There’s a trend in motor oil technology towards thinner oils to improve fuel efficiency.
Many of the new smaller turbocharged fuel-efficient engines use ultra-low viscosity (ULV) 0W-20 or 0W-16 motor oils.
While these ULV motor oils can produce a 2-4% improvement in fuel efficiency, they are also more volatile — prone to evaporation.
To combat this volatility and possible wear on the motor, oil manufacturers have developed more technical, higher-quality additive packages. What’s in these packages tends to evolve as challenges from the thinner low viscosity oils arise.
One challenge the large OEM motor oil manufacturers have recently focused on is addressing LSPI — low speed pre-ignition of fuel.
LSPI has been an issue with the smaller turbocharged, direct-injection engines that have become popular in the race to improve fuel efficiency. What happens is that due to the high pressures turbocharged direct-ignition vehicles create inside the combustion chamber, the air-fuel mixture ignites prematurely — before the piston reaches the top of the cylinder. This can result in scarring of the cylinder walls.
Some chemical engineers believe that a contributing factor to LSPI are the detergent additives in the low viscosity oils. These detergent additives can leave behind calcium deposits that ignite. The use of magnesium-based detergents that aren’t as likely to cause pre-ignition is being explored as an alternative.
Newer motor oils with ILSAC GF-5 and GF-6 specifications specifically address LSPI as well as deposits. So be sure to look for those specs when using Ultra Low Viscosity oils. And remember, while it may be “old school” to use 5W-30 across the board…it is crucial to use the correct spec oil recommended by the manufacturer.
Pentosin 0W-20 FE, 8044317 1L / 8044319 5L
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