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Lubricant experts weigh in on oil additives

The Commercial Carrier Journal has published an article about the delicate balance that needs to be struck by additives in commercial vehicle oil, and questions whether aftermarket oil additives are really necessary or even helpful.

Petro-Canada Lubricants’ OEM technical liaison, Darryl Purificati, highlighted that between 10% and 20% of a typical commercial vehicle oil comes from its additive package, which balances performance while respecting OEM requirements. He added that a balanced additive content was vital for ensuring both performance and protection for an engine.

Rob Howes II of Howes Products, meanwhile, pointed at use of the ingredients like phosphorous, zinc, sulphur and calcium in oils to reduce friction and the need to replicate these in additives, adding:

“Otherwise, by swapping the additive in for a quart or gallon of your conventional oil, you are effectively degrading the oil. On the other hand, overuse of these ingredients, while great for the performance of the oil, can cause other problems, such as harming emissions systems or excess pollution.”

Howes also indicated that those using cheaper mineral-based oils would likely see the most benefit from aftermarket additives, while those using the best quality synthetic oils, which typically have a larger additive package and use superior ingredients, will not experience as much benefit.

Shell Lubricant’s Stede Granger also pointed to how engine oil manufacturers invest millions in creating the right additive formula and suggested that while an aftermarket additive may claim to increase performance in one area, it may have consequences for other areas of performance.

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