Motor Oil Oxidation

Like you might suspect, oxygen can lead to oxidation of engine oil. Though oxygen is nearly 1/5 of our earth’s atmosphere, and one of the most common elements in the entire universe, vital to our survival, too much oxygen can be a major detriment to your engine. 

What Exactly is Oxidation of Oil?

Oxidation happens when oxygen changes the chemical makeup of a substance. When items like an apple, or metal, come into contact with oxygen, it will impact them either by turning brown or rusting, respectively. 

Unfortunately, motor oil isn’t free from the dangers of oxidation. As oil and oxygen react, the oil molecules are changed and actually lose electrons, leading to several problems, like:

  • Sludge and deposit formation that reduces the efficiency of the engine and increases the likelihood that the engine will fail
  • Increased viscosity of the oil, which leads to decreased fuel efficiency
  • Depletion of additives, making the oil overall less effective
  • Quicker degradation, which requires more oil changes

Heat Makes Oil Oxidize Faster

Each 18 degree Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) increase in temperature doubles how quickly the oxidization is occurring. This spells trouble for drivers with turbocharged vehicles with increased heat capacity in comparison to older vehicles. 

Heat isn’t the only thing that can accelerate oxidation—certain types of acids, metals and even water can quicken oxidation, as well as large amounts of entrained air, which is called foaming.

Is it Possible to Prevent Oxidation of Motor Oil?

While it isn’t possible to completely prevent oxidation of oil, there are a few best practices to drastically reduce the rate at which the oil oxidizes. These include adding synthetic base oils and additives that inhibit oxidation.

Synthetic AMSOIL lubricants are formulated with base oils that have a heavily saturated molecular structure, which therefore means oxygen cannot attach to it. This offers a much more stable oil when it comes to heat and oxidation in comparison to conventional oils.

Because AMSOIL synthetic lubricants don’t have contaminants like their conventional counterparts, the base composition helps to slow oxidation. AMSOIL synthetic lubricants also have high-quality components that actively inhibit oxidation. The additives are designed to deplete over time, but because AMSOIL’s synthetic lubricants have better resistance, they last longer than the additives of their competitors.

So What Does That Mean?

These elements all combine to create a motor oil that:

  • Is longer lasting despite extreme stress and heat
  • Works to keep your engine running more cleanly and efficiently
  • Saves you money by requiring less maintenance

Did you know that AMSOIL Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil actually offers 28% more acid-neutralizing than Mobil 1, allowing for a cleaner and longer-running engine? Oxygen allows us to breathe, but AMSOIL can help you breathe easier knowing your engine is protected from oxidation.