GM High-Tech Performance Blogs
Lubricants are the ‘life-blood’ of your vehicle. Your selection and use of engine oil has a direct impact on the performance and useful life of your vehicle. Upgrading to the latest generation of high performance synthetic engine oil is the easiest way to improve reliability, fuel economy and performance, and ensure that your vehicle lasts as long as possible.
WHY CHANGE YOUR OIL?
Aside from fuel, one could argue oil is the next most important fluid in an engine. Oil lubricates all the moving parts inside of your vehicle’s engine and keeps the motor from seizing and becoming unusable.
A properly lubricated engine with fresh oil will last longer and operate more efficiently, producing more power and returning better fuel economy, than an engine with old or dirty oil.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SYNTHETIC AND CONVENTIONAL OIL?
While each type of oil performs the same job of lubricating the internal moving parts of your engine, how they do it and where they come from is quite different. The most basic difference between synthetic and conventional mineral-based oils has to do with how they are created and the make-up of their molecular structure.
Synthetic base oil is made by breaking down naturally occurring elements into a fluid with molecules that are all the same shape and size. Conventional or mineral-based lubricants, by contrast, are simply refined and filtered crude oil. The difference in molecule structure is seen in this simple illustration.
Another way to think of it is to imagine you want to move a large sheet of plywood across the floor using balls as rollers. A selection of footballs, golf balls, basketballs, and tennis balls representing conventional oil molecules would not be nearly as effective as using only perfectly round balls of the same shape and size, representing synthetic oil molecules. Using balls (or molecules) of the same shape and size dramatically reduces friction and improves efficiently.
ARE ALL SYNTHETIC-BASED LUBRICANTS THE SAME?
Regardless of the base oil used, chemicals must be added to give motor oil the characteristics needed to do its job. Typical additives that may be added to base oil include detergents to reduce the formation of residue, defoamants to deter absorption of air, anti-wear agents, antioxidants and others.
Although additives are typically only 15 to 25 percent of the makeup of motor oil, they can impact a lubricant’s performance much more than the base oil. For instance, mineral based motor oil with a very good additive package can easily outperform synthetic motor oil with a mediocre additive package.
There is no easy way for a consumer to determine the quality of motor oil’s additive package. Price is often an indicator of quality since the more advanced additive technologies cost more to produce. Performance is the ultimate measure of additive package quality.
Some of the biggest technological advances in lubrication are now coming through advancements in chemical additives. These breakthroughs have been developed by a handful of companies that specialize in high-performance lubricants, as opposed to major oil companies whose primary focus is refining and selling crude oil by products like gasoline and other fuels.
Royal Purple has developed a number of unique, proprietary additive technologies such as Synerlec lubricants that outperform both conventional mineral oils and ordinary synthetics. While individual results vary, motor oil fortified with Royal Purple’s Synerlec technology has been reported to significantly reduce engine wear, increase horsepower and torque, and reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
The fuel saving chart shows potential savings for a vehicle currently averaging 22 miles per gallon through improved lubrication.
While the upgrading lubricants costs a bit more initially, this is a truly a case of getting what you pay for. The investment generally saves you additional money in the long run, returning better fuel economy and lowering labor costs by reducing the number of times per year you have to visit the mechanic.
While there is no easy way for you to determine a lubricant’s quality, price is often an indicator since more advanced lubricant technologies cost more to produce. Additionally, consumers can research different lubricants online to seek out information that references independent third party testing.
WHEN TO CHANGE YOUR OIL?
Some owners may abide by the old mandate that the oil in your car needs to be changed every 3,000 miles, relying on information as fact without having the knowledge to back it up. In fact, some of today’s vehicles have recommended service intervals from the manufacturer ranging anywhere from 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Upgrading to Royal Purple motor oil and their premium long-life filter can extend time between oil changes to once every 12,000 miles. It's important to always follow the service guidelines outlined by the manufacturer in the vehicle owner’s manual while the vehicle is still under warranty.