Why special oils can extend the life of your engine when it reaches 75,000 miles & beyond
Submitted by Steve Temple, Reprinted from www.valvoline.com
Published November 2004
When the odometer on your vehicle hits the 75,000-mile mark, it’s time to start using a different type of motor oil. If you want to keep your car, truck or SUV running smoothly for another 75,000 miles and more, switching to special motor oil now can help slow the aging process and extend the performance of your older vehicle. Here are several reasons why.
Normal Wear and Tear
As your engine reaches 75,000 miles and more it begins to age, which requires some additional protection. Some indicators of engine wear and tear are increased oil consumption between oil changes, an engine that is slow to start on a cold morning or runs hotter on warmer days, a decrease in throttle response and gas mileage, and minor leaks. By taking a proactive approach toward your engine’s maintenance, you can help inhibit its aging process and extend the life and efficiency of your automobile.
As a vehicle ages, and its mechanical performance decreases, a greater toll is taken on its engine’s oil viscosity. The demands of an older engine break down the oil more quickly, rendering it less able to lubricate. The end result is an engine that no longer functions at its peak performance. Also, as the engine wears, oil consumption, oil leakage, or lower-cylinder compression may occur. These problems can lead to spark plug failure, excessive deposits and a loss of power.
Further, seals become brittle, rings wear and valves may not seal as tightly. Deposits can build up on fuel injectors, valves or piston rings, so they don’t operate as smoothly. Diminished ring sealing allows more than the usual amount of combustion gas to contaminate the oil. This results in more rapid oil oxidation, which causes the oil to thicken and age prematurely and may ultimately explain why your engine takes longer to turn over on cold mornings.
Time in a Bottle
Before you ponder any expensive or unnecessary repairs, consider that the solution may be as simple as switching to an oil made for engines with over 75,000 miles. These oils are designed to provide specialized protection for your vehicle’s engine by containing anti-wear additives, seal conditioners, extra cleaning agents and friction modifiers. These elements are designed to work together to condition engine seals, prevent leaks, minimize oil consumption, provide easier cold starts, improve power output and resist thermal breakdown – all of which will help maximize the life and sustain the performance of an older engine. These oils don’t evaporate as easily at normal operating temperatures so ultimately less oil is consumed. The additives in oils made for engines with over 75,000 miles increase its resistance toward thickening thereby providing easier and faster cold-starts. Cleaning agents help reduce deposit formation and prevent horsepower loss, plus special friction reducing components help maximize fuel economy and power output.
What if your vehicle has less than 75,000 miles? Are there any advantages to using this oil in a car with fewer miles on it? Actually, you could start earlier with these oils to prevent aging effects and to help further preserve the life of your vehicle’s engine. Once you switch to an oil
formulated for engines over 75,000 miles, you should continue to use it in order to get the maximum benefits. Alternating between this oil and all-climate oils won’t harm your engine, but you won’t get the full benefits.
According to R.L. Polk & Co., the longest standing curator of automotive records in the United States, consumers are keeping their vehicles longer for the first time since the mid-1990s. The median car age recorded in 2002 was 8.4 years, “the highest median age since we began tracking the statistic in 1970,” said Mike Gingell, vice president of Polk’s aftermarket division.
That median age means that more cars could soon be facing many of the problems associated with higher-mileage engines – and may benefit from the use of a high
mileage oil. The specific advantages of using a high-mileage oil in your higher-mileage vehicle are: conditioned engine seals (helps prevent oil leaks and deposit formation), cleaner engine/Reduced formation of deposits (helps prevent horsepower loss), reduced oil consumption (helps provide faster and easier cold starts), extra wear protection (helps increase fuel economy and extend engine life.)
Special thanks to Mid Atlantic Fiero Owners Association for contributing this article from their archives.