The Easy Way to Test Synthetic Oils

After being in several forums over the past few years reading all the debates out there about which synthetic oil is best, I have come to the conclusion that most people really are not taking the time to actually compare synthetic oils properly. It’s great that everyone has their favorite oil, but most comments that come out of these forums are biased to the user’s own favorite oil when in fact they haven’t used or tested other products.

If someone is really interested in testing two or more synthetic oils, it’s really not that hard to do. Blind studies are always best, but sometimes that isn’t always possible.

If you’re looking for better performance then the first test should be a simple fuel mileage comparison. Before you install the first oil pull an accurate fuel mileage off your next two tanks of fuel. Switch your vehicle over and repeat the two tank test and record your results.

We won’t get into a full discussion here about oil analysis, but for further proof of an oil’s serviceability an oil sample should be taken. Some oil analysis companies sell these for about $20.00 and worth the investment.

Your fuel mileage test should reveal quite a bit about how good the oil is. I have seen test results vary by as much as 2 mpg. The bottom line here is the better the fuel mileage the less intra-fluid friction there is associated with the oil.

Less friction (better fuel mileage) means less heat, it’s as simple as that. Checking fuel mileage cost you nothing and an oil sample is a very inexpensive test to further separate any oils that you test.

Warning! Beware of the big oil companies that do a lot of outside advertising such as getting naming rights to a football stadium. Do you want to do business with a company that pays huge sums of money just to get their name on a stadium? Wouldn’t that money be better spent on developing higher quality products to build consumer confidence.

Have you ever noticed that smaller more specialized companies always make better products? Niche products have gained a strong hold with a lot of people and as the internet grows you will see smaller more specialized companies making the best lubricants. Dealing with smaller independent companies usually pays off with better higher quality products.

Put brand names aside and just run a simple fuel mileage test on every brand you can and make your decision based off of scientific test and not what an uninformed biased person on a forum says. You can use forums to exchange ideas, but when someone starts bashing one product in favor of another then chances are they have never used the product they are bashing.

We have tested over 10 different synthetic oils over the years and it’s really a lot easier than it sounds. The real benefit once you decide on the right oil is reduced engine wear. With the oil we currently use we have seen engines well into the 500,000 mile mark without any overhauls. There is no sense in dumping 3G into an engine overhaul when you can just spend a little more on higher quality oil products for the life of the car.

We hope this will settle the debate over which oil is best. Don’t take everything so serious with all the information that is being passed around the internet. Do your own testing and decide for yourself.

Motor Oil Analysis Testing on the Cheap – Water Ingression Test

The following article will describe for you one from a total of six incredibly informative engine oil tests that you can use to quickly establish the continued viability of your oil, without ever paying a single dime to an oil analysis lab.

Even though any individual can end up with water in their engine oil, it is more commonly an issue for those vehicle owners that make primarily low mileage trips with their vehicle, drive their vehicle very infrequently and/or live in a humid climate or one with significant fluctuations in temperature. If you happen to be one of these individuals, I would highly recommend that you perform the crackle test, which is useful for determining whether condensation has caused a build-up of water in your oil.

Why test for water in your oil?

Because water build-up leads to acid build-up. Acid causes corrosion , and that can lead to pitting. Of course, you don’t want pitting in your engine. Even a high TBN (Total Base Number) extended drain synthetic oil like AMSOIL or Mobil’s new Extended Performance synthetic oil can eventually be overcome by water/acid build-up. Thus, it stands to reason that you’d want to know if you were getting water in your oil BEFORE acid build-up depletes the acid fighting additives in your oil. THIS is why I recommend performing the crackle test.

However, if performing the blotter spot test before the crackle test shows that there is fuel in your motor oil, performing the crackle test will likely be of little use, since the fuel in your oil will “throw off” your results. This is the reason that the blotter spot test (business card test) is most often performed PRIOR TO the crackle test. If you’ve got fuel in your oil, you may already need to drain your oil, and the results of the crackle test will not be clear anyway.

So, how do you do it?

Simple. Find a hotplate of some kind. Set the temperature between 250 and 300 degrees F (which is greater than the boiling point of water – 212 – but lower than the typical volatility level of a motor oil – which is generally greater than 350). Then, place a few drops of oil on the plate.

When you place the oil on the plate, you will hear a crackle as the water boils off. The crackling should occur very quickly as long as the amount of oil you use is small. Of course, if there is no water in your engine oil, you will hear no crackle.

Go Professional or Do It Yourself?

Paying for a professionally performed oil analysis will tell you not only IF there is water in your oil, but also how much contamination has occurred. Nevertheless, even though less information is provided through the crackle test it’s nice that you can utilize this free test to at least tell you if there is water in your oil.