Message 5

Hydrotreated petroleum oil can now be legally called synthetic. Here are the emails sent to our subscribers explaining all about it. Start at MESSAGE ONE, then TWO etc..

Message 5

Postby ogrady » 2005 Wed Nov 02, 12:06 pm


Have you finished reading the 'Motor oil Bible' yet? You'll be
correcting me anytime I'm sure!

Where did we leave off?

'NOT API' certified?
An oil that isn't API certified must be total junk right?

Not necessarily so!

There certainly are 'firesale' low end products available, such as SA and SB spec
products. These are BAD for your engine! So what other motor oils are not API approved?

The TOP end of the performance / quality scale!

How can this be so? This will take some explaining.

There are certain assumptions that we as consumers make and it is quite surprising for us to learn that what we take for granted and expect in our motor oil is not necessarily what oil
manufacturers or the API have in mind!

Have you been taught to look for the 'Starburst' symbol on your motor oil and if it isn't there to stay away? The starburst symbol is a symbol of product compliance of the absolute LOWEST
acceptable limit of quality acceptable. Unfortunately, the starburst symbol also strangles top performing products.
As a result, the highest performing North American made motor oil's available in North America are not API certified!

And with GOOD reason!

To understand why this is so we just need to know a few requirements that API certification requires.

1) Product disclosure.
The intent here is to protect consumers from an unscrupulous manufacturer who constructs their oil using low quality stock.
Excellent idea with a real problem for high-end product.
How would you like your competition knowing EXACTLY what the contents of your latest ground breaking motor oil is? NOT LIKELY!

2) With synthetic oil, and I don't know how this play's out now that we have hydro-treated petroleum synthetics, starburst approved synthetic oil manufacturers are not allowed to change
suppliers, they are locked into a specific supplier for the duration of the licence. This is the exact opposite of the requirement for starburst approved petroleum motor oil products whose manufacturers can change their suppliers without issue.
Again, I expect the idea here is to protect the consumer from unscrupulous manufacturers.

This requirement kills incentive for continous product improvement!
Upgrade your product and it has to go through approval all over again. This takes months and about $50,000 minimum. Upgrade your product again and you do the same ALL over again. What this means for you, the synthetic motor oil buyer is an API starburst approved product is likely years old, over priced and well behind the latest development curve.

3) There is no differentiation between petroleum motor oil and synthetic motor oil as far as an API starbust approval is concerned. All starburst approved oils just need to meet a minimum performance specification for approval. This weeds out the truly low performance oil, but also effectively eliminates higher performance synthetics from being offered on a higher performance level, especially with the above 1 & 2 requirement.

4) Starburst approved motor oils wear prevention chemistry is limited to a concentration of 1000 ppm for phosphorus and zinc. This is so as to prevent poisoning the catalytic convertor. The
problem here is oil volatility also has a direct bearing on the amount of phosphorus and zinc that goes down the tail pipe and yet the limit is across the board with no account for volatility.
This means that an oil that has half the volatility of another oil, both of which have the same 1000 ppm upper limit of wear prevention chemistry will put half the amount of phosphorus and zinc catalytic convertor poison down the tail pipe and yet there is no reward or incentive to do so.

There are synthetic motor oils that do have 1/2 the volatility of API starburst approved motor oil's (13% volatility upper limit) that provide the consumer with MUCH lower wear AND much cleaner exhaust effectively protecting the catalytic convertor with less zinc and phosphorus contaminant. How so, their zinc and phosphorus concentrations are 30% higher, in the 1300 ppm range?

These high-end synthetics have much improved pistong ring seal and at the same time their volatility is much lower, (in the 6% range) which all together puts much less phosphorus and zinc out the exhaust!

More next week!

Drive safe!

Sean Aughey
Are you still on the 3,000 mile oil change treadmill? Put some convenience in your life!
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Posts: 63
Joined: 2005 Wed Jan 05, 8:05 pm

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