RE: Quaker State synthetic versus other brands
boom .......all i can say is damn. what a just fantastic article. this was written by kit sullivan. who is a member of lincolnsonline.com. and i must say that have a few things in common with us. when you have a question about your honda, o you know where to go......right here. and when you have a problem with your lincoln (and just about every person does lol) you go there.
There are two types of lubrication that motor oil gives to your engine: The first type is called a Hydro-Static Boundary Layer, and that simply means that the viscosity of the oil, which is defined as resistance to flow, is what is causing the oil to cling to the inside surfaces of your engine, while the engine is turned off and the oil pump is not operating. When your engine is first started, this static layer of protection will give the engine adequate lubrication for a few minutes (5 or so) until the oil pump has the ability to create enough oil pressure to get the heated oil moving up into the upper parts of your motor.
At this point, the second type of lubrication takes over: The oil pump is forcing the moving oil in between the engine's internal components, creating what is called a Hydro-Dynamic Boundary Layer. That simply means oil that is moving around by way of the oil pump. With a single-grade oil, the heat from operation thins the oil that is clinging to the upper parts of the engine quickly, much more quickly than the oil in the pan. This reduces its viscosity, or ability to flow and causes the engine to lose its Hydro-Static Boundary Layer of lubrication. Unfortunately, the relatively thick single-grade 30-weight has not warmed up enough in the pan to be easily pumped up to the upper-engine before the static layer is depleted. So what you have is an engine that has lost its static lubrication, but is not receiving any adequate dynamic lubrication yet. This creates and abundance of wear and tear. This is why most engines from the 50's and 60's would be all used up at around 50,000-75,000 miles. That, and the high sulfur and phosphorous trace elements in the oil.
Multi-viscosity oil nearly perfectly solves this problem. By starting out at a relatively thin weight, such as 5 or 10, the oil will be very easily and quickly pumped up to the critical parts of the engine, creating the dynamic layer of protection long before the static layer of protection is gone. Through the use of man-made additives called Viscosity Index Improvers (long chain coil polymers, which are temperature-reactive), the oil will increase its viscosity as it heats up to its full operating temperature.
The operating temperature for motor oil is 150 degrees. This overlap of boundary layers of protection is what has enabled engines to go for 250,000-400,000 miles on a regular basis, along with much better refined oil. Basically, it has taken almost all of the wear and tear out of the warm-up phase of engine operation, which is where 75% of all internal engine wear comes from.
All is not perfect, however. The V.I Improvers are man-made additives and are VERY susceptible to the mechanical and very destructive shearing action of the engine. This shearing action actually tears apart the additive package, including the VI Improvers, after a certain amount of time. Driving habits, engine type and condition make an enormous difference in how long the additive package will function adequately, but 3 months-3,000 miles is a good rule of thumb for the typical city and highway driven vehicle. All city driving (stop and go, idling, etc...) will shorten the oils life dramatically by as much as 33%. Oil changes every 2,000 miles may not be excessive under those circumstances. On the other hand, mostly highway driving at relatively steady speeds on flat paved and dust-free roads is the best condition for your engine and its oil. This may allow you to increase the drain interval by as much as 50%.
The wider the range of viscosities on the oil, the less durable and resistant it is to Viscosity Index Breakdown. For example, 10W-30 oil does not have as much VI Improver as 5W-30, so there are fewer additives to be broken down by the shearing of the engine. In fact, 10W-30 is by far the most durable multi-vis oil there is. You should try to stay away from the wider spreads like 15W-50, 20W-50 and especially the 5W-50.
Also, thicker is not better, no matter what your mechanic or engineer told you. 20W-50 has 40% more viscosity (resistance to flow) at operating temperature than 10W-30. This means that your engine has to work 40% harder just to move the oil around inside your engine. An engine with thick oil produces significantly less power, uses more fuel, produces more emissions and runs hotter, all contributing to shorter engine life. A thinner oil can more easily and quickly be pumped-up to the critical parts of the engine, takes less energy to move it around, helps the engine to produce more power, less emissions, better economy. And the engine will last longer too! This has been proven numerous times in test after test, by many different and highly respected testing facilities.
Unfortunately, the rule that you can't teach an old dog new tricks prevents many 'experts' from accepting the facts. Indeed, when I was a kid, it was Castrol GTX 20W-50 in every car I had! In the years since, I have been working in the automotive lubrication industry, (15 years now) have been on the engineering boards of several major motor oil manufacturers. I feel lucky that I was able to see the light.
My '71 429 Mustang historically got about 10-11 mpg while it was run on 'dino' 20W-50. Now that I run nothing but Mobil 1 full synthetic in everything I own, my Mustang now gets about 17-18 mpg, and runs cooler to boot! That is significant. Unless your car is an actual bona fide 'RACE CAR'- no city driving, no idling, no stop and go traffic, no foul weather driving, etc...- do NOT use racing oil in your engine. Racing oil has a very narrow and specific additive package designs for engines that are used in racing situations, like constant high rpm operation, steady speeds, no stop and go, no foul weather, etc...
The oil that is designed for passenger cars is immensely more sophisticated than racing oil, only because it has to function under an almost impossible array of conditions. If you drive your car on the street most of the time, a good passenger car or maybe high performance oil will be much better for you than any racing oil.
The first number is the weight of the oil at cold start-up, so a lower number means a thinner oil that will be pumped up more readily.
The second number is the viscosity (sic) of the oil once it has reached operating temperature (150 degrees).
The additive 'V.I. Improver' helps it to do the opposite of what it wants to do when it warms up, which is thin out. (These types of oils are classified as 'non-Newtonian' because of this ability.)
5W-30 or 10W-30 is better in colder climes. In fact, the 'W' that is in the S.A.E. designation for an oils viscosity stands for winter, indicating that the oil will flow at its rated viscosity in 'winter driving conditions', as defined by the S.A.E. (By the way, the 'W' does not stand for weight, as many erroneously assume.)
Now, the first number in a multi-vis oil describes its viscometrics at cold start-up (engine off for 4 hours or longer, regardless of the outside ambient temperature). The second number describes it performance at operating temperature. This is where a lot of people get confused.
In a properly running engine with a properly functioning cooling system, it doesn't matter if you are driving in sub-zero temperature or 100 degree heat. The design of the cooling system will cause the engine & coolant, and therefore the oil to operate at whatever temperature it was designed to operate at. So what I'm saying is that the first number is critical in terms of climate. That is why the W (winter)
ride til the wheels fall off