Recently I was talking with a friend of mine about new engine oil volatility in 0W-XX oils. This person owns a 2014 Honda Accord Coupe and they told me it’s consuming oil and they have been to the dealer about it. Furthermore, they are using a well know brand of oil… for fear of voiding their warranty, of course. What I found unusual is the addition of oil between oil changes and they weren’t talking about the dripping-from-the-engine-and-onto-the-ground kind of oil consumption either! Hmmm…
This got me thinking about why these newer engine oil formulations designed for better fuel mileage and why they aren’t holding up under real world conditions as well as one might expect. Could it be finished lube manufactures have leapt to far ahead and will have to recalculate? Or could it be they haven’t nailed the right blend of ingredients in the proper proportion, or the quality of the ingredients put into these motor oils?
Let’s face it- one can buy off the shelf additives and some are better than others like viscosity index improver’s for instance. There are at least half a dozen types that I know of but only one that holds up and stands out better than the others. Then there is the base stock itself. Is it a Polyalphaolifin (PAO) or a high Viscosity Index oil that isn’t a (PAO). How long are the hydrocarbon chains? If there are really short hydrocarbon chains this could contribute to volatility as well.
In any event, this is something that is not published a great deal and will continue at least until additional testing uncovers some of the inherent problems with 0W-XX oils. Until then, keep checking your oil level or wait until the ‘check engine’ light comes on, but always drive it like you stole it!!
This opinion piece was written by Paul Hawkes a Senior Level lubricants advisor at Overlake Oil ICML MLT1, MLA1, who specializes in Metalworking, Heat Transfer Fluids and the Aviation industries.