Friday, August 17, 2012
Why Synthetic Oil, Filters and Spark Plugs are Important.
Motor oil protects the heart of your vehicle, your engine. And just as a triathlete’s heart looks different than a couch potato’s heart under a microscope, the type of motor oil you use in your engine can determine how clean — and, in turn, peppy — it is.
Not all motor oils are created the same when it comes to their ability to keep your engine clean and healthy. At high temperatures, under high loads or long service, some conventional motor oils can break down and actually contribute to the sludgy mess they’re trying to prevent.
Some synthetic oil formulations are extraordinarily great at their jobs and help keep an engine as close to factory clean as possible, far exceeding the most stringent car manufacturer standards for cleanliness and protection.
In fact, some racecar teams use the exact same synthetic motor oil in their racing engines that you can purchase at your dealership for use in your car.
One such team is Penske Racing, which uses Pennzoil’s Ultra Euro formulation in its Honda Indy V8 engines as they run in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series. These high-revving 3.5L V8 engines (which are about the same size as a Dodge Challenger or Chrysler 200) can generate about 650 horsepower and turn faster than 10,000 rpm, or nearly twice as fast as a typical passenger car engine. That level of performance demands a hard-working motor oil to keep the engine clean.
“The engines we build are designed to deliver extremely high power outputs and reach very high engine speeds in each race, and our dyno testing has demonstrated that Pennzoil Ultra provides the top-tier lubrication performance that our engines require,” said Roger Griffiths, technical director for Honda Performance Development.
While your car’s engine may not work as hard as an IndyCar racer’s engine, chances are it still works pretty hard. If synthetic oil gives racecars’ engines the zip they need, it can help add some sizzle back into your vehicle’s performance.
Upgrading your vehicle’s oil is only the first step; to up the sizzle-factor even more, consider upgrading your filters.
A high-performance oil filter is a great complement. Your oil filter is faced with the tough job of helping to remove damaging dirt and grit from oil, enabling it to clean, cool, seal and lubricate the engine more effectively. A high-performance oil filter does this same job, just better and for longer.
High-performance oil filters provide cleaner oil and longer filter life. They also reduce potential for failure due to pressure buildup and repeated pressure surges at startup. When you start your car and expect “vroom,” you don’t want to be met with an oil filter failure and get something more like “boom.” High-performance oil filters also help improve oil flow, keeping it circulating through your engine.
In addition to a high-performance oil filter, you may think about upgrading your air filter, too, for even more sizzle. Air filters help remove dust and dirt from the intake system (think of this as your car’s lungs) before this debris can reach the engine. Not only do high-performance air filters operate at the top of their class, they are also greener than traditional air filters.
Most high-performance air filters are washable and reusable, and can last for as many as 150,000 miles. On the other hand, most traditional air filters last for only about 15,000 miles. One reusable air filter can keep 10 traditional air filters out of our landfills.
High-performance air filters help increase your ride’s horsepower, torque, acceleration response and towing power — which all amp up your sizzle. They also help prolong engine life and improve fuel economy.
The last piece of the sizzle puzzle is spark plugs. More and more manufacturers are recommending spark plug replacement in their owners manuals, so be sure to consult your service writer about your vehicle’s due date.
Over time, spark plugs can start to misfire. This could cause your vehicle to labor — and might have been a culprit behind the “putt-putt-putting” red sports car. With misfiring spark plugs, your vehicle is not going to perform properly.
The cylinders in your engine will fire hundreds of millions of times, which can cause a widening of the gap between your spark plugs. The widening of this gap can eventually put a strain on your ignition system, in turn causing drivability issues and an increase in fuel consumption, especially at startup.
Ensuring that your spark plugs are replaced when recommended and operating properly will help your car perform at its best.
Next time you slip behind the wheel of your favorite ride, ask yourself if it’s in need of a little pick-me-up. If it’s not performing as you remember it once did, your auto could be yearning for one or more of these services that add some sizzle to its performance.
By Tammy Neal