Tag Archives: oil consumption

Engine Builder Magazine Discusses Late Model Oil Consumption

The editorial staff at Engine Builder Magazine recently published an article on late model engine oil consumption concerns. This is a growing problem and Driven Racing Oil’s utilize a low volatility formula specifically to address these concerns.

Read Engine Builder Magazine Article

Other Resources On This Subject:

Critical Oil Qualities For Modern Performance Engines

Oil Consumption Bulletin

Oil Consumption Bulletin

Attn: Late Model Performance Vehicle Owners

RE:  Oil Consumption Problems

A recent Consumer Reports article highlighted the increasing trend of new vehicles that “use” a fair amount of oil, as much as one quart for every 1,200 miles. This problem is particularly apparent in lightweight “OW-” oils often found in performance engines. The reasons for this consumption are not mechanical, such as stuck rings or loose clearances. The reason for this “vanishing oil” is due to a technical term that also starts with a “v”—volatility.

Just like water begins to evaporate before it boils—think of the steam rising off your hot coffee in the morning—your motor oil will also evaporate inside your engine. When motor oil splashes up to cool the underside of your piston, the 500°F piston temperature causes the oil to evaporate. However, not all oils evaporate at the same rate. Typically, motor oils featuring lighter base oils evaporate more quickly at high oil temperatures. Think of pouring gasoline and diesel oil on the ground. Which one evaporates first? The gasoline does because gasoline is lighter than diesel, and so it has a higher volatility.

The scientific test for evaporation tendency is called NOACK Volatility. Some low viscosity base oils will evaporate at a rate as high as 49%. When base oils featuring both low viscosity and high volatility are used to make low viscosity motor oils, the higher volatility results in higher oil consumption.

Obviously, more oil is consumed as more of it evaporates. In high temperature areas, such as on the underside of the piston and in the piston ring zone, higher volatility oils evaporate rapidly. These oil vapors can cause deposits on intake tract runners and valves as the oil vapors travel through the PCV system and out the exhaust system.

Many high performance engines now feature PCV oil separator catch cans in order to catch the oil vapors and prevent these deposits. In fact, the new 2014 Corvette LT1 engine features integrated PCV oil separators. As engines begin to incorporate direct injection, keeping oil out of the PCV system is critical. With direct injection no fuel is available to clean the intake valves, so it is critical to limit the oil vapor.

Advanced synthetic base oils limit volatility, and that reduces oil consumption. The current API SN volatility limit is a maximum of 15%. In comparison, advanced Poly AlphaOlefin (PAO)-based motor oils can have as low as 5% volatility.

Driven Racing Oil™ features mPAO, a next-generation synthetic base oil in all of its performance lubricants. mPAO allows Driven to create lightweight motor oils that retain a high HTHS (High Temperature High Shear) viscosity, making them less sensitive to heat and less prone to the evaporation problems outlined above. For more information on mPAO technology, call 1.8666.611.1820 or visit www.drivenracingoil.com.

Download Oil Consumption Tech Bulletin PDF



Oil Consumption & Volatility Explained

Ever torn down a motor and seen oil in the intake manifold? How about an intake valve dirtier than an exhaust valve? Ever wondered how that happened?

The one word answer is Volatility. This fancy sounding word basically means how much vapor a motor oil releases when it gets hot. You know how water vapors rise off a pot of water before it begins to boil? The same thing happens to you motor oil inside your engine. As oil splashes onto the pistons and valve springs to keep them cool, the high temperature causes some of the oil to evaporate.

So what does this have to do with oil in the intake? Well, modern engines have a Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve that vents these oil vapors into the intake manifold. These oil vapors now condensate in the cool air/fuel mixture, which leaves the oily deposits in the intake manifold and on the intake valve.

Check out the new 2014 Corvette engine. Since this engine is direct injected, there is no fuel to wash the oil down the intake manifold and to help prevent excessive intake valve deposits. So what did GM do? They installed an oil separator in the PCV line that condensates the oil and drains it back into the engine before it gets into the intake stream.

So if you don’t have a 2014 Corvette, what can you do? For starters, using a lower-volatility motor oil is the first line of defense. Simply put, the fewer the oil vapors, that much less oil gets into the PCV system in the first place. The result is more oil kept in the crankcase where it belongs. The second thing you can do is install an aftermarket PCV line oil catch can.

These two steps will reduce the amount of oil getting into the intake tract. Obviously a cleaner intake valve will flow more air for better power and fuel economy. These steps also reduce oil consumption, which helps to protect O2 sensors and catalytic converters from damage due to excessive oil consumption.

The key is using low-volatility base oils in the motor oil formula. Conventional refined crude base oil has volatilities in the range of 20 to 30% for a typical viscosity motor oil. A traditional synthetic base oil drops that volatility down to 14%, but even newer synthetic base oils drop the volatility down to an incredible 5%. Unfortunately for the OEM car companies, the supply of these ultra low-volatility oils is limited, so while they are a technical solution, they are not a practical one on a global scale. Fortunately for the enthusiast market, supply of the ultra low-volatility base oil is sufficient to cover the needs of the high performance crowd.

This ready supply enables specialty oils like Driven LS30 and FR20 to reduce oil consumption AND contain more ZDDP for better engine protection. The O2 sensors and catalytic converters don’t know how much ZDDP is in the motor oil because it stays where it should be – in the crankcase lubricating your engine. LS30 can contain 50% more ZDDP since the volatility is 67% less than standard base oils. The higher quality base oil delivers better all-around protection and performance.