Powered by Blogger.
Thursday, 11 October 2012

Expensive 0W-20 synthetic motor oil for inexpensive cars

Why are inexpensive cars using relatively expensive 0W-20 synthetic motor oil?

The main reason 0W-20 synthetic motor oil is becoming increasingly popular with automotive OEM’s, is to improve the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) reported to the USA Federal Government.

CAFE is the combined average fuel economy of all of a manufacturers vehicles sold. Minimum CAFE levels are specified by the Federal Government. In order for a vehicle manufacturer to avoid penalties for non-compliance on their large trucks and SUV's, which typically have poor fuel mileage ratings, when compared to
smaller cars, they need to sell sufficient volumes of smaller cars to offset the poor fuel economy ratings of the larger vehicles: And because of the volumes sold even miniscule improvements are significant when compounded by the numbers.

Fuel savings when using 0W-20 synthetic motor oil

Automakers can save between 0.5 and 1 percent on EPA fuel economy tests compared with 5W-20 motor oil. The tests are run starting with a cold engine, so the lower viscosity reduces friction until the engine warms up.

Indeed, when Honda first launched the 2012 CR-V, company engineers emphasized that they had gained 2 mpg in EPA fuel economy ratings mainly by reducing friction in the engine and other mechanical components by using thinner synthetic motor oil; not by introducing new technologies like direct fuel injection or continuously variable transmissions.

Lately, we've seen a proliferation of cars that require extra-thin 0W-20 synthetic motor oil. And while this was pretty exotic engine lubricant just a couple of years ago, the cars requiring this expensive synthetic oil are often much less than exotic. Cars such as the Honda CRV, Subaru Imprezza and Toyota Camry all require you fill them with 0W-20 synthetic motor oil.

Unfortunately it appears forecourt management hasn’t quite kept pace. Possibly the thinking is to rather stock oil for older cars that are more likely to have developed leaks or begun burning oil.

It’s not surprising to find that this thin oil is only available as a synthetic, at more than double the cost/ lt to the more common 5W-20! While oil companies could theoretically make 0W-20 non-synthetic oil, in practical terms it requires a synthetic process to make the oil meet all the relevant standards automakers require, making this avenue non-viable.

Previously 0W-20 synthetic motor oil had been limited to high-end and European cars, Japanese automakers have recently approved the use of these ultra-thin motor oils for more popular cars. In the USA 0W-20 synthetic motor oil currently makes up less than 1 percent of oil sales according to Kline consulting, up from almost nothing three years ago.

Although the cost of 0W-20 synthetic motor oil is higher, oil change intervals are extended.

The good news is that modern cars, using synthetics can go almost twice as far between oil changes as older cars. In addition, many new cars include oil-life monitors to take the guesswork out of oil change timing.

The saving in fuel costs coupled to the reduced impact on the environment is obviously good news but we wonder whether some consumers who purchase new inexpensive cars may feel blindsided by the increased cost of their oil changes. And since 0W-20 synthetic motor oil mainly only improves fuel economy for the first few seconds of driving, we question whether the fuel economy gains are really worth the added costs for consumers over the life of the car.

Regardless, it is quite possible that your next new car will require ultra-thin, synthetic 0W-20 synthetic motor oil. That is, until new standards come along. SAE is apparently already working on standards for 0W-16 and 0W-12 blends!

No matter whether you use 0W-20 synthetic motor oil in your car’s engine, one thing is for sure Habot Synthetic Lubricants have top quality lubricants; so give us a call for all your oil requirements.