Should you buy cheap motor oil?

    Do you know how much you regularly spend on oil changes? An oil change is the most basic maintenance item for your car. The conventional rule used to be getting an oil change every 3,000 miles, but many newer cars have different standards. You should always consult your car manual for your maintenance schedule. At the very least, every few months, your vehicle will need an oil change. That is going to cost you a few bucks, and the cost can add up over time.

    Newer cars are designed to run more efficiently and for longer than ever before. The average vehicle is designed to last for nearly 200,000 miles, with proper maintenance. If you want your car to last you should expect to spend some money each year maintaining it. Costs vary based on the brand of car you may have. Here’s a great chart from the consumer report to help you get a sense of the yearly cost of car maintenance for different brands.

    The big choice you must make when you take your car for an oil change is to use conventional or synthetic oil. Conventional oil is cheaper, averaging around $70 for an oil change. Synthetic oil is a little more expensive. The price difference between conventional and synthetic oil is about $30. If your only concern is saving money, a traditional oil change makes sense. But this choice may end up costing you more in the long run.

    According to AAA, synthetic oil is better for your engine. In a 2017 study, synthetic oil outperformed conventional oil by 47%. It is better at protecting your car engine from extreme temperatures, preventing deposit buildups, reducing oil slugging, and helps protect your engine when towing heavy loads. It’s also less likely to break down over time and can help prolong the life of your engine.

    The oil you choose each time you get an oil change is significant. Motor oil is the lubricant that keeps your engine running well. If you decide to use cheap oil that doesn’t protect your car engine, you’ll likely be forced to pay for more repairs over time. Mechanics see this time and time again.

    How do you choose the right oil for your car? First, check your car manual. It will list the oil weight that is best for your engine. This standard is the benchmark for where you start choosing your oils. Make sure the oil you choose is from a reputable brand by looking for the API (American Petroleum Institute) starburst symbol. You’ll also want to find the service standard, which is SL. This marker indicates the oil has passed the latest standardized API testing.

    Next, you have to focus on the viscosity level that is best for your engine and how you drive. Motor oil thins in the heat and thickens in the cold. Consider the conditions you drive your vehicle in and how you drive when considering viscosity. You can find the viscosity number in the API service donut label, which will indicate if the oil has passed the energy-conserving test.

    Once you’ve identified the type of oil that would be best for your engine, you still have a lot of choices. The motor oil market is full of products for specific vehicle engines and conditions.

    There are many different types of motor oil, including:

     Premium conventional oil is used in many new car engines. It is suitable for up to 4000 miles before a change is needed.
     Full synthetic oil is best for high tech engines. It tends to be more expensive but can offer better long-term protection.
     Synthetic blend oil is a mix of conventional and synthetic oil. It’s cheaper than full synthetic and can offer more protection than conventional oil.
     High Mileage oil is designed for cars with an older engine that may have deposit build-ups and engine issues from years of use. A high mileage oil helps improve engine efficiency and protect the engine from damage.

    Choosing the right engine oil is a choice you must make again and again for your car. If you want the cheapest option every time you get an oil change, your engine will suffer the consequences. We recommend some of the best oils out there, Valvoline motor oils. They have a variety of formulas that are designed and tested for every engine condition. Valvoline has been a leader in motor oil technology for nearly 150 years. All Valvoline oils can meet the five required tests for API and ILSAC testing.

    Our team will recommend the oils that are best for your engine. Many of our customers are business owners with multiples vehicles or quick lubes that service all types of vehicles. The cost of regular maintenance can add up. That’s why keeping your cars in the best shape is so essential. We help our clients order the supplies they need to keep their fleets in tip-top shape and to help them provide everyday drivers the premium products they need to keep their vehicles running. If you have any questions about which types of oils to use, give us a call. We’ll make sure that you have what you need.

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    • Posted by jennh / Posted on 21 January / 0 Comments

      Can you trust a grease compatibility chart?

      Have you ever had the experience of working on a piece of machinery and getting some grease on your hands? It can be pretty hard to remove. Unlike oil and other lubricant products, grease lubricants are more of a long-term lubrication solution. They are meant to stay on equipment for longer, and they are intended to be challenging to come off.

      Grease products are a type of lubricant, but they are more solid or semi-solid. They can be handy for lubricating machinery and components that need long term protection or cannot contain a liquid lubricant. Grease lubricants are usually smeared on equipment components until they wear off. The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) defines lubricating grease as “a solid to a semi-fluid product of dispersion of a thickening agent in a liquid lubricant.” Many different types of machinery require grease lubricants, from heavy equipment to bicycle chains. Grease lubricants can be an essential part of maintaining the mechanical process.

      Grease lubricants are made up of three components: base oil, thickener, and additives. Together these products create a lubrication solution that can help engines and machinery perform better. These types of lubricants are easy to contain, can act as a sealant against spillage, are more resistant to contamination, and don’t need to be regularly monitored. Types of machinery that benefit from grease lubricants may:

       Run intermittently or remain in storage for periods. Grease lubricants stay in place to provide long term protection.
       Machinery that is difficult to lubricate consistently.
       Machinery used in extreme temperature conditions, at high or low speeds, or under pressure.
       Older mechanisms with worn-out parts.

      Grease lubricants are a great way to protect your equipment. The problem occurs when it’s time to change the type of grease you are using or remove it altogether. It gets stuck in nooks and crannies in machinery and adding another grease product can cause a reaction. Unless you remove each component and clean it to remove the old grease, there will almost always be some mixture of the old grease and the new grease. You want to choose a chemically similar product to the previous one used. Manufacturers have created grease compatibility charts to help users choose the right types of products, especially when switching lubricants.

      A significant issue of grease compatibility charts is that they are often unreliable or directly contradict one another. Most tables are based on thickener types and don’t take into account additives, base oils, and other factors. Grease charts rank compatibility as one of three classifications:

       Compatible: The mixture is chemically similar.
       Borderline: The combination is significantly different.
       Incompatible: The mixture is entirely different and may cause an adverse reaction.

      These three risk factors are not enough to make an educated choice. They don’t consider many other factors that could affect performance. In a recent article from Lubes ‘n’ Greases magazine, it was reported that “a review of 21 grease compatibility charts found online show[ed] major inconsistencies.” The report concluded that “it was obvious that trusting these compatibility charts is unreasonable and potentially dangerous to grease-lubricated machinery.”

      Compatibility testing must be completed to ensure the product is right for the equipment and the conditions. To determine if a grease mixture is compatible with your circumstances, it must meet a few characteristics:

       Maintain a comparable dropping point to the individual greases.
       Maintain mechanical stability with the range of the individual greases.
       Maintain a consistent constituency even after a temperature change.

      Most charts contradict one another or even completely disagree with each other. When incompatible greases mix problems can occur. In a recent article in Machine Lubrication it is was found that “many mixtures will initially soften, often to the point of migration through seals or away from lubricated surfaces. Some mixtures will cause the thickener to release the oil, and the separated phase will run freely from the bearing, gear, or housing. Other mixtures will harden initially and cause component load issues and poor grease motility.” These are just a few of the concerns of a grease mixture. That’s why it’s so important to be careful.

      Using the wrong products together can damage your equipment, leading to lost time and costly repairs. It can be complicated to remove grease lubricants once placed on machinery. That’s why you always need to check first before applying. We consider how our clients use their machinery and the conditions they use it in. We tailor our client’s orders to help keep their equipment running and in good order. If you have questions about grease lubricants, ask us. We can’t help you get the grease off your hands, or even off your equipment, but we can make sure that the new products you put on wouldn’t cause a reaction!

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      • Posted by jennh / Posted on 9 January / 0 Comments

        Ten ways the modern gasoline engine is different

        The principles behind the gasoline car engine haven’t changed much. A gasoline-powered engine works as fuel and air are ignited together, which powers the motor through a series of pistons and crankshafts. For a more detailed explanation, check out this video.

        Despite the underlying principles of how a gasoline engine works remaining the same, there have been several improvements over the years that have changed engine technology. Here are ten ways modern engines have changed.

        1. Engines are smaller. Everything that gets invented eventually gets smaller. Just like our smartphones, which combine multiple technologies in a tiny brick of electronics, the modern engine is smaller than it used to be as more efficient technologies have been designed, and cars have gotten lighter.
        2. Engines are more efficient. The fuel economy we get now is much better than it used to be. Fuel efficiency has become a necessity for many car manufacturers as strict government emissions standards have been passed to meet environmental targets.
        3. Engines are more powerful. Smaller lighter engines can produce more horsepower than older model engines. This advancement has resulted in higher temperatures in your engine and your better fuel burning.
        4. Modern engines are more electronic. Increasingly your mechanic is more of a computer expert than an engine expert. Previously standard engine parts like a carburetor may be replaced with electronic fuel injection systems, as well as several other parts of your engine. Everything is monitored by electronic sensors, which must be calibrated to your vehicle computer and continually updated.
        5. Increased safety features. Older cars were not nearly as safe as their modern counterparts. New safety standards have been invented as per government regulations for consumer safety.
        6. Cylinder deactivation. This is a relatively new technology that is designed for fuel-efficiency. When the car is idling or stopped, individual cylinders are turned off to save power and fuel. Your vehicle will turn off parts of the motor when you are idling or stopped. Many new cars have this technology to improve fuel economy, especially in stop and go traffic.
        7. Variable-valve timing.The valves in your engine used to open and close at the same time, which wasted fuel. This new technology optimizes how the valves open based on how much power is needed, which helps improve fuel economy.
        8. Higher transmission speed. Modern transmissions can handle more than ever before. It’s widespread to see transmissions with six or more speeds, as opposed to the traditional four or five-speed of older transmissions.
        9. Direct fuel injection. Direct engine technology improves fuel economy by heating the fuel and air combination before it hits the combustion chamber. This change helps the fuel burn hotter and more efficiently.
        10. Turbocharger. Adding a turbocharger fan to the car’s exhaust system pushes the air through the car’s exhaust system faster. On smaller vehicles, this technology helps generate more power and save fuel. In many models, this technology is known as an EcoBoost.

        There are even more ways that modern engines differ from older models. These technologies have all been developed to improve fuel economy, increase power, decrease vehicle weight, and meet emissions standards. What hasn’t changed is your vehicle’s need for oil as a lubricant. Motor oil still plays an essential role in maintaining your engine and improving performance. You need to choose the right oil for your vehicle. Older motor oil blends are not meant for the new engine technologies in your car. More modern motor oils are being manufactured specifically for cars newer than in 2012. These oils are less viscous, have more additives, and are more thoroughly tested for these engines.

        In a previous blog, Watch Out For Carbon Buildup, we shared how a major issue occurring in many newer vehicles is carbon buildup. Carbon deposits form throughout more modern engines because of direct injection technology. One way to stop this from happening is to choose a proper oil for your engine.

        Our top recommendation for modern engines is the Valvoline Modern Engine Full Synthetic oil. It is the first oil that has been designed to prevent carbon build-ups, handle the higher temperatures of modern engines, and provide the best protection to your engine. Unlike other API certified oils, it will offer more protection against carbon build-up. If you have questions about this oil, check out this great video from Valvoline.

        Your newer vehicle is designed for the future. The engine advancements that have changed the way we drive and use fuel are more significant than you think. That means that we have to change the way we think of maintaining and caring for our engines. You can’t keep up your new engine with the same old lubricants. Your oil needs to change with your engine. Let our team show you why modern engine oil like Valvoline Modern Engine can make all the difference.

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        • Posted by jennh / Posted on 16 December / 0 Comments

          A tale of oil analysis

          For many years we’ve worked with a variety of customers, including members of the local agricultural community. We’ve been proud to assist our farmers by providing the fuels, lubricants, and supplies they need for their equipment. We’ve also been able to offer another valuable service, oil analysis.

          Imagine two neighboring farmers, Bill and Dan, work across the road from one another. They each have large commercial farms with a variety of equipment and similar fuel and lubricant needs. Bill and Dan are so alike they each bought the same model of pickup truck for work. The only real difference between these two men: they have different fuel suppliers. Bill gets his fuel from Greg’s Petro, while Dan uses another regional supplier. Bill is slightly more cautious than Dan, so he also signs up for our oil analysis program. Through this program, oil and fluids from Bill’s equipment are tested for:

           Viscosity: We want to make sure that the thickness of the lubricant matches what the manufacturer says it should be. If the viscosity is off from the manufacturer’s specification, the lubricant will not perform as it should, which could damage the equipment.
           Acid Number/Base Number: Just like in a high school chemistry class, an acid/base test checks for the concentration of acid and the alkalinity in the oil. Oils that have too much acid may cause oil oxidation, while oils that are too basic could create engine blow-by conditions.
           FTIR: This is an instrument that tests for any contamination factors such as water, glycol, soot, or any evidence that the oil is beginning to break down.
           Particle Counting: If there are any particles in the oil, this test measures the size and quantity.
           Moisture Analysis: This test measures for any water that may be present in the oil. It can be in three forms: dissolved, emulsified, or free. A high moisture reading may indicate that water is leaking into the product in some way, or that there is a sealant problem.

          Each time Bill’s equipment gets tested, our oil analysis team goes through the report with him to ensure that he understands it. Using the data from his tests, they identify lubricant related needs his equipment may have so that it can last longer. To make these recommendations, our team needs to understand a few things about the machinery:

           Environmental conditions: How Bill uses his equipment makes a difference in how long it will last. Since he works outdoors in dry conditions, it will affect the lubricants that he needs to use. If he uses his equipment in wet or cold conditions, our team will change their recommendations. Even equipment used indoors may experience breakdowns because of the area. Some lubricants have been designed for different environmental conditions or may have additives that can improve performance. Our team only recommends products that are precisely suited for Bill’s work and where he does it.
           Type of equipment: Not every car, machine, or piece of equipment is the same. Every manufacturer has their specific designs for their products and will make particular lubricant recommendations. Our team takes into account the makes and models of all Bill’s machinery.
           Maintenance history: Bill’s maintenance history is vital to engine performance. Bill passes on what his mechanic recommends and what issues are continually monitored on his machinery to our team.
           Filter history: Superior filters make all the difference. Insufficient filters will allow containments and particles into the engine, which will cause mechanical issues. Some of our most popular products are Valvoline filters because they provide guaranteed quality for our customers.
           Equipment operating time: Bill is very conscientious and keeps detailed records of how much he uses his equipment. These runtime records help our team provide accurate recommendations to prevent damage over time.
           Any unusual activity with the machinery: When something starts to make a weird sound, Bill notices. Strange noises, jerking, engine issues, smoke, or any other problems could all be a sign of mechanical problems. Bill makes a note to pass on any such occurrences to our team.

          We work with accredited laboratories to test Bill’s samples and create a detailed report of the conditions of his oil and equipment. Based on the oil analysis and other information, our team helps him find the right products to prevent costly maintenance. We maintain records of all his oil analysis reports to help guide his orders. We offer a selection of products from Chevron and Valvoline, two of the leading industry providers.

          Over the years, our oil analysis helps identify specific lubrication needs Bill’s equipment has. We can help prevent costly maintenance and save him so money because his machinery lasts longer and runs better. His neighbor Dan isn’t so lucky. He uses the same oils and lubricants year after year, and it’s caused him plenty of time and money for expensive repairs. The pickup truck he bought that was the same as Bill’s breaks down in five years, while Bill’s keep running like normal. Our oil analysis program really could have helped Dan.

          Bill and Dan may be fictional, but their story isn’t. Oil analysis saves your business money and time spent on costly repairs. You’ve invested a lot into the machinery your business requires, protect that investment with the right lubricants and oils. Ask us today about how oil analysis can help your business.

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          • Posted by jennh / Posted on 3 December / 0 Comments

            Are new lubricants good for older cars?

            How long have you owned your vehicle? Buying a new car is expensive, so many of us drive our cars for as long as they will last. The average age of a vehicle in North America is higher than it has ever been, at 11.6 years old. The length of car ownership is 6.6 years. Cars are being built to run longer than ever before, but older engines may not be up to the challenge. To ensure a long engine life, you need to select the right lubricants to keep things running smoothly.

            The testing and manufacturing equipment for engine oils s designed for the latest engine technology, which can present a problem for owners of older vehicles, especially classic car owners. Lubricants designed for older engines are gradually phased out as finding the right equipment to test and produce older oils is costly and difficult. Instead, manufacturers claim that you should be able to use new engine oils in older engines, but there is still some debate about that.

            The lubrication needs of older engines are different. There are some special considerations to be aware of if you have a vehicle with older engine technology such as:
             Older engines are designed for 3000-mile drain intervals, not the 5,000 or 10,000-mile intervals standard in newer cars.
             Older engines are less efficient and take longer to warm up and start.
             Older engines are less powerful. Many four-cylinder engines today are as powerful as an older eight-cylinder engine.

            These technology differences present real lubrication issues. If you are searching for the right products for your older car, there are a few factors to consider:
            Phosphorus levels: ISLAC put a cap on phosphorus levels in engine oils in 1992 at 1,200 parts per million. This standard dropped even further over the years to the current limit of 800 ppm in 2004. Phosphorus levels were deemed to mess up emissions control technologies. Lower levels of phosphorus can be a concern for owners of older vehicles because of reduced wear protection. To combat this problem, manufacturers turned to an additive called ZDDP, which is an anti-wear and corrosion inhibitor. This additive was also phased out because of toxicity to humans and wildlife, as well as damaging engine catalytic converters. Many owners believe that newer oils don’t provide the wear protection that their engines require like former products with higher phosphorous levels and ZDDP did.
            Lower viscosity levels: Engine oils are becoming thinner and thinner to improve fuel economy. This can be hard on older engines which are not designed for these oils and have large deposits and buildups from years of use.

            The biggest concerns about using new oils in older engines are wear protection, oxidation, deposit and sludge control, emissions system protection, and oil pumpability for cold weather starts. Gordon Farnsworth, the former head of the ASTM Sequence V Engine Test for 25 years has said that “by far, wear protection is the main area of concern for most and the one area experts will likely spend the most time evaluating.”

            So can you use newer oils in your older vehicle? Yes and no. You still want to make sure that you are selecting the right viscosity grade for your engine. The industry is working to educate consumers on this issue. Labeling will be introduced on GF-6B oils to let consumers know what oils to avoid for older engines. Changing your oil more often is also a great way to extend the life of your engine. Try for 3,000-mile intervals. You will also need to pay attention to the needs of your engine. Talk to your mechanic about the best products to use.

            Since the inventory of older oils is diminishing, manufacturers are designing synthetic oils to meet the needs of older vehicles. Chevron offers oils specifically designed for high mileage that provide better wear protection. Over time engine sludge builds up, which reduced engine wear. This issue can affect engine performance and emissions. Typical motor oil may not meet the needs of a higher mileage vehicle with build-up and deposits.

            As a fuel and lubricants supplier, we are here to help you find the right products for your engines. We have an extensive inventory and knowledgeable staff that can find what you need. Provide us with the details of your vehicles, and we can recommend selections to keep your engine in top shape. Your car should last with proper maintenance and care and by selecting the right lubricants. If you have any questions, call us and ask. We are always happy to help and to talk about your lubricant needs!

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            • Posted by jennh / Posted on 18 November / 0 Comments