Mostly Mechanical

Auto & Truck Oils, Lubes & Filters – Separating Technology from Hype

Beware Auto Service Shops – an oil change can hurt you!

Imagine this: you think your car was serviced – but actually you got stiffed.   Months or years later you pay repair costs  because of that maintenance work that wasn’t done!  Will you even realize what happenned?  Probably not.  Maybe you’re convinced that you were cheated.  Can you prove it?  Probably not, unless you’ve got it on video… what a great idea.  An NBC news team loaded up two vehicles with hidden cameras to find out what would happen when they took them in to nine different Jiffy Lube locations for service work.   Guess what?  In 5 of 9 shops – the MAJORITY of those auto service centers – workers DIDN’T do work that they were paid for: a fuel filter wasn’t changed; a transmission fluid exchange never happened.  That’s fraud, at a shocking level.  When an employee was asked, confidentially, whether this happens a lot, they said “every day”.  The full eye-opening report is here, as it was presented on the evening news:  Is Your Mechanic Cheating?

As an automotive engineer, I can assure you that not all Jiffy Lubes are this bad.  But I can also assure you that there are other vehicle service centers who are just as bad or worse than what you saw in that news segment.  Some places will break your vehicle in order to charge you for a repair.  Other places will fix a $5 problem, then charge you $500 for some part and repair that you didn’t need and they didn’t do.  What does this mean to you as a customer?  How can you protect yourself?   I have some recommendations for you on how to handle your vehicle maintenance.  I can recommend them strongly because they’re exactly what I do myself on my own vehicles:

  1. Strongly consider changing your own engine oil & oil filter.  It’s not hard, you’ll know it’s done right, you won’t get the cheapest possible oil out of their bulk tank, and you won’t be putting your vehicle in “harms way” several times a year with someone you really don’t know.  Further, changing your own oil & filter is much easier if you use modern PAO synthetic engine oil and nanofiber filter technology, instead of the 30-year-old petroleum and paper technologies that the oil companies, auto service centers, quick lubes, and vehicle OEM’s want you to use.   How easy?  One year, 25,000 mile oil changes.  Typical benefits to the technologies?  It’s cheaper per year, you’ll probably gain 5-10% in fuel economy (saving cash AND natural resources – a valuable combination), you reduce engine oil use an estimated 87% (saving natural resources) and you reduce your vehicle’s wear rate by 70% or more.  Details on converting your vehicle.
    Note: if you don’t want to change your oil, you can buy the high-tech oil and filters and take them in to most shops/dealerships and have them changed for a $5 to $15 charge.  If you take in your own oil and filters, it sends a clear message to the service shop that you know what you’re doing and take your maintenance seriously.
  2. Consider adding an oil bypass filter.     The nation’s best and most profitable commercial fleet and equipment maintenance managers use this secret, combined with oil analysis.  With premium filter construction and nanofiber media, today’s bypass filters will eliminate over 90% of the normal engine wear that occurs from abrasive particles, tripling vehicle mileage life.  Meanwhile, by using the best PAO-design engine oils, you eliminate the need to change your motor oil.  So your maintenance gets REALLY EASY.  How easy?  Just change your full-flow filter annually or every 25,000 miles, and your bypass filter every 2  yrs or 60,000 miles.  DIY types will find that the installation of the “bypass” (or partial-flow) filter is simple, or you can have a good auto mechanic do the installation.  Depending on experience and vehicle, expect the installation to take 2 to 3 hours.  4 hours if you’re slow, easily distracted, very detailed, not in a hurry, and want to take pictures of the installation.  Note: if you do this, you will also want to send an oil sample in to a testing lab at least annually to verify the condition of your engine and oil for maintenance and vehicle warranty purposes – costing about $20-25 per sample test.   
  3. Take your vehicle maintenance seriously: take it only to somewhere that you know does good work.  You wouldn’t drop your child off at the cheapest care center that had an opening, without doing some leg work.  Doesn’t your mechanical “baby” deserve some consideration, too?  Check out the shop and the mechanic.  How long have they been in business?   Is the mechanic certified, and how long has he been in the area?  Ask someone who knows reputations in the area for their recommendation.  I have three shops in my area that I will recommend to people, because I am confident that they have the expertise and reputation that means they will strive to do the job and do it right.
  4. Remember the hint in the video about filters: by marking the filter with a permanent marker yourself, you can easily verify that they did change that air/oil/fuel filter – rather than doing nothing or just wiping it clean to look like it was changed.
  5. If you get in a “tight spot” and need work done by a place that you don’t know, there are some secrets that will help you.   The two keys are to ask questions and to handle the parts.  Here are some ideas:  ask to see what the new parts or filters look like that they will be installing, write down the part numbers from the boxes and physically HANDLE and examine the parts.  If the parts are a little dirty or greasy, even better – and you can wash your hands in their restroom or wash-up sink.  (They know that most customers don’t know much about vehicle maintenance and that those who do, often don’t pay attention.  So if you handle the parts and ask questions, it sends a message that you have done some of your own maintenance work, may much know more about your vehicle maintenance than what they suspect, and that you are very concerned that it is done right.  This is exactly what you want them to think – that they are at risk for being found out if they try to cheat you.)
    If they are vehicle parts (not just a filter), point to one or two key features and ask them which connection that is, or what type of connector, or where does that connector go to, or how does the part work?  You could even say something like “I’ve seen these before, but I’m curious, how does this actually work?” or “what does this actually do?”  Other good questions: “this seems like it’s in pretty good (or really bad) shape – how long are these supposed to last?  Do you see this very often?  What’s your opinion of that design compared to the Ford/Chrysler approach? (…yeh, that’s what I’ve heard)”  Tell them you want to see the part they take off your vehicle, and want them to physically show you where it’s located & how it’s mounted.   (They will usually accomodate your request, though they may have a policy against allowing customers in the service area.  If they decline, you MIGHT want to say that you understand the whole insurance bit, but you’re uneasy about using a repair shop that won’t let you see what they’re doing to their vehicle.)  

I don’t like to lie, but if you’re concerned about the shop or don’t know them, you might share that your brother/uncle/friend/father/boyfriend is a certified master mechanic in another town/state who used to train mechanics in the military and whenever he can’t do the work for you and doesn’t know the mechanic, he always makes you show them exactly what work was done so that they can inspect it… he likes to protect you & his friends, but you also suspect that he likes finding and reporting fraudulent mechanic work because it gives him more business…  you get the idea. 

Following these ideas will help you maximize your vehicle life, minimize your maintenance costs, and protect yourself even when you have no idea if the service shop is reputable or what they’re really doing to your vehicle.


December 5, 2006 Posted by | Filtration Technologies, Lubrication Oils & Fluids, Vehicle Maintenance | 2 Comments

CJ-4 Diesel Oils only for 2007 & later models – they’re NOT for earlier diesels!

DO NOT use CJ-4 oil in vehicles prior to 2007 models, unless you want increased wear and more frequent oil changes: because the 2006 and earlier models do not have diesel particulate filters (DPF’s), they do not need the restricted formulation of these CJ-4 oils. 

Amsoil’s new DEO oil is a premium 5W-40 synthetic diesel engine oil that is certainly among the best examples of the new CJ-4 emissions-spec oils.   In fact, it’s one of the only examples: most oil companies still don’t have a CJ-4 diesel engine oil formulation, much less have it available in the U.S. market as of October 2006.  Even more kudos to Amsoil, because their CJ-4 oil performance is still better than most CI-4+ oils, and because it’s proven – it has already logged over 12 million fleet miles.

To be fair, this article title isn’t completely true:  if you’re changing your fleet over to Amsoil and take it all to CJ-4 so that you can be certain of always using a DPF-compatible oil, you are still getting a better performing oil across your entire fleet than your current petroleum CI-4+ oil.  So don’t take me wrong.  

But while this CJ-4 oil is the best that Amsoil can formulate within the specification requirements, and it is the best performer available in this group, the CJ-4 spec does compromise oil performance with brand-new limitations on the oil additive contents.   This is why Amsoil only recommends DEO “for use according to the longest service interval established by the engine, vehicle or equipment manufacturer”: there is concern that the additive package cannot handle the dramatically extended (25,000+ mile) drain intervals with the conservative safety margins that Amsoil’s other diesel oils are designed for.   Oil sampling analysis will be a more essential element than ever before in fleet management for 2007+ diesels.  

So in 2006 and earlier model diesels, always use the 15W-40 (AME) or the high-fuel-efficiency 5W-30 (HDD) if your goal is to maximize fuel economy and engine life while minimizing your maintenance costs.  Amsoil will NOT be discontinuing these CI-4+ oils anytime in the foreseeable future.

Which oil should you use for 2006 and earlier diesel models?

The two best choices on the market – per the published technical performance test data, field fleet testing, and product warranty – are the Amsoil 15W-40 Premium Heavy Duty Diesel & Marine oil (product code AME), or the Amsoil Series 3000 5W-30 Heavy Duty Diesel Motor Oil (product HDD).  Despite your owner’s manual recommendation of a 15W-40 oil, your PowerStroke/Duramax/Cummins/Volvo/Caterpillar engine – like nearly all engines – is designed to use a 30-weight oil.  The 15W-40 recommendation is not based on engine design, but on the assumption that 40-weight petroleum oils will often “shear back” to a 30-weight oil in diesels, and if you use a 30-weight oil that shears back to a 20-weight oil you will have wear problems (or worse).  Of course, AMSOIL’s full PAO synthetic HDD formulation will maintain viscosity as long as you are using it as recommended in a healthy engine (no fuel getting in the oil, for example) – so your engine will enjoy year-round benefit from the 30-weight oil it was designed for. 


Both oils are 25,000 mile oils that outperform every other available diesel oil on the market, and are LESS EXPENSIVE to use because of those extended drain intervals.  Both oils are also superb performers in gasoline engines.  Either oil will work well for you, but my best recommendation is for you to make an informed choice based on your specific needs.  Here are some suggestions to help you:


        For this Application…                                         Pick this oil:

             Fuel Economy                                           Series 3000 5W-30 (HDD)

    Cold Temperature Performance                             Series 3000 5W-30 (HDD)

    All-fleet oil for home/farm/garden                          Series 3000 5W-30 (HDD)

            Lowest oil usage                                              15W-40 (AME)

          OTR Freight Hauling                                 5W-30 (HDD) – or 15W-40 (AME)*

       All-fleet oil for class 3-8                              15W-40 (AME) – or 5W-30 (HDD)*

All-purpose oil for logging/heavy-construction                    15W-40 (AME)*


*While it is difficult to compare them, Engineers generally agree the thicker 15W-40 (AME) will provide slightly more wear protection than 5W-30 (HDD) in extremely heavy applications, particularly off-road/gravel/rock-crawling applications where drivetrains are subject to heavy torsional shock-loading.  However, for highway/city mileage, HDD fuel economy savings probably exceed savings from reduced wear with AME – if there is any reduced wear at all with AME in highway/city driving.

More diesel info here

October 23, 2006 Posted by | Diesels, Lubrication Oils & Fluids, Vehicle Maintenance | 5 Comments

2007 Diesel Regulations – Environmental Irresponsibility?

2007 Diesel-engine vehicles are all about an expensive attempt to meet the new EPA regulations by using high EGR percentages, Diesel Particulate Filters, CJ-4 motor oil specifications, and Ultra Low Sulfur diesel fuel.  Now, all this has increased the cost of fuel, reduced fuel economy by 10% (burning MORE non-renewable resources!), increased engine wear rates, and – one can argue – may well increase the amount of used motor oil dumped in the environment, which has a highly negative environmental impact.  So the questions need to be asked: Does the EPA’s strict new diesel emissions regulations really benefit the environment, or does it create a heavier environmental impact?   How important is it to feel good about ridiculously low NOx emission levels which have no demonstrable benefit? 

This could get quite technical, but I’ll keep it simple.  For low engine wear rates (prolonging vehicle life, and reducing both oil consumption and maintenance costs), you must control soot and acid content in the diesel motor oil.  Good levels of ZDDP (a Zinc compound) and sulfated ash are clearly the best and most effective ways to achieve those goals, producing low wear rates and high TBN’s (total base number) for neutralizing acids.  Having plenty of ZDDP and high TBN in a high-quality synthetic oil base-stock means that oil change intervals can be dramatically extended to 25,000 miles in typical diesel pickups, or – by adding bypass filtration systems – oil changes can be completely eliminated.  Amsoil turned this technology into a proven science decades ago, which has been proven in extensive oil analysis sampling and fleet engine rebuild results, and has been repeatedly noted for the strong environmental benefits: 25,000 mile oil change intervals produce more than an 87% reduction in motor oil useage.  The environmental benefits of “extended drain” oil and filter technologies include increased fuel economy, dramatic reductions in the amount of “dumped” used oil and of filters disposed, and improved vehicle emissions.

Unfortunately, the new CJ-4 spec places strict limits on what you can use to get good TBN, keep the engine clean (minimizing emissions increases), increase fuel economy, and reduce wear  – essentially it cripples the oil formulation so that we can’t get what we need for best use of resources.   Amsoil played a vital role in writing this spec, which is what made it possible for the vehicle OEM’s to meet the new EPA emissions reg’s and not destroy their engines or emissions equipment before the warranty is up (they hope).

The issue all goes back to NOx emissions: that’s the first “domino” in the chain, and I’ll walk you down the chain from link to link.  Both Oxygen and Nitrogen are abundantly present in the air anyway.  So the environmental importance of extremely low NOx emissions is highly questionable in my opinion (and I’m not alone in this).  Apart from this, the newer 2002+ diesels are VERY clean and environmentally friendly.  However, based on an assumed importance for extremely low NOx, the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) rates had to be dramatically increased – from a typical 10-15% for the earlier EPA standards, to an amazing 25-35%.  The proof of the technical ridiculousness of this is not that it creates hotter-running engines, but that it results in about a 10% reduction in diesel fuel economy – much of that due to a lot of unburned fuel that exits the exhaust (“soot” as black smoke).  That’s where the diesel particulate filters (DPF’s) come in: these are required in order to trap the soot (unburned fuel), then periodically burn off that unburned fuel – by consuming more fuel.  Once you do all that, you now have exhaust that is both clean AND extremely low in NOx emissions.

Now, you might say “wait a minute.  Do I understand correctly that in order to reduce NOx emissions, they are increasing fuel consumption by 10% – trading a small and very questionable environmental improvement for a 10% increase in the amount of fuel used?”  Yes.  You’ve got the environmental picture so far, except that the story gets worse. 

The DPF’s typically contain SCR technology (Selective Catalyst Reduction), which is a catalytic converter for diesels.  These “cat bricks” will slowly plug up from deposited solids that can’t be burned off, while the fuel economy will get worse and worse as the exhaust backpressure continues to increase.  OEM’s are hoping that they’ll “last” 150,000 miles before the fuel economy gets absurdly bad, but no-one really knows.  Many are concerned about the public backlash when people find out how ridiculously expensive it’s going to be to service or replace these units.  The main factors determining the effective life of an SCR/DPF are fuel quality, engine oil content, and the amount of engine oil that is burned.  (In other words, if you want to keep good fuel economy and avoid expensive repairs on a 2007 diesel for as long as possible, pay close attention!) 

Due to the sensitive nature of the DPF’s, automakers had to reduce every possible source of deposits that could kill DPF performance over time – primarily these two sources:

1) Sulfur in the fuel.  This was dropped from 5,000 ppm (parts per million) to 500 ppm in 1994 with the Low Sulfur Diesel (LSD), and now again in 2006 and 2007 – down to an unbelievable 15 ppm with Ultra Low Sulfer Diesel (ULSD).  Why is this bad?  Not because it’s a pollutant, but because it slowly plugs your DPF.  That’s why you DO NOT want to use LSD in a 2007 or later diesel: it kills your DPF 33 times faster. 

Problem is, the Sulfur is an important lubricant for the fuel injector pump and the fuel injectors, and Europe’s experience proved the ULSD puts these expensive components in a junkyard in far less than half their normal life.  U.S. experts don’t think the federal regulations will do much to ensure that fuel-station owners and attendants will remember to dose the diesel with the correct level of lubrication additives.  So a word to the wise: put your own additive into your fuel tank during every fillup!

2) Sulfated ash, Phosphorus, Sulfur, and Zinc in engine oils.  Those contents all play key roles in oil performance, but now they must be restricted.  Because after all, a very slight amount of oil does get consumed in the engine and exits through the exhaust.  And with higher EGR rates, even more oil is likely to be burned.  Again, the problem with each of these four is that they accumulate in the DPF catalyst “brick” and plug it up.

By severely limiting these elements and compounds in the motor oil, the performance capability of the oil has been limited.  And to a great extent, the use of synthetic oils becomes almost essential.  But whether synthetics or fossil-oil, this logically means that the diesel engine oil must be changed more frequently than would otherwise be needed, again consuming more natural resources that are non-renewable, and probably increasing the amount of used oil dumped in the environment.

Specifically, the CJ-4 oils are limited in their capability to reduce wear, to control/disperse soot, and to neutralize acids.  The soot and acid issue means that premium synthetics are limited to lower maximum extended drain intervals. At the same time, the higher EGR rates are producing more soot and more acid in the oil, both of which are proven to reduce engine life.  So oil performance and engine life have both been compromised by these CJ-4 requirements.  To better see what I mean, compare the specs for AMSOIL’s new CJ-4 diesel oil, with the flagship CI-4 Plus Diesel Oil: the new CJ-4 doesn’t perform near as well in the NOACK volatility or the 4-Ball Wear Test, and check out the huge difference in TBN’s.

Kudos to Amsoil, not only because their CJ-4 oil performance is still better than most CI-4+ oils, but because it’s available and has already logged over 12 million fleet miles: most oil companies still don’t have a CJ-4 diesel engine oil formulation, much less have it available in the U.S. market as of October 2006. 

So here are the cards we’ve turned over: the risk of increased motor-oil dumping, an additional 10% fuel consumption penalty (that just gets worse as the DPF back-pressure increases), an additional $700-7,000 per vehicle for the technology, and reduced engine life (at least compared to what it would otherwise be, not accounting for tribology advances that may offset the difference now or in the future).  Now that all those cards are on the table, who wins?   Does this make any environmental sense?  Are those penalties really justified merely in order to take very low NOx emissions to an extremely low level? 

Why did sales of 2006 diesels skyrocket as large fleets pushed to replace all older equipment with 2006 models?  Because the people who know the situation are deeply concerned about the large negative impact of these new regulations on our businesses and economy.  And don’t let the media fool you – the people who pay the bill for ALL of this are us – the consumers, and the taxpayers.

Knock, knock, EPA – is anyone with a brain at home?  Why would responsible environmental groups push for such results or support them?  Sounds like lunacy to me.  Has the EPA abandoned being an Environmental Protection Agency?  Since when did Congress vote to make them a Politically Correct Regulation Agency?  I vote for rolling back the 2007 NOx diesel emissions requirements, in order to reduce diesel fuel consumption by 10%, reduce the cost of the vehicles, reduce vehicle maintenance, extend vehicle life, and not force everyone to waste money to harm the environment while pretending to help it.  Anyone else on the side of sanity and holding government agencies responsible for their assigned roles?

Update on environmental FRAUD: 

October 23, 2006 Posted by | Diesels, Environment, Environmental Issues, Lubrication Oils & Fluids | 11 Comments

The Best Engine Oil Filters and Air Filters? Nanofibers rule!

“C’mon.  Give it to me straight.  What’s the best filter to use on my Audi, Corvette, Chevy, Mini-Cooper, Harley, Honda, Ford, Chrysler, etc?”  OK, I’ll tell you.  Let’s talk about engine oil filters and air filters.

There are some interesting ideas “out there” about filtration.  Two weeks ago I got into a couple of long e-mail exchanges about engine oil filter performance.  A former race-engine builder had the mistaken idea that racing filters are great for regular vehicles.  He didn’t realize that they’re horrible because they let the entire range of wear particles pass freely through the engine. 

And how many people put an oiled-gauze filter in their air intake as a “performance upgrade”, not realizing that they’ve probably tripled their engine wear rates?  K&N filters are probably the most popular example, and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I used to use them in all my vehicles.  K&N’s site is – just try to find data on the wear-particle sizes they remove, or how well they control wear.   Sure they have a million-mile warranty, but it’s on their washable/reusable filter – not your engine.  A number of people have wondered about the fact that their filter air-pressure gauge never moves with a K&N: if you can’t capture enough dust particles to clog up the filter, you’ll never see a significant pressure drop unless it’s covered with leaves and bugs.

On the other end of the spectrum are the new Ea filter line from AMSOIL – military nanofiber filtration technology that’s been used for years in the air-intake filter on the M1A1 Abrams battle tank for the US Army.   Nanofiber filtration technology has never been available for normal private vehicles until now.  These filters allow among the highest possible flow at nearly the lowest pressure drops, yet ALSO filter out the smallest particles of anything on the market – all at the same time.

Nanofiber construction magnification

Most people don’t realize how critical their filters are to vehicle life.   Here’s an excerpt from a friend of mine who has been employed by GM as an engineer for many years:

 “…EaO Oil Filters which have the best efficiency rating in the industry. EaO Filters provide a filtering efficiency in accordance with industry standard ISO 4548-12 of 98.7 percent at 15 microns.

From their site: An SAE report by David R. Staley, General Motors Corp., states: “The smallest particles most popular filters captured with high efficiency are sized 25 to 40-micron, depending on the filter brand…[however] controlling the abrasive contaminants in the range of 2 to 22-micron in the lube oil is necessary for controlling engine wear.” These tests also confirmed that removal of particles down to 2-micron in size virtually stops the abrasion wear cycle.

This paper also states “wear was reduced by 70 percent with 15-Micron filtration”. EaO, 98.7% Absolute Efficiency at 15 microns, according to this paper Amsoil has reduced engine wear by 70%!  Add to that a By-Pass system that effectively stops particles down to one micron in size and Amsoil has virtually eliminated wear all together, or at least to the point that the rest of the vehicle will fall apart first.” 

That ends the GM engineer’s comments.  By the way, the EaO filters (The O is for Oil) have completely premium construction throughout, and are warranted for 1 year or 25,000 miles in typical service.

Similarly amazing are the EaA filters (the A is for Air), because they are 98% efficient at 2 microns.  Note the GM engineer said that controlling the 2-22 micron particle size is how you control engine wear rates.   Most people don’t realize that airborne dirt is the source of the vast majority of wear particles.  So if your air filter takes out 98% of the 2 micron particles before they can enter your engine, you have “virtually eliminated wear altogether” – at least, the abrasive particle wear which is responsible for most drivetrain wear. 

Engineers will point out that this doesn’t address filtering out the additional wear particles created internally in the engine from areas of previous wear-particle surface damage.  That’s true, but a nanofiber air filter does allow that wear rate to rapidly reduce. 

The remaining part of wear is operational surface contact wear, which is handled by your oil filtration (full-flow and “bypass” filtration), and by your engine oil’s anti-wear properties… a topic for another time.

September 24, 2006 Posted by | Filtration Technologies | 1 Comment

VW 505.01 Spec – Is Amsoil AFL “approved”?

AMSOIL AFL Bottle LabelI got an e-mail this week from a mobile lube company owner, asking about the AMSOIL European Car Formula 5W-40 product (“AFL” product code). 

I use Amsoil in my personal cars and sell quite a bit to customers. There seems to be a lot of discussion on several boards about VW 505.01 Approval list and the fact that Amsoil is not listed. I can understand that there could be many reasons for this, but…”

AMSOIL AFL Bottle Label

The AMSOIL “European Car Formula 5W-40 Motor Oil” (AFL) IS approved by VW and Mercedes, and DOES meet the 505.01 VW spec and 229.51 Mercedes Benz spec.  Some older lists (especially the original lists) do not include the AMSOIL product, because for several months they (Volkswagon) would not release either the spec or testing requirements, or identify a testing lab that could perform the tests – this is a common delay/ploy intended to benefit the original oil mf’r (such as Castrol) who worked with them to formulate the spec and product.  The only questions are the product code and the age of the cases you have in stock.  If they have the AFL product code and have been purchased since about February 2006 (very rough approximation), they will have the new label you see here which is the new formulation.  The old version of Amsoil’s AFL did not meet the new spec because of the tighter restrictions on Zinc content, which is a key component to most high-end-product wear-reduction additive packages: some exhaust design engineers are concerned about the possibility that certain forms of Zinc could possibly reduce the long term performance of extremely low emission catalytic converters.  It remains to be seen whether these concerns have any validating data, or if the concerns are related only to specific zinc compounds.  Meanwhile the oil companies are forced to use much higher cost wear-control additives if they want to meet the new specification. 

For those who aren’t aware, this oil is designed to meet all the European specs for both gasoline and DIESEL engine applications, including the latest ultra-clean-emissions diesels with diesel particulate filter (DPF) units.  Here are some performance details on the product:

September 23, 2006 Posted by | Lubrication Oils & Fluids | , , , | Leave a comment

Better Fuel Economy – Made Easy

OK.  You want to get more MPG, but you don’t want to waste time and money.  And with all the marketing hype and “snake-oil” sales, you just don’t know where to start or who you can REALLY trust.  Yeh… been there. But I’ve got an advantage, and I can help you.

See, being trained as a Mechanical Engineer, I know how to put in the work to research, sort out the baloney, and verify and measure my conclusions with testing.  I’ve learned quite a bit in the last few years, and the good news is that I don’t charge you a dime for this info.  I’ve got a fully detailed article online that has over 30 ways to improve your gas mileage, located at 

Here are some of the best & biggest ways I’ve found to improve fuel economy:

  1. Use optimal tire pressure: it’s higher than the “normal” cushy 28-33 psi pressures often recommended by the vehicle manufacturer – typically you need 38-40 psi because that’s how the TIRE manufacturer designed them.  This will give you better and safer handling in all weather conditions, increase your tire life by 20-60%, and typically add 3-6% to your fuel economy.  Hint: DON’T use a typical cheap “stick” tire gauge, because they produce underinflated tires.
  2. Switch to premium long-life synthetic lubricants in your engine, transmission, differential, and grease fittings.  You want the ones that are designed – and warranted – for 25,000 or 35,000 mile oil change intervals, because they are cheapest to use and they deliver a typical 5-12% fuel economy improvement.  Didn’t know those existed?  We’re not surprised.  (Another secret: combine those with military nanofiber filtration technology for your oil and air filters.  Together, they deliver 1 year/25,000 mile maintenance intervals.)
  3. Upgrade your engine air intake system.  A nanofiber air filter can help mileage in some cases, but it’s a small benefit that’s dependent on the air intake design.  Aftermarket air-intake systems are available for most vehicles.  Two of the best are Airaid and AFE  Once you have the air intake system upgrade (ranging $150-$400), you can add a nanofiber air filter to maximize flow and engine protection:
  4. Upgrade your exhaust system.  Basically, anytime you improve your engine’s ability to pull air in or exhaust the combustion gases, you are improving your vehicle’s efficiency.  That translates to better fuel economy (unless your right foot gets more active).

How do you know what your actual fuel economy improvement really is?  You have to record your mileage and your gallons every time you fill up.  If you do that for at least 10 tanks before the improvements, and 10 tanks afterward, you can calculate the actual MPG improvement.  Anything less than 10 fillups before/after tends to make the MPG calculations less accurate because it doesn’t evenly include all your driving conditions. 

Again, there’s a lot more useful and FREE info on saving fuel:
Highflow Nanofiber Filters for air intake kits by Green, AFE, Airaid, Trueflow & others.

July 28, 2006 Posted by | Fuel Economy | Leave a comment

Hello world!

One of the greatest benefits of the modern world are mechanical devices.  Cars & trucks are great examples: we can’t hardly live without them, but might wonder if we can afford them.  What vehicle we drive is determined by a very individual combination of what we can afford, what we need, what is cool, what we found on the lot, what our job & hobby activities are, and what someone talked us into buying.  Much of our vehicle money depends on the fuel, the maintenance, and the mileage life of the vehicle.  A huge number of people and companies are trying to separate our vehicle-related money from our pockets.  How are we suckers supposed to tell fact from fiction, tests from slogans, and endorsement from advertising contracts? 

Well, here I go.  Trying to rescue people from the endless drivel of marketing slogans, false product claims, and media hype.  Forget 40 year old technology with 3,000 mile oil changes.  Think REAL synthetics.  Think military nanofiber filtration technology.  Think standardized ASTM test data.  Is that a bit much?  I’ll help you through it, in plain language, so you can learn how to NOT be taken advantage of.

A word about integrity and purpose:  Whether here or on my website at I will mention various lubrication or filtration products.  I may bash them, question them, applaud them, or heartily endorse those who are worthy.  One particular product line – AMSOIL – happens to stand much taller than the rest of the field.  And it may seem, to the majority of the uninformed public, that my comments or AMSOIL’s claims are just marketing baloney.  Not so.  These aren’t crazy infomercial claims – they’re simply the measured and recorded performance results of more than 30 years of engineered excellence, from the world leader in both lubrication & filtration technology. 

No-one else offers 25,000 or 35,000 mile engine oils, no-one else offers the modern breakthrough of nanofiber filtration technology, and no-one else guarantees their product performance.  In the simplest terms, that’s why I firmly believe that there are no better products in existence.  As a mechanical engineer with 10 years of experience in the automotive industry, I stand by the performance of Amsoil products.  I recommend these products based on hundreds of hours of personal research and years of personal use in my own vehicles, so I’m confident the products will perform as claimed (or better) – to produce great benefits to you.  

In fact, I became an Amsoil dealer in order to help YOU, and I tell you about Preferred Customer membership (giving up “my” retail profit), specifically so that you know I’m not being deceptive and trying to get your money. 

Beyond that, I have a personal dislike for deception, fraud, and dishonesty.  Our society is suffering much because of moral retardation, and censorship of inconvenient facts.  Or perhaps we could say that those who pay get their voice heard, while the truth is stored in the basement.  Gay lifestyle, evolution, environmental activism, these and many more areas are dominated by deception and strong social pressure to adhere to the liberal party line.  Not going to happen here.  It’s time for Americans to find their backbone again and stand for truth, no matter how uncomfortable it might be.

July 21, 2006 Posted by | Filtration Technologies, Fuel Economy, Lubrication Oils & Fluids, Uncategorized | Leave a comment