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Oil additives are indispensable components of modern lubricating oil. They enhance the lubricating properties of base oils by improving the viscosity and lubricity of the oil. Additionally, they are used to protect engines from corrosion, extend the service life of the oil, and dissolve and disperse harmful sludge.
The need to reduce vehicular emissions and to increase fuel economy has led to the development of lubricating oils that permit tighter manufacturing tolerances in vehicles and the use of sophisticated pollution reduction technology such as catalytic converters and particulate filters.
Although base oil qualities have been modified by advanced refining processes, the introduction of these sophisticated oils would not have been possible without concurrent innovation in additives technology. Typically, a modern lubricating oil blend has an additive pack with at least half a dozen different additives that altogether comprise around 5 per cent of the oil volume, and in some cases, considerably more.
Additives are categorized in terms of the functions they perform. The most well-known characteristics of additives include viscosity improvers and friction reducers, but other equally important characteristics are properties that prevent the formation of sludge in the engine, remove sooty deposits, and prevent foaming. The main additive categories are as follows:
• Viscosity: The viscosity of oil changes with temperature, and viscosity index modifiers ensure oil is sufficiently viscous at normal temperatures but does not become so thin at higher engine operating temperatures that it cannot protect the engine. At very low temperatures, wax in the oil solidifies, impeding oil flow. Pour point depressants are used to lower the temperature at which this happens, ensuring proper lubrication in winter.
• Lubricity: Lubricity is a term that refers to the ability of an oil to lubricate and prevent wear. Friction modifiers are used to reduce friction and improve fuel economy. Anti-wear additives coat surfaces, preventing metal-to-metal contact under boundary lubrication conditions, and heavily loaded surfaces such as valve trains are protected by extreme-pressure additives.
• Chemical control: These products react chemically to protect the engine. Detergents are used to neutralize impurities and prevent sludge from collecting on engine parts, especially those that are hot. Rust inhibitors retard and prevent corrosion of metal components caused by acids formed in the combustion process. Oxidation of oil is inhibited by metal deactivators that provide a protective film on hot surfaces.
• Contamination control: Various contaminants produced during the combustion process find their way into the oil. Dispersants are used to keep these contaminants in suspension: soot is a good example of such a contaminant. Anti-foaming products are used to prevent the oil foaming as this would cause loss of lubrication and encourage pitting and corrosion to take place. In a similar manner, anti-misting agents are used to prevent oil misting.
• Oil seal protection: Modern oils have a tendency to cause materials used in some oil seals to harden, allowing oil to leak past them. Seal conditioners added to the oil avoid this phenomenon by softening the seals and causing them to swell.
• Aftermarket additives: Aftermarket additives use many of the same additives found in lubricating oils and can be useful in dealing with specific problems in older engines.
The formulation of modern lubricating oil is a complex process. It starts with the selection of base oil that may be mineral oil, highly modified mineral oil, or synthetically produced oil. The hydrocarbons that make up mineral oils vary in characteristics from one crude oil batch to the next, and the formulation of oil to specific requirements must take this variation into account.
Synthetically produced oil and highly modified hydrocarbon oil have more consistent qualities, and this is one of the reasons why synthetic oils have superior properties compared to mineral oils.
Oils are formulated to meet API, ACEA and motor manufacturers' requirements with very specific properties that are validated by extensive tests. In order to meet these requirements, which include tests for viscosity, lubricity, stability, wear, and sludge formation, lubrication oil manufacturers like BIZOL have to perform extensive testing of their products.
Oils designed for gasoline vehicles have different properties than those designed for diesel vehicles because of the different effects of the combustion of these fuels.
As seen from the API oil sequences, oil requirements have evolved considerably since the 1930s to the present. In the 1930s, the Model T Ford used oil with a SA service classification that represented a pure mineral oil without any additives. The use of such oil, if it was still available for modern engines, would result in their failure. It is very important that the oil used in modern vehicles has an API Service classification rating that is equivalent to the vehicle's year of manufacture and complies with the API service rating in the vehicle handbook. Under the API classification system, newer oils can be safely used in older vehicles, and this is generally a good idea because of higher quality additive packages.
However, the same cannot be said for vehicles manufactured in Europe under the ACEA system. Under this system, it is advisable to use oil that conforms to ACEA classifications. In fact, some higher quality A5/B5 oils are quite unsuitable for earlier vehicles.
Apart from the above, the oil selected should always be the grade for the vehicle as specified in the vehicle's handbook. Using thicker or thinner oil other than the one recommended by the car manufacturer is likely to result in engine wear and damage.
BIZOL oils are manufactured in compliance with ACEA and API requirements. The range of products includes motor oils, oil additives, fuel additives, transmission oils, brake fluids, and greases. Manufacturing is done according to ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2005 standards which require that all production activities are documented and monitored for conformance.
This means all raw materials must be of the highest standard and purchased from reputable and well known suppliers. Every batch of oil or additive manufactured is sampled, thoroughly analyzed, and samples are retained for verification for at least a year.
All additives used in BIZOL lubricating oils conform to high standards thus ensuring highest quality standards.
BIZOL manufactures both mineral motor oils and synthetic motor oils. Base oils for the synthetic oils are a combination of highly modified hydro-cracked mineral base oil and fully synthetic base oils. Their product range covers the requirements of virtually all European, Asian, and American manufactured vehicles available in the U.S., as well as most commercial vehicles.
Although it is always best to use high quality motor oil that meets the vehicle's requirements, there are times when an aftermarket oil additive could solve a particular issue, especially on older or unkept engines. It's important to note it is very unlikely that any additive can improve engine performance beyond what was achievable when the vehicle was new.
Motor oil additives are essential to modern motor oils and provide significant benefits without which modern automotive technology would just not exist. Apart from providing critical protection for modern, high-speed gasoline and diesel engines, modern additive packs allow automakers to increase oil change intervals on their vehicles without sacrificing performance and engine life. These benefits have been shown contributing to reduced cost of extended oil change intervals and reduced environmental pollution.
Motorists around the world have been relatively slow to accept this concept, the success of modern additive technology combined with the use of synthetic base oils have allowed European motor manufacturers to routinely recommend extended oil changes for their vehicles with oil change intervals that, in some cases, exceed 15,000 miles or 24,140 Kilometers.