It also allows for a visual inspection under the hood at least twice a year. We welcome the approach BMW has taken and hope the past damage to engines on many of the other manufacturers of the European automobile adopt the same approach for the benefit of the consumer. The article below highlights our concerns.

This photo is of a BMW engine with an extended (40k plus) service oil change using synthetic oil.

The Total Approach

At EuroWerks we have continually considered the motor oils suggested by both the Automobile Manufacturers and the Dealerships for the Manufacturers. We have reviewed the specifications of many Synthetic oil products and variable viscosities, (thickness of the oil) under both the cold and hot temperatures, seasonal changes, and extreme driving conditions. The temperature of the engine and engine oil is not dictated entirely by the ambient temperature. Hard throttle up a steep incline with a moderate load inside the cabin or boot of the vehicle will produce significant temperatures. Today’s carbon powered, (gasoline and diesel fuel) engines operate at threshold temperatures to meet strict guidelines for pollution control imposed by both the public and the EPA. Often our cars will be placed in conditions where we may exceed these laboratory conditions risking premature wear to the engines and related components. Therefore, EuroWerks is bucking the trend of compliance in favor of the consumer.

Effective 3rd Qtr 2013, we will begin using the Total Oil Product. Specifically, Total “Quartz 9000 Energy 5W-40W Synthetic Lubricant”. We are confident in our choice and do this entirely to the benefit of our customers. This offers us a cost advantage that we will also pass on to our customers. Study of options in the myriad of oil product selection brought us to this decision. We choose the Total product for specific needs and feel it is the best of choices for our customers. For our customers that feel they must adhere to only the product offered by the dealership, we will offer the option. We will also offer significant comparative analysis of both products as a means with which to educate our customers of the advantages we have discovered.

We are not alone in this decision. Many franchises of the models we service or like manufactures have made the decision to offer a better option to the consumer. Looking into a more extreme window within this decision process, the latest record holder for the Pikes Peak Race was performed using the same Total Oil Product. The Team Leaders for the last several years and current year within the most prestigious and demanding race conditions of Formula One have placed their confidence into the Total Approach. Please enjoy the following links to experience the real demands placed on engine oil and part of the reason for our enthusiasm in our decision to provide the Total Approach to our Customer’s needs. We’re confident this is the best choice for our customers.

How important is the selection of oil for my car?

Today’s automobile engines run at much higher temperatures. In later model automobiles, the Manufacturers are attempting to imply the cars require less frequent oil service. At EuroWerks we have chosen again to focus in the interest of the customer. We are suggesting a maximum of 7,000 miles between oil services on 1998 and up model cars with extended oil service intervals. Refer to our “news Articles” about oil. The decision for oil product selection is based entirely on benefit to the customer over avoiding penalty from EPA for failing to meet posted MPG claims or “Deal of the Day”. At EuroWerks we have made the switch and are taking the Total Approach. We feel it is too important to sacrifice the customer’s wellbeing at the short-term benefit of fuel mileage or best deal oil selection. Effective 3rd Qtr 2013 we will be using the “Total” Synthetic Oil product on all of our services.