Other Useful Day-to-Day Info


So far I have strictly devoted the Whistler’s Tune website to religious topics. But it occurred to me recently that there are some things that I have learned over the years by trial and error that I would also like to pass on to my readers. I know that those who were attracted to HWA are by their very nature continually seek out “truths” that many have not yet discovered, whether it be in the nutrition field, money management, or just in day-to-day living. So that is why I have decided to pass on a few things that I feel are “gems” of wisdom undiscovered by the masses in general. Keep in mind that one man’s diamonds are another man’s rhinestones! A few of those gems are in the area of car maintenance.


Master Index:


Topic A – Car Maintenance

Topic B – Health Maintenance


Topic A – Car Maintenance


Car maintenance has always been something that has held my interest – ever since I was a teenager. I realized that this was one very practical area where a little knowledge could save me a lot of money over the years. Being a full-blown penny-pincher, it is my second nature to seek diligently for ways to save money in every thing I do.


I even took “Automotive Maintenance and Repair” in college as an elective (I aced the course) with this in mind and fondly look back on it as the most useful course that I took in college. Over the past 20 years I have listened to anywhere from 2 to 5 hours of car repair “call-in” radio programs each week, and slowly but surely a little bit of car knowledge has rubbed off on me.


Currently I own and maintain 4 vehicles, and maintain an additional 2 that relatives own. Several of these cars are very high mileage vehicles – the highest mileage one being a 1992 Camry with 226,000 miles on the odometer.


Purchasing and maintaining the family vehicle can be one of the greatest financial drains on the budget that the average family will ever encounter. And some of my greatest savings have been in realm of buying and maintaining my vehicles. While I only do light mechanical work, what I do in the area of preventative maintenance is where I excel.


For example, I have found that it is to my advantage to always buy used vehicles, but only ones that are rated very highly by Consumer Reports. That is why I have favored Toyotas over the past decade. Also, I prefer Toyotas as they are cheaper to buy than Hondas, and the engine doesn’t self-destruct if the timing belt happens to break – whereas the Honda engine does.


[MARCH 2006 UPDATE: The April 2006 Annual Auto Issue of Consumer Reports verifies what I have been saying all along about Toyotas and Hondas. Let me quote from an article on current automobile reliability, page 15 [emphasis mine]: “We found that Toyota and Honda models have significantly fewer problems than cars from other automakers…Overall, eight-year-old Toyotas are about as reliable as three-year-old Fords and Chryslers and two-year-old Volkswagens. Toyotas have about half the problems of Volkswagens when new and only a quarter of the problems when five years old…Among the U.S. automakers, Ford consistently showed lower problem rates than Chrysler and GM for older vehicles.” The newer Toyotas now have engines that can be damaged if the timing belt breaks – but this should not be a problem because they now use timing chains, which are much less likely to break than a timing belt, and give more warning if they are getting excessively worn. Toyotas and Hondas are still the wisest choice! And believe it or not, BMWs and Mercedes-Benz are less reliable than the average car over the last 5 years.]


I have also learned, as mentioned above, that maintaining those vehicles religiously can save me a lot of money. That is why I have switched over to synthetic oils in the engine, transmission, differential, power steering, etc. And believe it or not, it costs me no more to use the better products than it did to use the standard oils! That is because I only need to change them ¼th as often.


I know what you’re thinking: you change your oil every 3,000 miles and use a premium oil – that should be just as good as using a synthetic oil. But guess what - it’s not nearly as good. You could be changing your oil only every 25,000 miles/ 1 year and be draining out cleaner oil when it’s time for the change than you are now at 3,000 miles! Sound impossible? Then carefully read articles #1 and #2 below that examine this issue from every prospective, and I think you may well have a change of heart.


These exact same 2 articles are what got me off regular oils and on to synthetics just in the past 2 or 3 years. Plus it didn’t hurt that I had a friend at work who had been using the same brand of oil that I decided upon, and had been having excellent results for 10 years or more.


What about using products such as Slick 50 in your engine – is that a good idea? Find out in article #3.


Looking for an excellent cleaner to keep your valves and intake and exhaust system clean as a whistle? Check out article #4.


I hope you enjoy and will benefit from the below articles.



Index of Topic A Articles (subject to updates from time to time):


  1. Exposing the Myth of the 3,000 Mile Oil Change
  2. Synthetic Oil: Rx for Long Engine Life
  3. Slick 50 and other engine additives – Buyer Beware
  4. Good for your car: Techron, the fuel additive








Article 1:


Exposing the Myth of the 3,000 Mile Oil Change


Excerpted with Permission from "The Motor Oil Bible" eBook 
Copyright 2000 Michael Kaufman ("The Motor Oil Bible" Author) 





     I believe the whole point of using a premium synthetic oil is peace of mind. I like knowing that I can trust the oil in my car to protect my engine. I like knowing that 300,000 miles down the road, I won't necessarily have to start looking for another vehicle (unless I'M ready). I also like knowing that when 20,000 miles rolls around, I still have a few thousand miles left to find time to change the oil.


     Now, you're probably saying to yourself, "This guy is nuts! There's no way that an oil could possibly last for 20,000 miles."


      Well, if you don't mind, I'd like to take a little time to, first of all, prove that I'm not in need of psychiatric care. And secondly, I hope that you'll allow me to explain why I believe that a premium synthetic oil CAN last for 20,000 miles or more.


     I used to be a pretty regular 3,000 mile oil changer. I had a very hard time believing that any oil could possibly last longer than 5,000 or at best 7,000 miles. Changing at 3,000 miles was very safe and "assured" me of no mechanical breakdowns.


     When I started looking at synthetics, my perspective changed a little. I figured, if I was going to go out and buy a $20,000 new car, I wanted to get the most for my money. Just protecting against breakdown for a couple hundred thousand miles wasn't enough. I don't take my car to the mechanic and hope he doesn't break it. I take my car to the mechanic so that he can make it better.


     The same can be true of your oil. Let's talk about oil changes first. If it's necessary to change oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, then so be it. We should just do it, and accept that it's an integral part of keeping our vehicles from breaking down.


     But, if it's not necessary, why do it? Just because our Dad did? My Dad used to listen to 8-track tapes too. Now we've got these nifty little CD's that sound clear as a bell and last pretty much forever. Am I going to listen to 8-track tapes? Probably not.


     I don't change my oil every 3,000 miles anymore either.


     There are only a few basic reasons why it is necessary to change your oil, and they all, in the end, have to do with decreased protection of your engine and decreased performance. If these elements can be minimized, then there would be little or no reason to change the oil.




     First off, all oil breaks down. That generally will include basestocks and additives. Without focusing on performance characteristics, the most significant difference from one oil to another is how quickly breakdown occurs. Although there are many factors that contribute to the breakdown of an oil, heat is one of the most important. Depletion and decreased effectiveness of oil additives is also important, but that will be discussed later.


     Petroleum oil begins to break down almost immediately. A high quality synthetic, on the other hand, can last for many thousands of miles without any significant reduction in performance or protection characteristics. Synthetics designed from the right combination of base stocks and additives can last almost indefinitely with the right filtration system.


     As alluded to above, the first major difference between petroleum and synthetic oil is heat tolerance. Flash point is the temperature at which an oil gives off vapors that can be ignited with a flame held over the oil. The lower the flash point the greater tendency for the oil to suffer vaporization loss at high temperatures and to burn off on hot cylinder walls and pistons.


     The flash point can be an indicator of the quality of the base stock used. The higher the flash point the better. 400 degrees F is the absolute MINIMUM to prevent possible high consumption.


     Today's engines are expected to put out more power from a smaller size and with less oil than engines of the past. Therefore, the engines run much hotter than they used to. That puts an increased burden on the oil.


     Even the best petroleum oils will have flash points only as high as 390 and 440 degrees F. Some actually have flashpoints as low as 350 degrees. For today's hot running engines, this is not nearly enough protection. Just about any synthetic you come across will have a flashpoint over 440 degrees. Premium synthetics can have flashpoints over 450 degrees with some even reaching as high as 500 degrees. That's a big difference.


      As a result, I think that it's quite obvious that these high-tech oils offer a substantial benefit when it comes to potential breakdown due to burn-off. Nevertheless, even though synthetics are MUCH less prone to burn-off than are petroleum oils, there is still some burn-off during extremely high temperature operation.


      Thus, it becomes important to discuss the manner in which petroleum and synthetic oils burn off. As a refined product, petroleum oil molecules are of varying sizes. Thus, as a petroleum oil heats up, the smaller, lighter molecules begin to burn off first.


      Since the ash content in many petroleum oils is higher than synthetics, deposits and sludge are left behind to coat the inside of your engine. Detergent and dispersant additives are used to keep these deposits to a minimum, but only so much can be done. Unless you're changing a petroleum oil every 2,000 to 3,000 miles some deposits are going to be left behind.


     In addition, as smaller particles burn off, the larger, heavier molecules are all that is left to protect the engine. Unfortunately, these larger particles do not flow nearly as well and tend to blanket the components of your engine which only exacerbates the heat problem.


     Synthetic oils, on the other hand, because they are not purified, but rather designed within a lab for lubrication purposes, are comprised of molecules of uniform size and shape. Therefore, even if a synthetic oil does burn a little, the remaining oil has the nearly the same chemical characteristics that it had before the burn off. There are no smaller molecules to burn-off and no heavier molecules to leave behind.


     Moreover, many synthetics have very low ash content and little if any impurity. As a result, if oil burn-off does occur, there is little or no ash left behind to leave sludge and deposits on engine surfaces. Obviously, this leads to a cleaner burning, more fuel efficient engine.


     As a side note (as it really has little bearing on when to change your oil), synthetics do a much better job of "cooling" engine components during operation. Because of their unique flow characteristics, engine components are likely to run 10 to 30 degrees cooler than with petroleum oils. This is important, because the hotter the components in your engine get, the more quickly they break down.




     This is an issue that some people really don't think about when it comes to oil changes. Most people understand that at cold temperatures, an oil tends to thicken up, and many people know that synthetics do a better job of staying fluid. However, many people don't realize why petroleum oils tend to thicken up. More importantly, though, they don't realize that this thickening process can wreak havoc on their oil.


     You see, because most petroleum oils contain paraffins (wax), they tend to thicken up considerably in cold temperatures. Therefore, in order to produce a petroleum oil that will perform adequately in severe cold temperatures, additives called pour point depressants must be used in high quantities. These additives are designed to keep the wax components of a petroleum oil from crystallizing. This maintains decent flow characteristics in cold weather for easier cold starts.


     In areas where the temperature remains below zero for any period of time, these additives are used up very quickly because petroleum oils are so prone to wax crystallization. As a result, the oil begins to flow less easily in cold weather temperatures. Of course, the result is harder cold starts and tremendously increased engine wear. Thus, the oil must be changed in order to provide the cold weather engine protection which is necessary.


     Synthetic oils, on the other hand, contain no paraffins. Therefore, they need NO pour point depressant additives. In addition, even without these additives, synthetics flow at far lower temperatures than petroleum oils. For instance, very few petroleum oils have pour points below -30 degrees F. Many synthetic oils, without any pour point depressants, have pour points below -50 degrees F. That's a big difference. There is, in fact, one oil on the market that has a pour point of -76 degrees F.


     Since synthetics do not have any pour point depressants, there is no chance of these additives breaking down or being used up over time. There are no additives to break down. Therefore, synthetic oils maintain their cold temperature flow characteristics for a very long time. As a result, there is one less reason to change the oil if using synthetic as opposed to petroleum.


     In addition, another part of cold weather driving that is extremely tough on an oil is condensation. Because it is so cold, it takes a fairly long drive to get the engine warm enough to burn off the condensation that occurs inside the engine. As a result, vehicles routinely driven short distances in cold weather will build up condensation within the oil. If left to do its dirty work, this water would cause acids to build up within the oil and corrosion would begin within your engine.


     So, there are additives in the oil which are designed to combat these acids. Generally, the TBN value of an oil will be a good determination of how well and for how long an oil will be able to combat these acids. Most petroleum oils have TBN numbers around 5. Most synthetics have TBN levels over 8 or 9. Premium synthetic oils (especially those designed specifically for extended oil drains) will have TBN numbers around 11 to 14. This allows for much better acid control for a much longer period of time, thus decreasing the need for an oil change due to cold temperature condensation.




     First of all, I need to make it abundantly clear that I am not speaking of "Miracle Oil Additives" such as Duralube, Prolong and the like, when I refer to oil additives. I am speaking of the additives that are in your oil right from the original bottle that you pulled off the shelf.


    Many people swear by these "extra" Miracle Additives, but I am a firm believer in independent lab results. Every independent test I've seen regarding special oil additives such as those mentioned above has given no indication that they provide ANY measure of increased engine protection. In fact, in some cases they may even increase engine wear.


     However, this is a whole other story that deserves a complete article. So, for the sake of remaining on topic, I am going to return to the article at hand and leave you to study this oil additive issue a little further on your own.


     It is true that the additives in many oils begin breaking down after only a few thousand miles. What needs to be recognized is that there are different quality "grades" of additives just as there are different quality grades of just about any other product that you buy. There are also different combinations of additives that tend to work for better and for longer when combined than when used individually.


     Making a blanket statement that additives in oil die after only 2 to 3,000 miles is like saying that automobile tires will only last for 30,000 miles. To be sure, there are plenty of tires on the market that can only last for 30,000 miles, and then they're toast. But, there are many tires on the market nowadays that will last over 75,000 miles.


     The same scenario holds true for motor oils. Many oil companies are using the same additives in their oils as all of the other companies because they are cheap. That's why the oil costs less. You get what you pay for. If they were willing to spend the money on top-quality additive packages for their oils, every synthetic on the market would be recommended for extended drain intervals, and they would all be more expensive. The technology has been around for years. The problem is that oil companies make more money selling a cheaper grade oil and making sure that you change it more often.


1. VISCOSITY RETENTION -- Shear stable viscosity index improvers help premium synthetic motor oils maintain their viscosity in the range appropriate to each grade over extended drain use. Conventional oils formulated with easily sheared viscosity index improvers often drop out of viscosity specification relatively quickly -- sometimes even before the end of a 3,000-mile oil drain interval. Viscosity loss leaves oils incapable of protecting engines from metal to metal contact and wear in high temperatures.


    NOTE: It was mentioned earlier that petroleum oils tend to thicken due to burn-off. The statement above is not contradictory to that. It just indicates that petroleum oil is vulnerable to two opposing types of breakdown, which, in the end, render the oil basically useless for lubrication purposes.


     2. CONTAMINANT CONTROL -- Dispersants keep contaminants, including combustion by-products, suspended in oil. The rate of dispersant depletion depends on the motor oil's additive treat-rate and the oil's contaminant load. Premium synthetic motor oils are formulated with high additive treat rates specifically to allow extended drain intervals.


     3. ACID CONTROL -- Total Base Number (TBN) describes the acid neutralization ability of an oil, with higher TBN oils providing longer lasting acid neutralization. Most passenger car motor oils are formulated with TBN of 5 to 7. Many synthetic motor oils are formulated with 9-11 TBN or higher. The result: longer and better acid neutralization capability allowing for extended drain use.




     There is also the issue of contamination. Oil will be contaminated in three major ways. One will be through debris that comes in through the air intake. Once it makes it through the air filter, it ends up in your oil. Once in your oil, it starts damaging your engine.


     The second source of contamination will be metal shavings from the inside of your engine. The lesser the quality of the oil, the higher percentage of these shavings because there will be more metal to metal contact inside the engine.


     The third source of contamination will be from combustion by-products. Combustion by-products will generally raise the acidity of your oil, which causes corrosion in your engine. In addition, they will be left behind as the engine oil burns off and will collect on the inside of your engine as deposits. To maintain the viability of your oil as well as protection of the engine, the contaminants have to be removed/neutralized.


     One of the best ways to help with this process is to keep most of the contaminants from ever getting inside the engine in the first place. That's where your air filter comes in. Conventional paper air filters are pretty worthless. How many times have you removed your air filter for replacement only to find that you could write your name in the dust that collected around the air intake? That's just the stuff that was left behind. Imagine the amount that actually ended up inside the engine.


     Part of the problem is that traditional paper filters do not fit all that snugly in the air intake compartment. They've improved, but they're still not great. More importantly, though, they let way too much debris shoot right through the filter element itself. As a side-note, they do not provide for very good air flow either.


     You see, as a compromise to allow enough air flow for your engine to run "properly", surface type air filtration media have to allow certain sized particles to flow through. If they made the filtration media any more tightly woven, not enough air would pass through quickly enough to keep your vehicle running.


     As a result, most paper filters won't catch anything smaller than about 20 to 40 microns with any real efficiency. In most cases, the more expensive the filter, the lower the micron level of filtration - and the lower the better, of course.


     20 to 40 microns is pretty small. A human hair is about 100 microns in diameter. The problem is that 60% of engine wear is caused by particles between 5 and 20 microns (most likely because there is so much more of it). If you don't keep that stuff out, it'll eat away at your engine.


     Consider an alternative air filtration device which is more like a sponge (actually, it's foam). Because foam is "squishy" it can be made slightly larger than the air intake compartment so that when installed it fits very snug with no room for air to bypass the filtration unit.


      In addition, it has millions of "tiny" channels through which air can flow, but these channels are not straight channels. They twist and turn through the filtration media. Air can pass through easily because these "tiny" channels are actually much larger than the channels through the paper filter we just discussed. This is possible because the paper filter only has one chance to get the dirt. This foam media has multiple opportunities to catch the dirt.


     You see, as the air travels through these winding channels, it can turn this way and that with ease. However, the dirt particles that the air is carrying travel in a straight line until they hit something. Obviously, at every turn, the debris within the air hits a "wall". You say, "Well, that's great, but why doesn't that dirt just bounce off the wall and keep right on going?" Good point. I tell you what, why don't we put a tacky substance in the foam so that when debris hits these "walls" it's stuck there like a fly to one of those sticky tapes. You say, "Yeah, that would work!"


     Not only will it work, it will work far better than the paper air filter discussed above. Because of the depth-type nature of the foam filter AND the added tack oil, it will remove most particles larger than 5 to 10 microns. Thus, most of the harmful stuff is stopped before it ever reaches the inside of the engine.


     Now, we've established that such a filtration media would seal up the intake compartment, should have better air flow, and we've established that it has more opportunities to catch the dirt, so probably less dirt makes it into the engine. The next question should be, will it hold as much dirt as the paper filter?


     Well, of course it will. It's much thicker than a paper filter, and, because of the nature of the foam media, has a virtually limitless surface area over which to collect dirt. In fact, the more dirt it collects, the better the filtration (with minimal reduction in air flow). It's also much more durable than paper, so it NEVER needs to be replaced. Just wash it once a year, re- oil it and put it back in the vehicle.




     Ok, so we've taken care of the air intake, but what about metal particles from engine component wear? Well, there are a couple of things going on here that lead to better protection from a synthetic oil. One aspect that proves to be very important is cold weather starts. Now, all of us have heard about cold weather starts for years from oil additive manufacturers. We've all heard, "Just put our additive in your crankcase and it will form an impenetrable layer over engine components that will protect your engine against wear, especially at start-up. In fact, it's so good, you could even drain the oil from your engine and drive it around the track a million times at 60 mph."


     Hogwash. Just about all of the companies that have made claims like this over the years have been brought up on charges by the FTC. They're full of it. However, they were right about one thing. Cold weather starts are killing your engine. Consider this:


     The pour point of an oil is 5 degrees F above the point at which a chilled oil shows no movement at the surface for 5 seconds when inclined. That's tech talk which basically means that the pour point of an oil is the point at which it ceases to be "pourable". This measurement is especially important for oils used in the winter.


     A borderline pumping temperature is given by some manufacturers. This is the temperature at which the oil will pump and maintain "adequate" oil flow and pressure within an engine. This is not provided by a lot of the manufacturers, but generally seems to be about 20 degrees F above the pour point. So, the lower the pour point the better.


     Most petroleum oils have pour points in the range of -15 to -35 degrees F. That means that their borderline pumping temperature is, at best, around -15 degrees F and probably closer to 5 to 10 degrees F. So, if you're running a petroleum oil, don't expect to go out and start your car at 0 degrees and have it purr like a kitten. It's going to spit and sputter and kick and scream for a few minutes.


     Why do you think that is? It's not getting any oil up into the engine. It's like trying to suck molasses through a tiny straw in an Alaskan January. There's literally nothing keeping the metal components in your engine from tearing each other apart. Every time you start your engine in conditions like this, your engine dies a little bit more.


     Synthetic oils, on the other hand, routinely have pour points around -40 degrees or colder. Some have pour points as low as - 60 to -70 degrees F. Granted, there are very few of us who will ever have to start our car at this temperature, but imagine how well these oils lubricate at -20, if it they still flow at -70.


     Now, I know that some of you live in areas where you almost never see temperatures under freezing. For you folks, the pour point of your oil may be a little less important, but it still serves to prove a point about the protection differences between petroleum oils and synthetics.


     In addition, lets get back to that impenetrable barrier over your engine components that oil additive manufacturers sputter about all the time. Although, there is no scientific testing that proves this will really occur in actual automotive applications when using an oil additive, synthetic oils do provide something similar to this.


     Generally, a thin film of synthetic oil will remain on engine components for days after it was last run. Petroleum oils tend to drain back down to the oil pan very quickly, leaving no oil film to protect your engine at start-up. Many auto techs and backyard mechanics can attest to this after doing engine tear-downs. Those using synthetic oil generally will have a thin film of oil left on components even if the engine has been sitting for awhile.


     It's certainly not impenetrable, and I wouldn't go draining your oil after installing 6 quarts of synthetic just to see if your engine still runs, but it does serve a purpose. Your engine should virtually NEVER see metal to metal contact, whether in hot or cold climates. That's something that a petroleum oil can't do.


     In addition, because of the higher film strength and better lubricity characteristics of synthetic oils, they routinely perform better on standardized ASTM wear scar tests. This would indicate a higher level of engine protection and would certainly lead to fewer engine wear particles in an engine. Hence, fewer contaminants in the oil to necessitate changing it.




     Only one type of contaminant left to discuss: combustion by- products. These little buggers can wreak havoc in an engine. Not only can they form deposits on the inside of an engine which will rob it of performance and, ultimately, life expectancy, they will also tend to raise the acidity of the lubricant.


     Higher acidity levels in your oil can lead to severe corrosion and break-down of engine components. In turn, this break-down leads to more oil contaminants and the necessity for an oil change.


     Three things keep these contaminants in check: the TBN of the oil, high efficiency oil filtration and tight ring seal. The most important of these three is ring seal. If the number of combustion by-products entering your oil can be reduced, there will be less necessity to remove or neutralize them.

     Poor ring seal allows combustion by-products to pass from the combustion chamber into the crankcase where they contaminate the oil. Tight ring seal keeps them out. Synthetic motor oils encourage a tighter ring seal than petroleum motor oils do.


     As we discussed earlier, TBN (total base number) is a measure of how well a lubricant can neutralize acidic combustion by-products. The higher the TBN, the better the protection against these acidic by-products and the longer that protection will last. Hence, the possibility of longer oil drain intervals with oils that have high TBN values.


     Oil filtration is the last component that must be discussed when making the case for extended oil drains. The next section in this series addresses this critical component.




     Now, on to oil filtration. Even having taken care of all other issues relating to oil contamination, there is still a certain amount of dirt and debris in your oil which must be taken care of. Hence, there is a necessity to maintain adequate oil filtration in order for a lubricant to remain viable. Even though the extra dispersancy additives keep dirt and debris surrounded and impede contact with engine components, those contaminants must still be removed. This is where your oil filter comes into play.


     First of all, the statistics previously mentioned regarding engine wear haven't changed. 60% of all engine wear is caused by particles between 5 and 20 microns. Unfortunately, most oil filters on the market today are lucky to remove even a small percentage of particles under 30 to 40 microns. This, again, leaves most of the harmful debris in your oil.


     The actual filtration efficiency of a particular filter really depends upon the filter manufacturer, and it is sometimes very difficult to get any specific numbers from them regarding their filters' actual filtration efficiency.




     If you do any research on your own, you'll find that most manufacturers no longer use micron levels to rate their filters. This is a result of some manufacturers' shady representation of their filters using micron ratings. You see, some filter manufacturers would indicate that their filters would remove x micron particles and leave it at that ("x" being whatever arbitrary number they chose to print). Of course, consumers would take this to mean that all particles larger than this micron level would be removed, which is not necessarily the case.


     The truth is that chicken wire will remove 5 micron particles. It will even remove 1 micron particles. BUT, it will not do so with very good efficiency. The key is, how efficient is the filter at removing x micron particles. If you don't know how efficient it is at a certain level, the micron rating means nothing.


     So, most companies have gotten away from micron ratings (to avoid the confusion) and have gone to an overall efficiency rating. In other words, an industry standard test is used in which oil is contaminated with a certain number of particles of varying micron sizes. At the end of the test, there is a measurement taken to determine the total percentage of ALL of these particles that were removed by the filter. That percentage is then stated as the overall filtration efficiency of the filter.


     Some companies use a single pass test, others use a multiple pass test. Both are perfectly valid and will give you an excellent way of determining how well a filter will do its job, but you should not try to compare results from a single pass test to results of a multiple pass test. You'd be comparing apples and oranges. In either case, high efficiency filters will rank in the low to mid 90's for filtration efficiency. Off-the-shelf filters will rank in the mid 70's to mid 80's for filtration efficiency.




     Nevertheless, you may still want to compare filters using micron ratings. If this is the case, the following is a good rule of thumb. A filter is considered nominally efficient at a certain micron level if it can remove 50 percent of particles that size. In other words, a filter that will consistently remove 50% of particles 20 microns or larger is nominally efficient at 20 microns.


     A filter is considered to achieve absolute filtration efficiency at a certain micron level if it can remove 98.7% of particles that size. So, if a filter can remove 98.7% of particles 20 microns or larger, it achieves absolute efficiency at that micron level.


      Most off-the-shelf filters are based upon a cellulose fiber filtration media. Most of these filters are, at best, nominally efficient at 15 to 20 microns. They won't generally achieve absolute efficiency until particle sizes reach 30 microns or higher.


     High efficiency oil filters have filtration media made of a combination of at least two of the following: glass, synthetic fibers and cellulose fibers. Those that use all three are generally the best in terms of filtration. Those that use only two will fall somewhere in between. The best of these high efficiency filters will achieve absolute efficiency down to about 10 microns and will be nominally efficient down to 5 microns or so.




     The fact is, you would probably be amazed at how much engine wear could be eliminated simply by using more advanced oil filtration. In paper 881825 the Society of Automotive Engineers indicates that a joint study was performed between AC Spark Plug and Detroit Diesel Corp. The study found that finer oil filtration significantly reduced the rate of engine wear.


     According to the paper, the tests regarding engine wear within a diesel engine were performed using four levels of oil filtration. They chose filters whose efficiency rating was very high for particles of 40 micron, 15 micron, 8.5 micron and 7 micron sizes.


     The same was done for gasoline engines, except that the relative sizes were 40 microns, 30 microns, 25 microns and 15 microns.


     To make a long story short, the researchers had this to say:


     "Abrasive engine wear can be substantially reduced with an increase in filter single pass efficiency. Compared to a 40 micron filter, engine wear was reduced by 50 percent with 30 micron filtration. Likewise, wear was reduced by 70 percent with 15 micron filtration."


     By combining this type of oil filtration with the superior protection and cleanliness of a premium synthetic oil, you will virtually eliminate engine wear.




     Of course, filter capacity and quality of construction are also important considerations. If a filter has low capacity and high efficiency, it will clog up quickly. As a result, your oil will begin to bypass the filter completely and will become contaminated very quickly. Filters with high efficiency and low capacity should definitely be changed at 3,000 to 5,000 miles or 3 months - without question.


      Filters which have high capacity but low efficiency will last longer without becoming saturated, but will not protect your engine as well. Of course, filters with low capacity AND low efficiency are at the bottom of the barrel and should be avoided. Generally, you can call a filter manufacturer and ask them specifically what their filtration efficiency and capacity ratings are for your filter. They should have that information.


     If they give you a micron rating, ask them how efficient their filters are at removing particles of that micron size. You might also ask them at what micron level their filters are nominally efficient (50% removal) and at what level they achieve absolute efficiency (about 99% removal). If they can't or won't provide you with a straight answer, I wouldn't purchase their filters.


     If they give you an overall percentage efficiency rating, ask them if that is for a single pass test or a multiple pass test. That will be important if you are to compare those ratings with other manufacturers so that you'll be comparing apples to apples.




     For those of you who just want to know what's best, here's a breakdown of the top 3, in my opinion. Mobil 1, Pure One and AMSOIL provide the greatest filtration efficiency in the tests I've seen. Mobil 1 and Pure One both achieved 93% overall filtration efficiency on the SAE HS806 test. AMSOIL scored a 94%.


     In regards to filtration capacity, the AMSOIL outscored them by a wide margin. In a comparison of filters recommended for the same application, the AMSOIL could hold 21 grams of particulate matter. Comparable filters from Mobil 1 and Pure One held 18 grams and 15 grams respectively. So, the AMSOIL filter held 17% more than the Mobil 1 and 40% more than the Pure One.


     The AMSOIL also appears to have a little heavier construction, but everyone seems to have different criteria they use to judge this. You'd have to cut the filters apart for yourself to make your own judgments in this matter.


     The AMSOIL company recommends changing their filters at 12,500 mile or 6 month increments. Based on their numbers, this seems reasonable. They have better capacity and stronger construction which should allow them to achieve longer change intervals. Since AMSOIL filters have been recommended for these intervals for about 20 years, it seems reasonable that they know what they're talking about.


     Mobil 1 and Pure One recommend changing their filters at your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations. That generally means change the filter at each oil change which amounts to changing the filter every 3,000 to 7500 miles depending upon driving conditions. Because of the lower capacity of the Pure One filters, I'd recommend changing them closer to 3 to 5,000 miles. The Mobil 1 would probably last 5,000 to 7500 miles with good results.


      As a side note, you can determine if your oil is bypassing your oil filter by touching your filter after at least 45 minutes to an hour's worth of driving. If the filter is hot, you're probably in good shape. If it's not, the oil is likely bypassing the filter, and it is time for a change.




     Let's assume you drive 25,000 miles per year. The Pure One is about half the price of the AMSOIL or Mobil 1 in most cases, and runs about $5.00 for a filter for a 96 Ford Taurus 3.0L. However, I recommend that it be changed more often due to a lower filtration capacity. With changes at 5,000 miles you're looking at 5 filters x $5 = $25. If you decide to play it a little safer and change at 3,000 miles (which I'd recommend), you're looking at about 8 filters x $5 = $40 for the year.


     The Mobil 1 and AMSOIL filters will run you roughly $10 for a filter for that same application. If you take the Mobil 1 to the high end at 7500 miles, that amounts to about 3 filter changes or $30. Playing it a little safer at 5,000 miles puts you at 5 filter changes or $50 for the year.


     If you use AMSOIL's recommended filter changes (12,500 miles), that amounts to 2 $10 filters or $20 for the whole year. Seems to me this is the better buy. You get slightly better filtration efficiency and fewer filter changes for less money. Can't see how it gets any better than that.




     Of course, the first question that comes to mind when most people hear of high efficiency filtration is oil starvation. How can an oil filter remove particles that much smaller and still provide adequate oil flow to critical engine components?


     Well, again I refer back to the high efficiency foam air filter we talked about earlier in this eBook. You'll remember that it is designed to have a much thicker filtration media that will trap particles throughout the entire media instead of only on the surface as with a paper air filter.


     This is also how high efficiency oil filters work. Instead of trapping all of the oil contaminants on the surface of a paper (cellulose) type filtration media, high efficiency oil filters have a depth type media which will trap contaminants throughout the entire filtration media. This, combined with the different type of materials used for the filtration media allows high efficiency oil filters to remove more and smaller particles without restricting oil flow - just as high efficiency foam air filters remove more and smaller particles without restricting air flow.


     There is also the option of using magnetics to help with filtration. Some filters are magnetically charged so that they hold all engine wear particles within the filter, no matter what the size. These are not necessarily a bad idea, but they do not remove other oil contaminants which are not metallic in nature. Therefore, if possible, you might want to consider some combination of magnetic filtration AND high efficiency filtration media.




     There you have it. If this "little" article doesn't at least get you thinking about switching over to synthetics, I'm not sure what will convince you. I know that this article is a little less technical than it could be. There are many other differences between petroleum and synthetic oils which were not touched on here, but if we had covered those too, this article would have been 50 pages long. Most of the information presented here was meant to deal strictly with the concept of extended drain intervals and why they're possible. If you'd like to learn more about the technical aspects of automotive lubrication and filtration, you might want to consider purchasing "The Motor Oil Bible".


     There are a couple of companies out there that are probably good for extended oil drain intervals. I'll speak more about the specific companies in the next chapter. However, since many people use Mobil 1 and believe it to be the best synthetic available (mainly because it is the most recognizable name), I thought I might spend a little time touching on that particular company.


     In my opinion Mobil 1 oils are most likely good for 10,000 to 15,000 miles, but the company does not make that recommendation. I have known of many people who do very well running Mobil 1 for these intervals, but it has not been designed specifically for extended drain use. Moreover, the company probably would not back you if you had any mechanical problems resulting from such extended drain use, since they only recommend "manufacturer recommended change intervals".


     In light of the information above, I would like to leave you with a few notes of importance. If a synthetic oil is not specifically recommended for extended drain use, and you choose to attempt extended drains, you do so at your own risk. Extended drain synthetic oils must be formulated with special long-life additives and blended base stocks so as to maintain their lubricating properties for an extended period of time.


     In addition, in order to get the full benefit from extended drains, it is most beneficial to be using high efficiency oil and air filtration as well. If you are using traditional filtration methods, you will likely have to change your oil more often and will end up with reduced engine protection. If you're going to do it, do it right. It will cost you less in the long run, and probably in the short run to




     Now, you may be saying to yourself, "This is all great, but there is something I just don't understand. If there are oils out there that will last for 25,000 miles - and have been for over 25 years - why am I still being told to change my oil every 3,000 miles? Either someone is lying or someone just doesn't have all of the facts.


     Well, I believe that it is a little bit of both. You've probably heard that 3,000 mile oil changes are necessary from friends, family, possibly your mechanic and definitely your local quick lube operator. The problem is, most of them are just reiterating what they've been told for years - and it has served them fairly well.


     Most of them simply do not understand lubricants nearly as well as they think they do. Even those mechanics who are brilliant when it comes to automotive engines are not necessarily experts on lubrication. Lubrication technology is much more involved than most of them think.


     Nobody can know everything, but in order to give people the most accurate advice, it pays to make sure that you have all of the relevant information.


     I believe that there are even a large number of quick lube operators that don't know nearly as much about lubricants as they'd like to think. However, I also believe that some of those same quick lube operators that are telling you to change your oil at 3,000 mile intervals might very well be using synthetic oil for extended oil drain intervals in their own vehicles.


     It's sad, but true. Oil companies and many quick lube operations know that synthetic oils are capable of extended drain intervals but are too afraid of lost revenue to admit it. In fact, here are a few quotes from different people in the automotive and lubrication industries which should illustrate what I mean:


     According to GM's Mike McMillan, "Certainly there is technology available to raise the standard and extend the drain interval without compromising engine durability or removing the performance cushion ... Europe is already at a 9,000 mile drain interval and is seriously considering twice that". Of course, you have to remember that most vehicles in Europe are using synthetic oil.


     Most other auto manufacturers seem to agree with Mr. McMillan. In the May 1996 issue of Lubes 'n' Greases representatives from the three major US auto makers detailed how lack of knowledge about available lubricant technology led to an unsatisfactory PCMO (Passenger Car Motor Oil) upgrade.


     In "GM's Tough Agenda for Lubes," Lubes 'n' Greases reports that extended drains are a customer service issue. "...We're very concerned about engine durability and oil drain intervals particularly as they impact reducing the amount of maintenance our customers are required to perform. Customers want to minimize their vehicle maintenance time and changing engine oil is their single biggest remaining maintenance item. Addressing that issue is very important to us."


     Even quick lube operations know that the technology exists to extend oil drains well beyond the 3,000 mile mark. Some are embracing extended drain technology as a way to increase customer satisfaction as well as company profits by working WITH the improvements in lubrication technology, instead of against them.


     Dennis Brooks, Vice President of SpeeDee Oil Change and Tune-Up, implied as much in a statement he made in the November 1996 issue of National Oil & Lube News, a respected periodical in the lubricants industry.


     In regard to the extended drain issue Brooks said, "I believe there will be greater potential to move into selling a higher percentage of synthetic oil."


     Others in the quick lube industry, however, are running scared. Jim Sapp, Convenient Automotive Services Institute (CASI) president, is quoted in the same article as saying, "For years, Jiffy [Lube] has preached the 3,000 mile or three month oil change interval. And fortunately for us, many motorists take it as gospel. But we need to do more as an industry ... It's not inevitable that intervals will expand to the point where we can no longer stay in business." In other words, it IS possible to continue to keep motorists in the dark about extended drains.


     In the October 1996 issue of Lubes 'n' Greases, Quaker State CEO Herbert M. Baum suggests, "We need to go on the offensive. Stop fighting with each other and go forward as a group; fight for regular oil changes. We have to build business as a group, and it's the role of our associations to promote the use of our products."


     Nevertheless, Quaker State now is manufacturing and selling an oil which they say can last for 7,500 miles (although they neither recommend nor guarantee those intervals). They're trying to ride the rail and pad their pockets, but eventually a train is going to come along, and they are going to have to choose a side or get bulldozed.


     You see, extended drains are happening and have been scientifically proven for nearly 30 years to be safe as long as the oil used has been designed for extended drain use. As of May 2000, I know of only three motor oil manufacturers that actually recommend extended drain intervals for their oils: AMSOIL, NEO and Red Line.


     Other synthetic oils are likely to last longer than 3,000 to 5,000 miles (probably closer to 7 to 10,000), but the manufacturing companies do not recommend, nor will they back such practices with any sort of warranty.


     AMSOIL recommends and guarantees up to 35,000 miles or one year for most automotive gasoline applications and has recommended slightly shorter 25,000 mile changes since the early 70's. NEO has also been in business since the early 70's and recommends 25,000 miles or one year intervals. Red Line gives a range of 10,000 to 18,000 miles as the recommended change interval, depending upon your driving habits.


     Of these three oils, AMSOIL sells for the best price at as little as $5.70 per quart for their 25,000 mile oils or just over $8.00 per quart for the Series 2000 35,000 mile oil. Red Line follows at an average of $7.50 to $8.00 per quart for all of their oils. NEO appears to be the most expensive at close to $10 per quart.


     If used for their full recommended drain interval, all of these oils are more economical than an off-the shelf synthetic oils that you find at the local K-Mart, Walmart or Meijer. These typically run about $3.50 to $4.00 per quart but should be changed 3 to 5 times as often.




Copyright 2000 Michael Kaufman ("The Motor Oil Bible" Author) 



Article 2:


Synthetic Oil: Rx for Long Engine Life

(from Specialty Cars Magazine)

by Curt Scott


[Publishers Note: Since specialty car enthusiasts and street rodders often tend to be zealots when it comes to optimum care and maintenance of their cars, and also because so many of these cars utilize smaller, harder working engines, we at Homebuilt Publications felt that the following article would be of particular interest to Specialty Cars readers. Our own interest in the subject is personal as well as professional, since we have firsthand experience with the benefits of synthetic lubricants.]


One of our cars is a 1979 GM sedan whose odometer and maintenance records reveal over 200,000 miles of driving, with never a missed-beat of its 350 cu. in. gasoline engine, and which has never once required an engine repair... not even a minor one! It still runs as well as the day it was new, it's sparkling clean inside, and all cylinders check out to original compression specs. For all but the first 12,000 miles it has thrived on a strict diet of premium synthetic motor oil, changed only once every 25,000 miles. When we began research for this article, no one had to convince us that synthetics offer distinct advantages.]


Many of the things we take for granted as conventional aspects of twentieth-century life were unimaginable only a few decades ago. For instance, who would have foreseen in the 1940's, that in the 1980s, tiny electronic marvels called transistors would have effectively replaced the unreliable vacuum tube, or that a single, miniature silicon chip could duplicate the functions of an entire, roomsized digital computer, or even that hundreds of different exotic and classic automobiles would eventually be reborn and replicated in a new material called fiberglass, for assembly by the owner?


So it is with the rapidly emerging synthetic lubricant market. Those naysayers who only a decade or so ago prematurely dismissed synthetics as "snake oil" are now among the staunchest devotees of laboratory manufactured lubricants. Among these believers are top lubrication engineers, race car drivers, vehicle fleet operators, and millions of private motorists around the world. What factors have contributed to the growing enthusiasm for synthetic lubricants? Simply put, synthetically produced lubricants have demonstrated beyond doubt that they are far superior to their conventional petroleum counterparts in fulfilling the many and varied tasks demanded of oil by today's modern engines and power trains.


Indeed, synthetic lubricant technology is swiftly progressing to a point where it is possible that engine wear may no longer continue to be the major limiting factor in the expected life span of motor vehicles. An examination of synthetic engine lubricants, along with a review of both laboratory and real world comparative test results, will assist the reader to understand the differences and the advantages offered by these state-of-the-art motor oils.


The first question demanding an answer is: “Just what is synthetic oil”? Technically speaking, synthetic lubricants are made by chemically combining, in a laboratory, lower-molecular-weight materials to produce a finished product with planned and predictable properties. Don't be confused by this technical double-talk. What this means is that synthetics are custom-designed products in which each phase of their molecular construction is programmed to produce what may be called "the ideal lubricant."


This process departs significantly from that of petroleum lubricants, whose physical components, both desirable and undesirable, are inherited from the crude oil from which they are refined. Crude oil possesses thousands of varieties of contaminants, depending upon the oil's geographical and geological origins, which no amount of refining can entirely remove. Corrosive acids, paraffins and other waxes, heavy metals, asphalt, naphthenes and benzenes, as well as countless compounds of sulfur, chlorine, and nitrogen, remain in the finished product. Equally as important, petroleum oil molecules, as contrasted to uniform-sized synthetic oil molecules, vary significantly in size, shape, and length.


When your engine heats up, the smaller molecules evaporate, while the larger ones tend to oxidize and become engine deposits. As a result, refined petroleum lubricating products differ widely in their overall quality and performance. The presence of and the resulting drawbacks of the undesirable constituent elements lie at the very root of the considerable performance differences between synthetic and petroleum-based motor oils.


As an adjunct to the narrative, it is important to point out those products that are sometimes confused as synthetics: currently marketed graphite motor oil is a “petroleum-based” oil with a graphite compound added for additional lubricity (slipperiness), and is not synthetic. There are also numerous aftermarket oil “additives” on the market, offering claims of increased lubricity through the use of graphite, Teflon, or metallic compounds. One is even supported by the bold declaration that it will "repair and seal" cylinder-wall wear and restore lost performance. Hmmm. Once again, while these products may or may not perform as claimed, they are not synthetics, and it may be safely stated that no additive or additive package is capable of conferring to petroleum oil the performance advantages of a premium synthetic oil.


Consequently, as petroleum-based products, they will invariably break down as petroleum oils do under the conditions of stress and heat produced by an internal combustion engine. Public bewilderment and even skepticism have also occurred in years past, as unscrupulous, fly-by-night marketers advertised and promoted with exaggerated claims, oils and additives as "synthetic" which were of dubious quality, and in some instances were low-quality petroleum products merely labeled "synthetic." The names and addresses of the major, reputable manufacturers of synthetic automobile lubricants are listed at the end of this article for those who desire further technical information. Because Amsoil products are sold only through authorized distributors, the company suggests that you call their headquarters for the name of a dealer near you, or consult your local telephone directory Yellow Pages under "Oils, lubricating."


We should note also that many of the performance attributes of synthetic engine oils are also provided by a host of other synthetic lubricants, such as automatic transmission fluids, chassis and bearing greases, and gear lubes. Unfortunately it is beyond the scope of this article to detail the various benefits of the synthetic products.


Contrary to what many may believe, synthetic lubricants are not a recent development. As early as the 1930s, Standard Oil of Indiana conducted research into synthetic oil. More serious development and production was commenced by the Germans during WWII, as their conventional lubricants congealed and froze on the Eastern front and stalled their advances into the Soviet Union. As jet engines were developed after the war, it soon became evident that conventional lubricating oils couldn't withstand the high temperatures and pressures, and synthetics came to be used in all military commercial jet aircraft engines.


Then in the 1960s history repeated itself, and it was again cold weather that spurred further development work as the U.S. Army needed better lubricants for Arctic and Antarctic use. Still later, NASA specified synthetic-based lubes for all space vehicles, including the Space Shuttle. Today's automotive synthetic lubricants have evolved as an almost direct result of these demanding military and extraterrestrial lubrication requirements.


The U.S. Department of Energy lists no fewer than sixteen performance parameters for any modern automotive motor oil. These are:


-Low temperature fluidity (low pour point)


-Low volatility...i.e. resistance to evaporation and resultant oil thickening...good oil economy, additional engine protection


-High temperature oxidation resistance (of the oil itself)


-Lubricity...the oil's slipperiness


-Thermal stability...resistance to performance loss due to temperature change


-Compatibility with engine metals, elastomers (i.e. "rubber" seals), oil filter elements, paints, and finishes


-Wear protection and film strength


-Freedom from deposit formation...good dispersant and detergent characteristics


-Compatibility with other engine oils and additive packages


-Extended drain capability


-Water stability...propensity to remain separate of water molecules


-Corollary effects on an engine's octane requirements


-Ambient-startup protection...ability to protect against oil starvation during initial startup


-Anti-rust properties


-Compatibility with catalytic emission control systems


-Compatibility with alcohol-containing fuels


Chief among the areas in which the pre-planned and predictable properties inherent in premium synthetic lubricants significantly surpass those of premium petroleum oils are: low temperature fluidity... and thus improved ambient startup protection; low volatility (higher boiling point...greater resistance to evaporation); high-temperature thermal stability; oxidation resistance; lubricity; fuel economy; film strength, and wear protection; extended drain capabilities; water stability; and high natural detergent characteristics (resulting in a cleaner engine with less additive content).


For purposes of comparison, we have taken a well-known synthetic engine oil, Amsoil 10W-40 synthetic, and contrasted its characteristics with those of several prominent 10W-40 conventional motor oils. Below is a condensed summary of the results of several closely- monitored field and laboratory tests:


Amsoil Synthetic Petroleum

10W40 10W40


1. Effective lubrication range -60 to +400 F 0 to +300F


2. Viscosity increase after 9% 102 to 400%

single-sequence (64 hour)

Olds III-D Test


3. Wear (mg. weight loss, Falex test) 1.1mg 3 to 6 mg


4. Fluidity @ -40F flows freely solid


5. Volatility (evaporation @ 300F 1% 28%

for 22 hrs)


6. Crankcase Temperature (Track Test) 240F 290F


7. Flash Point (D92 test) 470F 400F


8. Oil consumption (50,000 mile test) 42% less than -

petroleum oils


9. Intake valve deposits (50,000 miles) 32.1 grams 75.5 grams


From this data it is readily apparent that synthetic lubricants have substantially broadened the horizons of engine lubricant protection. Simply by comparing the lubrication-temperature-range comparison, the limits of petroleum lubricants become evident. On both ends of the relevant temperature spectrum, synthetics demonstrate conclusively the ability to significantly extend the thermal regions in which the engine is protected. This has a special significance for those automotive powerplants which normally work harder and produce higher internal and lubricant temperatures....that is to say: high-performance engines, smaller high-RPM engines, air-cooled engines, turbo-charged engines, Diesels and rotaries.


Furthermore, climatic conditions in which synthetics allow operation with full engine protection are for all practical purposes boundless, whereas with a petroleum oil the protective capacity significantly diminishes with temperature extremes. Note particularly the comparative viscosity (oil thickening) increases after the 64-hour Olds III-D test (item 2)...9% for the Amsoil synthetic vs 102-400% for the multigrade petroleum oils; the reduced wear (item 3); and the reduction in crankcase temperatures (item 6). These favorable results are quite typical of virtually all similar test comparisons between petroleum- and synthetic-based motor oils.


Low-temperature fluidity ("flowability") becomes an important consideration where winters are severe. Because synthetics are constructed "building block by building block", contaminates present in petroleum oil which contribute to low-temp thickening are entirely absent in synthetics, and fluidity is stable to as low as -65F.


Petroleum oils have an inherent percentage of paraffin crystals from their crude oil origins. As temperatures drop, these crystals enlarge and cause the oil to congeal. In extremely cold weather, petroleum oils become a solid mass, thus impeding cold starts, and when the engine does fire up, causing a period of engine operation without adequate lubrication until the lubricant is warmed enough to allow proper oil flow. Furthermore, because of synthetics' better ring-sealing characteristics, fewer contaminants generated by fuel combustion are allowed to escape into the oil pan. Thus the low-temp fluidity and film-strength properties of synthetics both contribute significantly to engine (and battery/starter/alternator) life in colder climes.


In one cold cranking test conducted by Mobil, at -30F, with Mobil 1 in the crankcase, the engine turned at an average speed of 152 RPM, and started; using 10W-30 and 10W-40 premium petroleum oils, the same engine cranked at 45 and 32 RPM respectively... and failed to start. Mobil states that its Mobil 1 (5W-30) all-season synthetic may be used in any engine where 5W-30, 10W-30, 10W-40, or single-viscosity oil is normally recommended by the manufacturer; its new "Formula 15W-50" synthetic is designed to replace and outperform those SAE 15W-40 and 20W-50 conventional oils preferred by some drivers for use in high-performance powerplants.


Ambient-start oil starvation is, at any temperature, a major cause of engine wear. Expert estimates vary as to how much abrasive wear is attributable to lubrication-starvation during initial startups, but it is generally conceded that a disproportionate share of an engine's abrasion and wear is caused during those few moments after initial cranking during which the oil has not yet reached full circulation. NEO Oil Company, a well-established and highly respected producer of synthetic lubricants, has recently developed an extended-life lubricity additive for its synthetic motor oils specifically designed to remain on the bearing surfaces after the engine shutdown and thus deliver additional lubrication and wear-protection for initial startups.


On the other end of the thermal spectrum, synthetic oils are also renowned for their high-temperature thermal stability. Superior high-temp stability ensures an engine lubricant's capacity to protect vital engine components during very-high-temperature operation, such as hot summer driving, sustained high-speed driving, repetitious stop and go metropolitan driving, driving in mountainous terrain, pulling a trailer, or any driving with a small harder-working piston or rotary engine. Underhood temperatures also take a quantum leap with the use of power options, especially air conditioning, and because of emissions devices and emissions-related engine redesign.


It is important to note that, even though the dash gauge may register only a 200F or so water/coolant temperature, the temperature of the sump and of all the assorted bearing surfaces significantly exceed the water temperature, and often surpass 500F on the piston ring and cylinder wall areas. These high-temperature surfaces serve to rapidly decompose petroleum oil and additives, as well as contribute to their shorter service life, while the synthetic is largely unaffected.


Beyond the protection afforded an engine during these particular instances of high-operating temperatures, high-temp thermal stability moreover permits an engine oil to deliver overall extended service life (significantly longer drain intervals) in all driving conditions, because it prevents the phenomenon of sludge and carbon deposit formations on critical engine parts (valves, valve guides, oil channels, lifter assemblies, piston rings, et al.) due to oil thickening, a problem commonly attributable to petroleum oil breakdown at high temperature.


As these deposits accumulate in the oil circulatory system, oil flow drops, thus accelerating engine wear. To the user of synthetics, the benefits are (1) reduced wear of critical engine components; (2) significantly reduced sludge and varnish... a cleaner engine; (3) reduced engine drag due to uniform viscosity; and (4) increased fuel economy due to reduced component wear.


Mobil Oil recently reported the results of simulated hot-weather performance with its Mobil 1 synthetic as evaluated by a standardized, grueling engine test known as the Olds III-D. In this test, an Oldsmobile 350" V8 engine is run for 64 hours at a 100-hp load and 300F crankcase oil temperature. This test is designed to measure an oils ability to resist oxidation and evaporation (and consequent thickening) at high temperature. (If it seems odd that oil would thicken at high temperature, consider the analogy of heating a pan of cold syrup on a stove. At first it would become quite thinner, but if left for, say, several hours, the resultant evaporation would cause the syrup to become progressively thicker.) In order to qualify for the American Petroleum Institutes top "SF" rating, a motor oil must pass the III-D test.


This means that it can thicken to no more than 375% of original viscosity at the end of 64 hours of continuous running. Mobil states: "To test the extra stability provided by the Mobil synthetic oil, we decided to run the III-D for 128 hours...double its normal length...and without oil drain. The Mobil 1 synthetic easily passed the test under these brutal conditions, thickening only an insignificant 20%. For comparison, a high-performance premium conventional oil was tested under identical conditions. That test had to stop at 96 hours; the oil had turned solid. Another premium conventional oil forced the test to stop at 112 hours, well before the end of the scheduled double length." Amoco conducted an identical double-sequence III-D test on its Ultimate 5W-30 synthetic; it also passed the test with flying colors, thickening only 18%.


"Film strength" refers to the amount of pressure required to force out a film of oil from between two pieces of flat metal. The higher the film strength, the more protection is provided to such parts as piston rings, timing chain, cams, lifters, and rocker arms...wherever the lubricant is not under oil-system pressure. Synthetics routinely exhibit a nominal film strength of well over 3,000 psi, while petroleum oils average somewhat less than 500 psi. The result is more lubricant protection between moving parts with synthetics.


Viscosity is a crucial consideration when improvements in fuel economy are desired. It stands to reason that the freer an engine turns, the less fuel it will require to accomplish a given amount of work. Studies have demonstrated conclusively that engine drag is directly related to the viscosity of the motor oil. Generally speaking, the lower the viscosity, the better the fuel economy of the engine. In formulating lower-viscosity oils, it has become clear that synthetics are the base stock of choice. This is because it is possible to produce a synthetic oil of a given low viscosity without incurring the excessive oil consumption (due to evaporation) and resultant thickening of the same low-viscosity petroleum oil.


Indeed, the U.S. Department of Energy in its pamphlet entitled "An Assessment of the Effects of Engine Lube Oils on Fuel Economy", states: "It is evident that low-viscosity oils will help minimize engine friction losses in the prevalent hydrodynamic region and thereby achieve better fuel economy. In addition, such oils help to reduce friction during ambient (cold) start by increasing the oil flow rate to critical engine parts. However, low viscosity engine oils, blended from conventional petroleum base stocks, may have problems with high oil consumption and engine wear.


There is also the possibility of decreased catalytic-converter life and efficiency due to the increased levels of phosphorus in the exhaust gas from the oil additives. One solution is to mix some synthetic oil with the mineral (petroleum) oil, or use a synthetic base stock entirely. This low viscosity, low-volatility character of synthetics has become increasingly important because many automobile manufacturers are now recommending lighter-weight (chiefly 5W-30) oils for use in their products, and because the trend toward smaller engines creates substantially more heat and stress on the oil used. In these smaller, high-output powerplants, enough heat is generated to cause a lighter petroleum lubricant to evaporate and significantly increase viscosity within weeks of its introduction into the crankcase.


High temperature stability, as well as oxidation-resistance, is of absolutely paramount importance when it comes to turbocharged engines. Because it must both lubricate and cool the turbo unit, the oil MUST be specifically formulated to withstand the turbo's extremely high operating temperatures. Oil film temperatures often exceed 450F in the turbo unit during operation, and can surpass 650F(!!!) during a short period immediately following engine shutdown...both figures far exceeding the thermal limits of petroleum oil. Synthetics, with their capacity to maintain proper (low) viscosity and lubricity under these high heat and stress conditions, and with their natural resistance to oxidation, have risen to the fore.


It is also important to note that the high-temperature-stability properties of synthetics are designed primarily into the base-stock oil itself, rather than being achieved primarily with additives. The advantage with this approach is twofold: (1) Additives, which may account for as much as 25% of the volume of a can of premium petroleum oil, by themselves have little or no lubricating properties per se. Thus the more the additive content in an oil, the less lubrication is available to the engine; and (2) Most additives tend to volatilize (evaporate) and deteriorate with heat and age and use, so that the overall effectiveness of the lubricant itself is significantly diminished within only a few thousand miles of driving.


It is also important to note that, contrary to what many take for granted, higher viscosity in and of itself does not translate into better engine protection. Extensive testing has shown the opposite to be in fact true. As long as a lower-viscosity oil is formulated to resist evaporation and provide high film strength, this lighter oil will actually deliver more complete protection to the engine parts, since its more rapid circulation delivers both better lubrication per se, and far better cooling characteristics...a critical advantage, given that oil flow furnishes up to 30% of an engine cooling requirements.


Prior to the introduction of synthetics, however, the problem of evaporation (and the resultant thickening of the remaining oil) was addressed primarily by increasing viscosity. In short, don't be concerned with the relatively lower viscosity ratings of some synthetics. Synthetic lubes are a whole new ball game.


The remarkable ability of synthetic oils to reduce internal operating temperatures is far too important to ignore, since high operating temperatures contribute directly to premature failure of mechanical components and gaskets and seals. Coolant (i.e. water/antifreeze) cools only the upper regions of an engine. The task of cooling the crankshaft, main and connecting rod bearings, the timing gear and chain, the camshaft and its bearings, and numerous other components must be borne entirely by the oil. There are three identifiable reasons why synthetics do a better job of cooling an engine: (1) Because of both the oil's lubricity (slipperiness) and it's stable viscosity, less friction-- and thus less heat-- is generated in the first place; (2) The molecular structure of the oil itself is designed to more efficiently transfer heat, even compared against the thermal conductivity properties (ability to absorb and dissipate heat) of an identical-viscosity petroleum oil; and (3) As mentioned in the preceding paragraph, the more rapid oil flow of these lower-viscosity synthetics contributes significantly to the efficient transfer and dissipation of heat.


Because of all these factors, oil-temperature decreases of from 20F to 50F are quite common with the use of synthetic oil. One might even say that the heat-reduction properties of synthetics are synergistic...by helping to reduce its own temperature, the synthetic oil is simultaneously enhancing the lubricant's overall performance characteristics.


The advantage of extended drain intervals is one of the salient benefits of synthetic motor oils. In a landmark copyrighted article on synthetic motor oils which appeared in Popular Science magazine several years ago, the champion long-oil-drain performance of all was related by Ray Potter, Chief of Lubrication Research at Ford Motor company for many years until his retirement several years ago. "Ten years ago", Potter related, "I was an un-believer like Saul of Tarsus, who in his early years went about breathing fire, death, and indignation on the Christians, before Paul saw the light. So was I at the Scientific Laboratory of the Ford Research and Engineering Laboratory. Two companies asked if I was interested in synthetic oils, and I told them they were too expensive. But one of them sent some anyhow and we put it in the engine house and forgot about it.


"Then one day one of the boys in the dynamometer room called and said they were short of oil and had an engine that would be dropped from scheduled testing unless we put something in it. I remembered the synthetic oil and gave him that. They ran it for 192 hours and called and told me I had better come over and take a look, so I looked and I had never seen anything so clean in my life. I said let's put it (the oil) back in and run it another 192 hours. That's where the petroleum oils sludge up badly. But when they had run it again, it was as good as when we looked at it before. So I said, 'Let's run it again', and that was the first triple sequence I ever ran. We put the oil through 576 hours and that marvelous little Ford engine sat there running like a sewing machine and we pulled it down and it was fantastic."


It is readily apparent that the performance and protection advantages exhibited by synthetic engine lubricants in laboratory tests suggest that their public acceptance will substantially increase in the future. But what about "the real world"? Does their performance parallel the test results and the claims of their manufacturers? The answer appears to be "Yes."


In the same Popular Science article on synthetic oils, veteran race car driver Smokey Yunick was quoted: "When you disassemble an engine that's been run on petroleum oil, if you examine the rings and cylinder bores with a glass you'll see ridges and scratches--that's the wear going on. With polyol (a variety of synthetic), when you take the engine apart everything has the appearance of being chrome-plated. In the engine we ran at Indianapolis this year we used a polyol synthetic. When we tore the engine down, you could still see the original honing marks on the bearings...no wear at all. We put the same bearings back in because the crankshaft never touched the bearings. I've never seen that before."


Another example of the capacity of synthetic oil to deliver exceptional engine protection and performance is a recently completed demonstration involving the Amsoil Corporation of Superior, Wisconsin, a major manufacturer of a wide range of premium synthetic oils, automatic transmission fluids, chassis lubricants, and related products. This demonstration involved the use of its 100% synthetic engine oils in a New York City taxi fleet. The test, sponsored and supervised by a major lubricant additive manufacturer, compared the overall performance capabilities of Amsoil's 10W-40 synthetic oil with a number of leading petroleum motor oils. The demonstration was scheduled to encompass 60,000 miles of New York taxi service on each car. With the high levels of idling time typically encountered in such service, the total number of "engine miles" of each car was estimated to be about double the miles registered on its odometer.


Initially the demonstration was to have required that each taxi, equipped with a Chevrolet 229 CID V6 engine, have its oil and filter changed every 3,000 miles. But Amsoil insisted that an alteration of the test procedure be instituted. The company's intent was to push its synthetic oil to the extreme and evaluate how it compared to the petroleum oils drained at the originally specified, 3,000 mile intervals. The twelve Amsoil-lubricated vehicles were thus divided into three groups of four taxis each.


Group 1 (Amsoil) would double the control interval, with oil and filter drain at 6,000 miles; Group 2 (Amsoil) would quadruple the control interval, with oil and filter drain at 12,000 miles; and Group 3 (Amsoil) would not change the oil for the duration of the test; thus multiplying the (petroleum) Control Group's drain-control interval by twenty times. In place of changing the oil, these (Group 3) cars would be equipped with Amsoil's ByPass oil filter, claimed by the company to keep (synthetic) oil analytically clean for up to 25,000 miles of driving, without replacing the element. The by-pass filter element was changed at 12,500 mile intervals for the duration of the test.


Following the year-long demonstration, each of the engines was disassembled, both to determine the levels of sludge, varnish, and rust that had accumulated inside the engine, and to carefully measure the amounts of wear experienced on critical engine components. Pictured on the previous page are representative samples of various components of the test engines. In the first example, the pistons and intake valves of the petroleum Control Group (oil and filter changes every 3,000 miles), are illustrated. The lower set of photos represent the same engine components from an Amsoil Group 3 vehicle. Note the substantially reduced varnish and sludge deposits on the synthetic-oil lubricated components, and the remarkably good overall condition of the Amsoil Group 3 piston rings and valves.


To summarize the findings and conclusions, the test facility responsible for the demonstration submitted this statement: "The data presented in this report indicates that the Amsoil synthetic SAE 10W-40 passenger-car motor oil formulation...provided protection of the test engines from excessive wear and deposit formation, far beyond the normal 3,000-mile change interval." In fact, the level of protection was such that those engines in which the original synthetic oil was run for the entire duration of the (60,000-mile) test showed less wear than did the Control Group vehicles using premium, 10W-40 petroleum oil and 3,000-mile drain intervals.


Many users of synthetics have reported that their fuel octane requirements have been lowered after switching to synthetics. One possible explanation for this phenomenon is that, because synthetic oils produce fewer combustion-chamber carbon deposits, due at least in part to its superior piston-ring-sealing properties, pre-ignition due to such deposits is correspondingly decreased. Also, at least in theory, spark plugs and valves should perform better and last longer for these same reasons.


Renowned race-car driver Bobby Unser stated in an article in The Family Handyman magazine: "I've had tremendous success with synthetics, both grease and oil, in all my cars. In several instances where we have compared petroleum-lubricated engines with those which used synthetics, the latter were cleaner, with less carbon and sludge. And the engines produced more horsepower, which meant better mileage and longer life."


Of particular relevance to VW-based kit car owners is a letter received by NEO oil company from a grateful customer in Paramount, California; excerpts as follows: "Thought we'd take a moment to write regarding the performance of your NEO synthetic motor oil...we decided to try your oil in our shop van, an early VW with a late model 1600cc, dual-port engine...Our findings, to say the least, are impressive!


With absolutely no changes other than to drain out 2 1/2 quarts of a very good racing-grade 30-weight oil and the replace it with an equal amount of your 10W-40 synthetic, we noted “an immediate 50F drop” (emphasis ours) in average cylinder head temperature (from 350F to 300F), and a corresponding drop in oil temperature, from (former) highs of 275-290, now down to 230-240 degrees...Great news for VW owners, since high operating temperature is probably the number one cause of premature engine failures...Also significant, we have reduced our oil consumption from one pint every 300-350 miles (depending on load conditions), down to NIL. In fact, as of this writing, we've put 6363 miles on the van and have added only 3 pints! As we stated earlier, we are quite favorably impressed with your product and are recommending it wholeheartedly."


Still another letter from a synthetic-oil user reads in part: "...My GM owner's manual recommends cleaning the PCV filter every 15,000 miles and replacing the (PCV) valve every 30,000. My odometer now registers well over 100,000 miles, and both components are still immaculate, like new, even though I've never had to clean the filter or replace the valve. Hell, except for a quick inspection prior to writing this letter, I've long since stopped checking them altogether. These guys have apparently never heard about Mobil 1..."


Finally, we asked a respected petroleum engineer why auto manufacturers don't specify synthetic oils for use in their products. His response was both candid and revealing: "Auto manufacturers must, by necessity, stick to the 'generic' SAE standards in recommending oil grades and viscosities...and synthetics are way ahead of SAE standards. The top SAE motor oil classifications (SD, SE, SF, etc.), rather than being benchmarks of excellence, are merely 'highest common denominators'. The highest SAE rating (currently 'SF'), for example, is determined not for the state-of-the-art performance of the better synthetics, but rather for the best possible performance of petroleum oils *currently achievable by a majority of petroleum oil producers (emphasis ours).


It is not surprising then that synthetics pass these qualifications effortlessly. What is needed is an entirely additional set of SAE standards for synthetics. Such a grading system would, in effect, start where current SAE (petroleum-oriented) specs leave off. If such a premium grading system were adopted by the Society (SAE), then you'd see the automakers universally recommending lighter oils in grades and with recommended drain intervals completely beyond the reach of petroleum products..."


So, given all of this information, what do we know about the performance characteristics of synthetic oils? We can say that they have significant performance and protective advantages over their petroleum counterparts, across an extremely wide range of operating temperatures. We have observed that synthetic oils, as a result of their stable viscosity and low volatility, are capable of providing superior protection to smaller, higher-RPM engines currently predominating the automotive market. We have seen that in "real-world" demonstrations, synthetic oils display extended drain capabilities far in excess of the recommended drain intervals of conventional petroleum motor oils. And finally, we have seen that synthetic lubricants demonstrate a remarkable ability to curtail sludge, varnish, and wear, in any engine.


"But", you say, "if synthetics are so good, why aren't even more motorists using them?" First and foremost, many folks simply aren't aware of synthetics. Others who are aware are deterred by the higher purchase cost, without investigating the advantages. Even many professional mechanics haven't kept abreast of the advances that have occurred in the field of synthetic lubricants, and frequently tend to dismiss them without bothering to check the wealth of current literature and impressive test results regarding them.


Secondly, garages and dealerships often hesitate to recommend any extended-drain lubricant, perhaps because their livelihood is to a large degree dependent upon frequent servicing and repairs. We learned of one (probably commonly-occurring) instance where a dealership mechanic told a customer: "You can't use synthetic oil in you car...the engine wasn't designed for it!" Still another reason is that many of the advantages and cost savings provided by synthetic lubricants are difficult to quantify, and thus difficult for many consumers to appreciate.


For instance, how does one place a precise value upon such benefits as..."cleaner engine; longer engine life; fewer repairs; lower operating temperatures; fewer oil and filter changes; less oil consumption; lowered octane requirements; longer battery/starter/alternator/spark plug/turbo unit/PCV component life; increased fuel mileage; the convenience of exceptional four-season performance with a single motor oil...and so on." On the other hand, it is quite simple to compare the purchase costs of conventional vs. synthetic, and to ignore the real cost-and-performance comparisons in actual operation.


Do you prefer to save $12 or $15 per oil change by using a petroleum oil, even knowing that it should be changed six or seven times as frequently as a premium synthetic? Or are you more interested in the bigger picture, irrespective of the fact that many of the very real benefits of synthetics cannot be precisely quantified in terms of dollars and cents? All available evidence indicates that synthetic engine oils offer performance advantages *not achievable with any refined-petroleum product*.


Does all of this mean that synthetic motor oils are superior to conventional petroleum oils? If you value your automobile engine and would like to keep it in peak, trouble-free operating condition year after year and far beyond its normal expected life, our conclusion is "Yes, without question."


[We at Specialty Cars would like to extend special thanks to Peter L. Clark of Amsoil, Earl Kirmser of Earl Kirmser Inc./Mobil Oil, and Paul Baker of Neo Oil company. Without their unselfish cooperation and technical assistance, production of this article would not have been possible.]



Synthetic Motor Oils: Are They For Every Engine?


After reading the accompanying article, many may feel that it is to their advantage to switch to a synthetic engine lubricant. There are, however, several things a prospective synthetic user should know in order to make the proper decision.


First, in order to obtain optimum cost and performance benefits, it is important that your engine does not consume or leak an excessive amount of oil. Because of the generally higher purchase cost of synthetics, constantly replacing lost oil can become expensive. This is not to say that oil consumption or leakage will increase with the use of synthetics, only that replacement of lost oil is more costly. The view was once widely held that any high-detergent-action oil would increase leakage, by dissolving "false seals" formed by engine sludge. Not so, say most experts, who explain that motor oil detergents and dispersants are designed only to prevent or inhibit sediment formation, and have little or no effect at all on previously established crud deposits.


Second, most engine and lubricant manufacturers recommend that synthetic oil not be used during the "break-in" period of an engine. The reason for this is that synthetics, possessing extraordinary lubricity and lubricant film strength, do not permit the metal wear necessary for the seating of piston rings. A change to synthetic motor oil should wait until you new or rebuilt engine has completed the break-in period of six to eight thousand miles.


Warranty-period compliance is a question with many motorists, and there is currently no one answer to cover all contingencies. With the development of extended-drain motor oils, both synthetic and petroleum, most of the major automobile manufacturers have relaxed their once-rigid compliance requirements. On an individual case basis, the usual procedure is to determine first the cause of engine failure. If the cause is found to be a factory flaw, warranty compliance is generally not questioned. In any event, oil-related engine failure during the warranty period is a rare circumstance indeed. If the failure should be found to be oil related, most oil producers will stand behind their product and cover any repair cost.


Many extended warranty plans, however, are offered at new car dealerships, sponsored not by the manufacturer, but by third-party vendors. There's a Latin phrase to cover the issue: Caveat emptor...Let the buyer beware. In the worst-case scenario, they may search for any excuse to void their warranty. Our advice is to avoid extra-cost extended warranties. Not only are they expensive at the outset; pressure is often applied by the new car dealer for you to have all of your service work done in-house at dealership rates. Save your bucks and take a cruise.


Finally, if you know that your engine has significant sludge or varnish buildup, common among petroleum-lubricated engines with higher mileage or that have had infrequent oil changes, it is sometimes recommended that it be flushed with an engine cleaner before switching to synthetics. This process helps to remove those deposits that have accumulated as a result of the decomposition of the previously-used petroleum oils, and enables the synthetic oil to better perform the functions of keeping the engine clean and reducing wear.


Since all of the major synthetic motor oils available today are entirely compatible with petroleum oils, there is no need to flush a relatively clean engine in order to switch to a synthetic. Some synthetics producers, however, do caution against mixing different brands of synthetics with one another, since their compositional origins may be quite different.




How Well Do Oil Filters Match Up to the Performance of Synthetics?


Oil filtration is an essential ingredient in the overall equation of engine lubrication. The impurities and wear metals circulating in the oil must be affectively contained to prevent engine wear and crud-deposit buildup. But all oil filters are not created equal, and care should be taken to ensure that the oil filter you use provides proper protection for your engine.


There are three basic types of engine oil filters: pleated-paper spin-on filters, full-depth spin-on filters, and by-pass (supplementary) filters. Each is designed for specific filtration tasks.


The original-equipment type pleated paper filter (AC, Fram, Purolator, et al.), in which a rigid sheet of filtering paper is folded accordion-style and inserted into a metal housing, is by far the most common variety of automotive oil filter. Because of the large volume of oil-decomposition sludge produced by petroleum motor oils, a paper filter should be changed along with the oil every three or four thousand miles when using petroleum oil. By using synthetics this change interval may unquestionably be substantially increased since these congestive byproducts are greatly reduced, if not entirely eliminated. Both Mobil and Amoco confidently endorse change intervals of 25,000 miles for both the filter and their synthetic oil.


In any event, this type of filter should be replaced periodically, not exceeding twelve months. The reason for this recommendation lies not with the filter clogging, but with the limited life of the paper element itself, since with both age and use it tends to deteriorate and eventually fail. Paper-element failure and inferior filtration capabilities are particularly prevalent in the case of cheap, discount filter brands. This is no area to scrimp on quality. If you choose to use a paper filter, stick with a brand whose quality you know you can trust.


The full-depth type, spin-on filter is identical in external appearance to the pleated-paper filter, and is installed in the same manner. The filtering medium is a thick "blanket" of fiber, which filters throughout its entire depth (hence the name), contrasted to the surface filtration method of a pleated paper filter. Amsoil's depth filter utilizes a dense, cotton linter element, that according to the company, filters particles down to roughly 1/6 the size of those allowed to recirculate through a paper filter.


The bypass filter is a supplementary filtering system, designed to "super-filter" from the oil most of the remaining impurities and particles that have been allowed to pass through the spin-on filter. A by-pass unit possesses the ability to filter minute contaminants and particles from the oil, in some cases measuring down to well under one micron, compared to a spin-on (depth-type) filters 4 or 5 microns, or a spin-on (pleated paper) filter's 25-40 microns. Bear in mind that virtually all engine/piston ring deposits and a substantive amount of wear result from minute crud particles that have routinely recirculated through the full-flow paper filter. A top quality by-pass filter can virtually eliminate oil-suspended debris, at the same time extending and enhancing the benefits of synthetic oil.


One such unit, the Oberg Filter, (distributed by Baker Precision Bearing, 2865 Gundry Ave., Long Beach, CA 90806), employs a reusable, ultra-fine stainless steel filtering element, and uses an adapter plate for simple and straightforward installation either in place of, or in addition to, the spin-on filter. Fram offers an automotive by-pass filter in its product line that features a pleated-paper element and easy "spin-on" replacement similar to original-equipment-type units. Ask for the Fram "PB50" with mounting hardware.


Amsoil's by-pass unit is connected to the oil pressure sending unit and returns oil to the pan, thus requiring some mechanical ability or the services of your mechanic for the initial installation. The company states that its by-pass unit, which employs a user replaceable, pressed-fiber element, refilters all the oil in an engine every five minutes, and keeps it analytically sparkling clean for the (recommended maximum) element life of 25,000 miles! It even extracts and contains any water that has (inevitably) condensed into the oil...which if allowed to remain in circulation will often result in the formation of corrosive acids. It's a real trip to find clean, like-new synthetic oil on your dipstick after twenty or twenty-five thousand miles without an oil change.


It should be noted that optimum filtration is of particularly critical importance with both Diesel (naturally-aspirated) and turbocharged (gasoline or Diesel) engine, since their abnormally-high yield of combustion contaminants, if left to circulate in the lubricant, serve to adversely affect the performance and service life of any oil.


Also, since the immediate objective of filtration is clean oil, don't overlook your air filter. A clogged or failed air cleaner can be a major source of abrasive oil contaminants and engine wear. Choose a good brand, check it periodically, and replace it promptly when it becomes dirty. (Personal note: Even better are the oiled foam filters, such as those sold by Amsoil. They are washable and re-oilable, and never need be replaced. These do a MUCH better job of keeping fine dirt particles from reaching the engine, and ultimately the oil.)





Article 3:


Slick 50 and other engine oil additives


Slick 50 and other engine oil additives supposedly reduce engine wear and increase fuel efficiency. You may have heard the commercial or seen the ad:

Multiple tests by independent laboratories have shown that when properly applied to an automotive engine, Slick 50 Engine Formula reduces wear on engine parts. Test results have shown that Slick 50 treated engines sustained 50 percent less wear than test engines run with premium motor oil alone.

There are about 50 other products on the market which make similar claims, many of them being just duplicate products under different names from the same company. The price for a pint or quart of these engine oil additives runs from a few dollars to more than $20. Do these products do any good? Not much. Do they do any harm. Sometimes.


What's in these miracle lubricants, anyway? And, if they're so wonderful, why don't car manufacturers recommend their usage? And why don't oil companies get into the additive business? And where are these studies mentioned by Petrolon (Slick 50)? Probably in the same file cabinet as the tobacco company studies proving the health benefits of smoking.


The basic ingredient is the same in most of these additives: 50 weight engine oil with standard additives. The magic ingredient in Slick 50, Liquid Ring, Microlon, Matrix, QM1 and T-Plus from K-Mart is Polytetrafluoroethylene. Don't try to pronounce it: call it PTFE. But don't call it Teflon, which is what it is, because that is a registered trademark. Dupont, who invented Teflon, claims that "Teflon is not useful as an ingredient in oil additives or oils used for internal combustion engines." But what do they know? They haven't seen the secret studies done by Petrolon (Slick 50).


PTFE is a solid which is added to engine oil and allegedly coats the moving parts of the engine.

However, such solids seem even more inclined to coat non-moving parts, like oil passages and filters. After all, if it can build up under the pressures and friction exerted on a cylinder wall, then it stands to reason it should build up even better in places with low pressures and virtually no friction.

This conclusion seems to be borne out by tests on oil additives containing PTFE conducted by the NASA Lewis Research Center, which said in their report, "In the types of bearing surface contact we have looked at, we have seen no benefit. In some cases we have seen detrimental effect. The solids in the oil tend to accumulate at inlets and act as a dam, which simply blocks the oil from entering. Instead of helping, it is actually depriving parts of lubricant" (Rau).


In defense of Slick 50, tests done on a Chevy 6 cylinder engine by the University of Utah Engineering Experiment Station found that after treatment with the PTFE additive the test engine's friction was reduced by 13.1 percent, the output horsepower increased from 5.3 percent to 8.1 percent, and fuel economy improved as well. Unfortunately, the same tests concluded that "There was a pressure drop across the oil filter resulting from possible clogging of small passageways." Oil analysis showed that iron contamination doubled after the treatment, indicating that engine wear increased (Rau).

The FTC and Slick 50

In 1997, three subsidiaries of Quaker State Corp. (the makers of Slick 50) settled Federal Trade Commission charges that ads for Quaker State's Slick 50 Engine Treatment were false and unsubstantiated. According to the FTC complaint, claims such as the following made in Slick 50 ads falsely represented that without Slick 50, auto engines generally have little or no protection from wear at start-up and commonly experience premature failure caused by wear:

"Every time you cold start your car without Slick 50 protection, metal grinds against metal in your engine."

"With each turn of the ignition you do unseen damage, because at cold start-up most of the oil is down in the pan. But Slick 50's unique chemistry bonds to engine parts. It reduces wear up to 50% for 50,000 miles."

"What makes Slick 50 Automotive Engine Formula different is an advanced chemical support package designed to bond a specially activated PTFE to the metal in your engine."

In fact, the FTC said, "most automobile engines are adequately protected from wear at start-up when they use motor oil as recommended in the owner's manual. Moreover, it is uncommon for engines to experience premature failure caused by wear, whether they have been treated with Slick 50 or not."


Zinc: good for the common cold & your engine


Another type of additive is zinc dialkyldithiophosphate. Zinc-d is found in Mechanics Brand Engine Tune Up, K Mart Super Oil Treatment, and STP Engine Treatment With XEP2, among others. The touting of zinc-d as a special ingredient in engine oil additives is a little like the Shell ads which touted "Platformate."


(Most gasoline has similar additives but under different names.) Zinc-d is an additive in most, if not all, major oil brands. The wonder oils just put more of the stuff in a 50 weight engine oil. It would be useful if your engine were ever operated under extremely abnormal conditions where metal contacts metal: "the zinc compounds react with the metal to prevent scuffing, particularly between cylinder bores and piston rings....unless you plan on spending a couple of hours dragging your knee at Laguna Seca, adding extra zinc compounds to your oil is usually a waste.... Also, keep in mind that high zinc content can lead to deposit formation on your valves, and spark plug fouling" (Rau).


If zinc-d is so good for your engine, why haven't oil manufacturers been putting more of it in their standard mix of oil and additives? Actually, oil companies have been decreasing the amount of zinc-d because of research evidence which indicates that it seems to adversely affect catalytic converters, causing them to deteriorate.

The bottom line is that outside of the testimonials of happy and satisfied customers and the guarantees of company executives about the wonderful effects that studies have shown will follow the use of their products, there isn't much support for using oil additives. Of course, there are those millions of customers who buy the stuff: aren't they proof that these things really work? Not really. They're proof that this stuff really sells!

Though some additives may not contain anything harmful to your engine, and even some things that could be beneficial, most experts still recommend that you avoid their use. The reason for this is that your oil, as purchased from one of the major oil companies, already contains a very extensive additive package.

This package is made up of numerous, specific additive components, blended to achieve a specific formula that will meet the requirements of your engine. Usually, at least several of these additives will be synergistic. That is, they react mutually, in groups of two or more, to create an effect that none of them could attain individually. Changing or adding to this formula can upset the balance and negate the protective effect the formula was meant to achieve, even if you are only adding more of something that was already included in the initial package (Rau).


On the other side of the engine block are those additives which will cleanse your engine, not coat it. Stuff like Bardahl, Rislone and Marvel Mystery Oil claim they can make your engine run quieter and smoother; they can reduce oil burning. These are products which contain solvents or detergents such as kerosene, naphthalene, xylene, acetone or isopropanol. If used properly, I suppose these products will strip off your Teflon and zinc protective coatings! But unless you have a really old and abused car, you probably have no need of stripping away sludge and deposits from your engine. Thus, you probably have no need for these wonder cleaners. And, if you overuse such products you can damage your engine by promoting metal to metal contact.


Also, if you use a synthetic oil, such as Mobil 1, you are advised not to use any engine treatments or additives. Mobil claims that

The use of an engine oil additive is not recommended, either by Mobil or by virtually any vehicle manufacturer. In fact, it may void your new-car warranty.

Finally, you may have seen the commercial where two engines are allowed to run without any oil in them and the one which had the special oil additive keeps on ticking after the other engine has conked out. This may be appealing to the car owner who never changes his or her oil or who runs his or her car without oil, but it should be of little interest to the person who knows how to take care of their automobile.


Should you invest in something like Tufoil? It is touted as being "a super-suspension of micro-miniature PTFE particles and soluble Molybdenum, permanently suspended in oil." And, it will not clog filters or oil openings, according to the manufacturer. Or, how about Lubrilon, which contain a nylon polymer that will coat your metal parts? Or Bishop's Original Permafused Lubrication™, which also coats your metal parts with an anti-wear lubricant film? It's your money, but I think you'd be better off if you just changed your oil and oil filter regularly. And don't forget to change the fuel and air filters at the recommended intervals. We can't say for sure that these new products do no good, but what good they might do is probably not necessary or of much value for the average vehicle owner who takes proper care of the vehicle.


further reading

reader comments

·        ·        ·        "Snake Oil! Is That Additive Really A Negative?" Fred Rau, Road Rider,August 1992.

·        ·        ·        Consumer Reports tests Prolong

·        ·        ·        QUAKER STATE ADS FOR SLICK 50 ARE FALSE AND MISLEADING, FTC CHARGES July 16, 1996 FTC press release

Agreement Safeguards $10 Million in Redress to Consumers July 23, 1997 FTC press release

·        ·        ·        Car Talk with Tom and Ray

·        ·        ·        Super21 Fuel Additive by Rob Altenburg





“Snake Oil! Is That Additive Really A Negative?”


About the Author

Author: Fred Rau
Publisher: ROAD RIDER
Date: August 1992
Page: 15

Republished without permission - but I wasn't the first one - it's commonly available on the net.


2. Preface

Information for this article was compiled from reports and studies by the University of Nevada Desert Research Center, DuPont Chemical Company, Avco Lycoming (aircraft engine manufacturers), North Dakota State University, Briggs and Stratton (engine manufacturers), the University of Utah Engineering Experiment Station, California State Polytechnic College and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Lewis Research Center.


3. Disclaimer

Road Rider does not claim to have all the answers. Nor do we care to presume to tell you what to do. We have simply tried to provide you with all the information we were able to dredge up on this subject, in hopes it will help you in making your own, informed decision.


4. You Can't Tell The Players Without A Program

On starting this project, we set out to find as many different oil additives as we could buy. That turned out to be a mistake. There were simply too many available! At the very first auto parts store we visited, there were over two dozen different brand names available. By the end of the day, we had identified over 40 different oil additives for sale and realized we needed to rethink our strategy.


First of all, we found that if we checked the fine print on the packages, quite a number of the additives came from the same manufacturer. Also, we began to notice that the additives could be separated into basic "groups" that seemed to carry approximately the same ingredients and the same promises.


In the end, we divided our additives into four basic groups and purchased at least three brands from three different manufacturers for each group. We defined our four groups this way:


1.      1.      1.      Products that seemed to be nothing more than regular 50-rated engine oil (including standard additives) with PTFE (Teflon TM) added.

2.      2.      2.      Products that seemed to be nothing more than regular 50-rated engine oil (including standard additives) with zinc dialkyldithiophosphate added.

3.      3.      3.      Products containing (as near as we could determine) much the same additives as are already found in most major brands of engine oil, though in different quantities and combinations.

4.      4.      4.      Products made up primarily of solvents and/or detergents.

There may be some differences in chemical makeup within groups, but that is impossible to tell since the additive manufacturers refuse to list the specific ingredients of their products. We will discuss each group individually.


5. The PTFE Mystery

Currently, the most common and popular oil additives on the market are those that contain PTFE powders suspended in a regular, over-the-counter type, 50-rated petroleum or synthetic engine oil. PTFE is the common abbreviation used for Polytetrafloeraethylene, more commonly known by the trade name "Teflon," which is a registered trademark of the DuPont Chemical Corporation. Among those oil additives we have identified as containing PTFE are: Slick 50, Liquid Ring, Lubrilon, Microlon, Matrix, Petrolon (same company as Slick 50), QMl, and T-Plus (K-Mart). There are probably many more names in use on many more products using PTFE. We have found that oil additive makers like to market their products under a multitude of "private brand" names.


While some of these products may contain other additives in addition to PTFE, all seem to rely on the PTFE as their primary active ingredient and all, without exception, do not list what other ingredients they may contain.


Though they have gained rather wide acceptance among the motoring public, oil additives containing PTFE have also garnered their share of critics among experts in the field of lubrication. By far the most damning testimonial against these products originally came from the DuPont Chemical Corporation, inventor of PTFE and holder of the patents and trademarks for Teflon. In a statement issued about ten years ago, DuPont's Fluoropolymers Division Product Specialist, J.F. Imbalzano said, "Teflon is not useful as an ingredient in oil additives or oils used for internal combustion engines."


At the time, DuPont threatened legal action against anyone who used the name "Teflon" on any oil product destined for use in an internal combustion engine, and refused to sell its PTFE powders to any one who intended to use them for such purposes.


After a flurry of lawsuits from oil additive makers, claiming DuPont could not prove that PTFE was harmful to engines, DuPont was forced to once again begin selling their PTFE to the additive producers. The additive makers like to claim this is some kind of "proof' that their products work, when in fact it is nothing more than proof that the American legal ethic of "innocent until proven guilty" is still alive and well. The decision against DuPont involved what is called "restraint of trade." You can't refuse to sell a product to someone just because there is a possibility they might use it for a purpose other than what you intended it for.


It should be noted that DuPont's official position on the use of PTFE in engine oils remains carefully aloof and noncommittal, for obvious legal reasons. DuPont states that though they sell PTFE to oil additive producers, they have "no proof of the validity of the additive makers' claims." They further state that they have "no knowledge of any advantage gained through the use of PTFE in engine oil."

Fear of potential lawsuits for possible misrepresentation of a product seem to run much higher among those with the most to lose.


After DuPont's decision and attempt to halt the use of PTFE in engine oils, several of the oil additive companies simply went elsewhere for their PTFE powders, such as purchasing them in other countries. In some cases, they disguise or hype their PTFE as being something different or special by listing it under one of their own tradenames. That doesn't change the fact that it is still PTFE.


In addition, there is some evidence that certain supplies of PTFE powders (from manufacturers other than DuPont) are of a cruder version than the original, made with larger sized flakes that are more likely to "settle out" in your oil or clog up your filters. One fairly good indication that a product contains this kind of PTFE is if the instructions for its use advise you to "shake well before using." It only stands to reason that if the manufacturer knows the solids in his product will settle to the bottom of a container while sitting on a shelf, the same thing is going to happen inside your engine when it is left idle for any period of time.


The problem with putting PTFE in your oil, as explained to us by several industry experts, is that PTFE is a solid. The additive makers claim this solid "coats" the moving parts in an engine (though that is far from being scientifically proven). Slick 50 is currently both the most aggressive advertiser and the most popular seller, with claims of over 14 million treatments sold. However, such solids seem even more inclined to coat non-moving parts, like oil passages and filters. After all, if it can build up under the pressures and friction exerted on a cylinder wall, then it stands to reason it should build up even better in places with low pressures and virtually no friction.


This conclusion seems to be borne out by tests on oil additives containing PTFE conducted by the NASA Lewis Research Center, which said in their report, "In the types of bearing surface contact we have looked at, we have seen no benefit. In some cases we have seen detrimental effect. The solids in the oil tend to accumulate at inlets and act as a dam, which simply blocks the oil from entering. Instead of helping, it is actually depriving parts of lubricant."


Remember, PTFE in oil additives is a suspended solid. Now think about why you have an oil filter on your engine. To remove suspended solids, right? Right. Therefore it would seem to follow that if your oil filter is doing its job, it will collect as much of the PTFE as possible, as quickly as possible. This can result in a clogged oil filter and decreased oil pres sure throughout your engine.


In response to our inquiries about this sort of problem, several of the PTFE pushers responded that their particulates were of a sub-micron size, capable of passing through an ordinary oil filter unrestricted. This certainly sounds good, and may in some cases actually be true, but it makes little difference when you know the rest of the story. You see, PTFE has other qualities besides being a friction reducer: It expands radically when exposed to heat. So even if those particles are small enough to pass through your filter when you purchase them, they very well may not be when your engine reaches normal operating temperature.


Here again, the scientific evidence seems to support this, as in tests conducted by researchers at the University of Utah Engineering Experiment Station involving Petrolon additive with PTFE.


The Petrolon test report states, "There was a pressure drop across the oil filter resulting from possible clogging of small passageways." In addition, oil analysis showed that iron contamination doubled after using the treatment, indicating that engine wear didn't go down - it appeared to shoot up.


This particular report was paid for by Petrolon (marketers of Slick 50), and was not all bad news for their products. The tests, conducted on a Chevrolet six-cylinder automobile engine, showed that after treatment with the PTFE additive the test engine's friction was reduced by 13.1 percent. Also, output horsepower increased from 5.3 percent to 8.1 percent, and fuel economy improved from 11.8 percent under light load to 3.8 percent under heavy load.


These are the kind of results an aggressive marketing company like Petrolon can really sink their teeth into. If we only reported the results in the last paragraph to you, you'd be inclined to think Slick 50 was indeed a magic engine elixir. What you have to keep in mind is that often times the benefits (like increased horse power and fuel economy) may be out weighed by some serious drawbacks (like the indications that "There was a pressure drop across the oil filter resulting from possible clogging of small passageways"). Oil analysis showed that iron contamination doubled after the treatment, indicating that engine wear increased.


6. The Plot Thickens

Just as we were about to go to press with this article, we were contacted by the public relations firm of Trent and Company, an outfit with a prestigious address in the Empire State Building, New York. They advised us they were working for a company called QMI out of Lakeland, Florida, that was marketing a "technological breakthrough" product in oil additives. Naturally, we asked them to send us all pertinent information, including any testing and research data.


What we got was pretty much what we expected. QMI's oil additive, according to their press release, uses "ten times more PTFE resins than its closest competitor." Using the "unique SX-6000 formula," they say they are the only company to use "aqueous dispersion resin which means the microns (particle sizes) are extensively smaller and can penetrate tight areas." This, they claim, "completely eliminates the problem of clogged filters and oil passages."


Intrigued by their press release, we set up a telephone interview with their Vice-President of Technical Services, Mr. Owen Heatwole. Mr. Heatwole's name was immediately recognized by us as one that had popped in earlier research of this subject as a former employee of Petrolon, a company whose name seems inextricably linked in some fashion or another with virtually every PTFE-related additive maker in the country.


Mr. Heatwole was a charming and persuasive talker with a knack for avoiding direct answers as good as any seasoned politician. His glib pitch for his product was the best we've ever heard, but when dissected and pared down to the verifiable facts, it actually said very little.


When we asked about the ingredients in QMI's treatments, we got almost exactly the response we expected. Mr. Heatwole said he would "have to avoid discussing specifics about the formula, for proprietary reasons."


After telling us that QMI was being used by "a major oil company," a "nuclear plant owned by a major corporation" and a "major engine manufacturer," Mr. Heatwole followed up with, "Naturally, I can't reveal their names - for proprietary reasons."


He further claimed to have extensive testing and research data available from a "major laboratory," proving conclusively how effective QMI was. When we asked for the name of the lab, can you guess? Yup, "We can't give out that information, for proprietary reasons."


What QMI did give us was the typical "testimonials," though we must admit theirs came from more recognizable sources than usual. They seem to have won over the likes of both Team Kawasaki and Bobby Unser, who evidently endorse and use QMI in their racing engines. Mr. Heatwole was very proud of the fact that their product was being used in engines that he himself admitted are "torn down and completely inspected on a weekly basis." Of course, what he left out is that those same engines are almost totally rebuilt every time they're torn down. So what does that prove in terms of his product reducing wear and promoting engine longevity?
Virtually nothing.


Mr. Heatwole declined to name the source of QMI's PTFE supply "for proprietary reasons." He bragged that their product is sold under many different private labels, but refused to identify those labels "for proprietary reasons." When asked about the actual size of the PTFE particles used in QMI, he claimed they were measured as "sub-micron in size" by a "major motor laboratory" which he couldn't identify - you guessed it - for "proprietary reasons."


After about an hour of listening to "don't quote me on this," "I'll have to deny that if you print it," and "I can't reveal that," we asked Mr. Heatwole if there was something we could print. "Certainly," he said, "Here's a good quote for you: 'The radical growth in technology has overcome the problem areas associated with PTFE in the 1980s'"


"Not bad," we said. Then we asked to whom we might attribute this gem of wisdom. DuPont Chemical, perhaps?

"Me," said Mr. Heatwole. "I said that."


QMI's press releases like to quote the Guinness Book Of Records in saying that PTFE is "The slickest substance known to man." Far be it from us to take exception to the Guinness Book, but we doubt that PTFE is much slicker than some of the people marketing it.


7. The Zinc Question

The latest "miracle ingredient" in oil additives, attempting to usurp PTFE's cure-all throne, is zinc dialkyldithiophosphate, which we will refer to here after as simply "zinc."


Purveyors of the new zinc-related products claim they can prove absolute superiority over the PTFE-related products. Naturally, the PTFE crowd claim exactly the same, in reverse.


Zinc is contained as part of the standard additive package in virtually every major brand of engine oil sold today, varying from a low volume of 0.10 per cent in brands such as Valvoline All Climate and Chevron l5W-50, to a high volume of 0.20 percent in brands such as Valvoline Race and Pennzoil GT Performance.

Organic zinc compounds are used as extreme pressure, anti-wear additives, and are therefore found in larger amounts in oils specifically blended for high-revving, turbocharged or racing applications.


The zinc in your oil comes into play only when there is actual metal-to-metal con tact within your engine, which should never occur under normal operating conditions. However, if you race your bike, or occasionally play tag with the redline on the tach, the zinc is your last line of defense. Under extreme conditions, the zinc compounds react with the metal to prevent scuffing, particularly between cylinder bores and piston rings.


However - and this is the important part to remember - available research shows that more zinc does not give you more protection, it merely prolongs the protection if the rate of metal-to-metal contact is abnormally high or extended. So unless you plan on spending a couple of hours dragging your knee at Laguna Seca, adding extra zinc compounds to your oil is usually a waste. Also, keep in mind that high zinc content can lead to deposit formation on your valves, and spark plug fouling.


Among the products we found containing zinc dialkyldithiophosphate were Mechanics Brand Engine Tune Up, K Mart Super Oil Treatment, and STP Engine Treatment With XEP2. The only reason we can easily identify the additives with the new zinc compounds is that they are required to carry a Federally mandated warning label indicating they contain a hazardous substance. The zinc phosphate they contain is a known eye irritant, capable of inflicting severe harm if it comes in contact with your eyes. If you insist on using one of these products, please wear protective goggles and exercise extreme caution.


As we mentioned, organic zinc compounds are already found in virtually every major brand of oil, both automotive and motorcycle. However, in recent years the oil companies voluntarily reduced the amount of zinc content in most of their products after research indicated the zinc was responsible for premature deterioration and damage to catalytic converters. Obviously this situation would not affect 99 percent of all the motorcycles on the road - however, it could have been a factor with the newer BMW converter - equipped bikes.


Since the reduction in zinc content was implemented solely for the protection of catalytic converters, it is possible that some motorcycles might benefit from a slight increase in zinc content in their oils. This has been taken into account by at least one oil company, Spectro, which offers 0.02 to 0.03 percent more zinc compounds in its motorcycle oils than in its automotive oils.


Since Spectro (Golden 4 brand, in this case) is a synthetic blend lubricant designed for extended drain intervals, this increase seems to be wholly justified. Also, available research indicates that Spectro has, in this case, achieved a sensible balance for extended application without increasing the zinc content to the point that it is likely to cause spark plug fouling or present a threat to converter-equipped BMW models.

It would appear that someone at Spectro did their homework.


8. Increased Standard Additives (More Is Not Necessarily Better)

Though some additives may not contain anything harmful to your engine, and even some things that could be beneficial, most experts still recommend that you avoid their use. The reason for this is that your oil, as purchased from one of the major oil companies, already contains a very extensive additive package.


This package is made up of numerous, specific additive components, blended to achieve a specific formula that will meet the requirements of your engine. Usually, at least several of these additives will be synergistic. That is, they react mutually, in groups of two or more, to create an effect that none of them could attain individually. Changing or adding to this formula can upset the balance and negate the protective effect the formula was meant to achieve, even if you are only adding more of something that was already included in the initial package.


If it helps, try to think of your oil like a cake recipe. Just because the original recipe calls for two eggs (which makes for a very moist and tasty cake), do you think adding four more eggs is going to make the cake better? Of course not. You're going to upset the carefully calculated balance of ingredients and magnify the effect the eggs have on the recipe to the point that it ruins the entire cake. Adding more of a specific additive already contained in your oil is likely to produce similar results.


This information should also be taken into account when adding to the oil already in your bike or when mixing oils for any reason, such as synthetic with petroleum. In these cases, always make sure the oils you are putting together have the same rating (SA, SE, SC, etc.). This tells you their additive packages are basically the same, or at least compatible, and are less likely to upset the balance or counteract each other.


9. Detergents And Solvents

Many of the older, better-known oil treatments on the market do not make claims nearly so lavish as the new upstarts. Old standbys like Bardahl, Rislone and Marvel Mystery Oil, instead offer things like "quieter lifters," "reduced oil burning" and a "cleaner engine."


Most of these products are made up of solvents and detergents designed to dissolve sludge and carbon deposits inside your engine so they can be flushed or burned out. Wynn's Friction Proofing Oil, for example, is 83 percent kerosene. Other brands use naphthalene, xylene, acetone and isopropanol. Usually, these ingredients will be found in a base of standard mineral oil.


In general, these products are designed to do just the opposite of what the PTFE and zinc phosphate additives claim to do. Instead of leaving behind a "coating" or a "plating" on your engine surfaces, they are designed to strip away such things.

All of these products will strip sludge and deposits out and clean up your engine, particularly if it is an older, abused one. The problem is, unless you have some way of determining just how much is needed to remove your deposits without going any further, such solvents also can strip away the boundary lubrication layer provided by your oil. Overuse of solvents is an easy trap to fall into, and one which can promote harmful metal-to-metal contact within your engine.


As a general rule of thumb these products had their place and were at least moderately useful on older automobile and motorcycle engines of the Fifties and Sixties, but are basically unneeded on the more efficient engine designs of the past two decades.


10. The Infamous "No Oil" Demo

At at least three major motorcycle rallies this past year, we have witnessed live demonstrations put on to demonstrate the effectiveness of certain oil additives. The demonstrators would have a bench-mounted engine which they would fill with oil and a prescribed dose of their "miracle additive." After running the engine for a while they would stop it, drain out the oil and start it up again. Instant magic! The engine would run perfectly well for hours on end, seemingly proving the effectiveness of the additive which had supposedly "coated" the inside of the engine so well it didn't even need the oil to run. In one case, we saw this done with an actual motorcycle, which would be ridden around the parking lot after having its oil drained. A pretty convincing demonstration - until you know the facts.


Since some of these demonstrations were conducted using Briggs and Stratton engines, the Briggs and Stratton Company itself decided to run a similar, but somewhat more scientific, experiment. Taking two brand-new, identical engines straight off their assembly line, they set them up for bench-testing. The only difference was that one had the special additive included with its oil and the other did not. Both were operated for 20 hours before being shut down and having the oil drained from them. Then both were started up again and allowed to run for another 20 straight hours. Neither engine seemed to have any problem performing this "minor miracle."


After the second 20-hour run, both engines were completely torn down and inspected by the company's engineers. What they found was that both engines suffered from scored crankpin bearings, but the engine treated with the additive also suffered from heavy cylinder bore damage that was not evident on the untreated engine.


This points out once again the inherent problem with particulate oil additives: They can cause oil starvation. This is particularly true in the area of piston rings, where there is a critical need for adequate oil flow. In practically all of the reports and studies on oil additives, and particularly those involving suspended solids like PTFE, this has been reported as a major area of engine damage.


11. The Racing Perspective

Among the most convincing testimonials in favor of oil additives are those that come from professional racers or racing teams. As noted previously, some of the oil additive products actually are capable of producing less engine friction, better gas mileage and higher horsepower out put. In the world of professional racing, the split-second advantage that might be gained from using such a product could be the difference between victory and defeat.


Virtually all of the downside or detrimental effects attached to these products are related to extended, long-term usage. For short-life, high-revving, ultra-high performance engines designed to last no longer than one racing season (or in some cases, one single race), the long-term effects of oil additives need not even be considered.


Racers also use special high-adhesion tires that give much better traction and control than our normal street tires, but you certainly wouldn't want to go touring on them, since they're designed to wear out in several hundred (or less) miles. Just because certain oil additives may be beneficial in a competitive context is no reason to believe they would be equally beneficial in a touring context.


12. The Best of The Worst

Not all engine oil additives are as potentially harmful as some of those we have described here. However, the best that can be said of those that have not proved to be harmful is that they haven't been proved to offer any real benefits, either. In some cases, introducing an additive with a compatible package of components to your oil in the right proportion and at the right time can conceivably extend the life of your oil. However, in every case we have studied it proves out that it would actually have been cheaper to simply change the engine oil instead.


In addition, recent new evidence has come to light that makes using almost any additive a game of Russian Roulette. Since the additive distributors do not list the ingredients contained within their products, you never know for sure just what you are putting in your engine.


Recent tests have shown that even some of the most inoffensive additives contain products which, though harmless in their initial state, convert to hydrofluoric acid when exposed to the temperatures inside a firing cylinder. This acid is formed as part of the exhaust gases, and though it is instantly expelled from your engine and seems to do it no harm, the gases collect inside your exhaust system and eat away at your mufflers from the inside out.


13. Whatever The Market Will Bear

The pricing of oil additives seems to follow no particular pattern whatsoever. Even among those products that seem to be almost identical, chemically, retail prices covered an extremely wide range. For example:


·        ·        ·        One 32-ounce bottle of Slick 50 (with PTFE) cost us $29.95 at a discount house that listed the retail price as $59.95, while a 32-ounce bottle of T-Plus (which claims to carry twice as much PTFE as the Slick 50) cost us only $15.88.


·        ·        ·        A 32-ounce bottle of STP Engine Treatment (containing what they call XEP2), which they claim they can prove "outperforms leading PTFE engine treatments," cost us $17.97. Yet a can of K Mart Super Oil Treatment, which listed the same zinc-derivative ingredient as that listed for the XEP2, cost us a paltry $2.67.


Industry experts estimate that the actual cost of producing most oil additives is from one-tenth to one-twentieth of the asking retail price. Certainly no additive manufacturer has come forward with any exotic, high-cost ingredient or list of ingredients to dispute this claim. As an interesting note along with this, back before there was so much competition in the field to drive prices down, Petrolon (Slick 50) was selling their PTFE products for as much as $400 per treatment! The words "buyer beware" seem to take on very real significance when talking about oil additives.


14. The Psychological Placebo

You have to wonder, with the volume of evidence accumulating against oil additives, why so many of us still buy them. That's the million-dollar question, and it's just as difficult to answer as why so many of us smoke cigarettes, drink hard liquor or engage in any other number of questionable activities. We know they aren't good for us - but we go ahead and do them anyway.


Part of the answer may lie in what some psychiatrists call the "psychological placebo effect." Simply put, that means that many of us hunger for that peace of mind that comes with believing we have purchased the absolute best or most protection we can possibly get.


Even better, there's that wonderfully smug feeling that comes with thinking we might be a step ahead of the pack, possessing knowledge of something just a bit better than everyone else.


Then again, perhaps it comes from an ancient, deep-seated need we all seem to have to believe in magic. There has never been any shortage of unscrupulous types ready to cash in on our willingness to believe that there's some magical mystery potion we can buy to help us lose weight, grow hair, attract the opposite sex or make our engines run longer and better. I doubt that there's a one of us who hasn't fallen for one of these at least once in our lifetimes. We just want it to be true so bad that we can't help ourselves.


15. Testimonial Hype vs. Scientific Analysis

In general, most producers of oil additives rely on personal "testimonials" to advertise and promote their products. A typical print advertisement will be one or more letters from a satisfied customer stating something like, "1 have used Brand X in my engine for 2 years and 50,000 miles and it runs smoother and gets better gas mileage than ever before. I love this product and would recommend it to anyone."


Such evidence is referred to as "anecdotal" and is most commonly used to promote such things as miracle weight loss diets and astrology.


Whenever I see one of these ads I am reminded of a stunt played out several years ago by Allen Funt of "Candid Camera" that clearly demonstrated the side of human nature that makes such advertising possible.


With cameras in full view, fake "product demonstrators" would offer people passing through a grocery store the opportunity to taste-test a "new soft drink." What the victims didn't know was that they were being given a horrendous concoction of castor oil, garlic juice, tabasco sauce and several other foul-tasting ingredients. After taking a nice, big swallow, as instructed by the demonstrators, the unwitting victims provided huge laughs for the audience by desperately trying to conceal their anguish and disgust. Some literally turned away from the cameras and spit the offending potion on the floor.


The fascinating part came when about one out of four of the victims would actually turn back to the cameras and proclaim the new drink was "Great" or "Unique" or, in several cases, "One of the best things I've ever tasted!" Go figure.

The point is, compiling "personal testimonials" for a product is one of the easiest things an advertising company can do - and one of the safest, too. You see, as long as they are only expressing some one else's personal opinion, they don't have to prove a thing! It's just an opinion, and needs no basis in fact whatsoever.


On the other hand, there has been documented, careful scientific analysis done on numerous oil additives by accredited institutions and researchers.

For example:


·        ·        ·        Avco Lycoming, a major manufacturer of aircraft engines, states, "We have tried every additive we could find on the market, and they are all worthless."

·        ·        ·        Briggs and Stratton, renowned builders of some of the most durable engines in the world, says in their report on engine oil additives, "They do not appear to offer any benefits."

·        ·        ·        North Dakota State University conducted tests on oil additives and said in their report, "The theory sounds good - the only problem is that the products simply don't work."

·        ·        ·        And finally, Ed Hackett, chemist at the University of Nevada Desert Research Center, says, "Oil additives should not be used. The oil companies have gone to great lengths to develop an additive pack age that meets the vehicle's requirements. If you add anything to this oil you may upset the balance and prevent the oil from performing to specification."

Petrolon, Inc., of Houston, Texas, makers of Petrolon and producers of at least a dozen other lubrication products containing PTFE, including Slick 50 and Slick 30 Motorcycle Formula, claim that, "Multiple tests by independent laboratories have shown that when properly applied to an automotive engine, Slick 50 Engine Formula reduces wear on engine parts. Test results have shown that Slick 50 treated engines sustained 50 percent less wear than test engines run with premium motor oil alone."


Sounds pretty convincing, doesn't it?


The problem is, Petrolon and the other oil additive companies that claim "scientific evidence" from "independent laboratories," all refuse to identify the laboratories that conducted the tests or the criteria under which the tests were conducted. They claim they are "contractually bound" by the laboratories to not reveal their identities.


In addition, the claim of "50 percent less wear" has never been proven on anything approaching a long-term basis. Typical examples used to support the additive makers' claims involve engines run from 100 to 200 hours after treatment, during which time the amount of wear particles in the oil decreased. While this has proven to be true in some cases, it has also been proven that after 400 to 500 hours of running the test engines invariably reverted to producing just as many wear particles as before treatment, and in some cases, even more.


No matter what the additive makers would like you to believe, nothing has been proven to stop normal engine wear.


You will note that all of the research facilities quoted in this article are clearly identified. They have no problem with making their findings public. You will also note that virtually all of their findings about oil additives are negative. That's not because we wanted to give a biased report against oil additives - it's because we couldn't find a single laboratory, engine manufacturer or independent research facility who would make a public claim, with their name attached to it, that any of the additives were actually beneficial to an engine. The conclusion seems inescapable.


As a final note on advertising hype versus the real world, we saw a television ad the other night for Slick 50 oil additive. The ad encouraged people to buy their product on the basis of the fact that, "Over 14 million Americans have tried Slick 50!" Great. We're sure you could just as easily say, "Over 14 million Americans have smoked cigarettes!"-but is that really any reason for you to try it? Of course not, because you've seen the scientific evidence of the harm it can do. The exact same principle applies here.


16. In Conclusion

The major oil companies are some of the richest, most powerful and aggressive corporations in world. They own multi-million dollar research facilities manned by some of the best chemical engineers money can hire. It is probably safe to say that any one of them has the capabilities and resources at hand in marketing, distribution, advertising, research and product development equal to 20 times that of any of the independent additive companies. It therefore stands to reason that if any of these additive products were actually capable of improving the capabilities of engine lubricants, the major oil companies would have been able to determine that and to find some way to cash in on it.


Yet of all the oil additives we found, none carried the name or endorsement of any of the major oil producers.


In addition, all of the major vehicle and engine manufacturers spend millions of dollars each year trying to increase the longevity of their products, and millions more paying off warranty claims when their products fail. Again, it only stands to reason that if they thought any of these additives would increase the life or improve the performance of their engines, they would be actively using and selling them - or at least endorsing their use.


Instead, many of them advise against the use of these additives and, in some cases, threaten to void their warranty coverage if such things are found to be used in their products.


In any story of this nature, absolute "facts" are virtually impossible to come by. Opinions abound. Evidence that points one direction or the other is avail able, but has to be carefully ferreted out, and is not always totally reliable or completely verifiable.


In this environment, conclusions reached by known, knowledgeable experts in the field must be given a certain amount of weight. Conclusions reached by unknown, unidentifiable sources must be discounted almost totally. That which is left must be weighed, one side against the other, in an attempt to reach a "reasonable" conclusion.


In the case of oil additives, there is a considerable volume of evidence against their effectiveness. This evidence comes from well-known and identifiable expert sources, including independent research laboratories, state universities, major engine manufacturers, and even NASA.


Against this rather formidable barrage of scientific research, additive makers offer not much more than their own claims of effectiveness, plus questionable and totally unscientific personal testimonials. Though the purveyors of these products state they have studies from other independent laboratories supporting their claims, they refuse to identify the labs or provide copies of the research. The only test results they will share are those from their own testing departments, which must, by their very nature, be taken with a rather large grain of salt.


17. Sidebar: Synthetic Oils

Whenever we talk about oil additives, the subject of synthetic oils inevitably crops up. Actually, the two subjects have very little to do with each other, but since many riders seem to equate additives and synthetics together in their minds, we will take a few lines just to clear the air.


Synthetic oils were originally developed for use in gas turbine engines. In most cases they are capable of maintaining their viscosity for longer periods of use and under much greater temperatures and pressures than petroleum products. Commons synthetics used for engine lubrication today are Polyalphaolefin (like Mobil 1) or Dibasic Organic Esters (like AMSOIL). They are fully compatible with conventional oils and can be mixed, providing their ratings match.


Probably the best situation is a blend of synthetics and mineral oils, such as Golden Spectro and AGIP Sint 2000. These products seem to offer the best of both worlds in protection and extended service life. They may cost considerably more than standard petroleum products, but they also can be used for much longer periods between oil changes without losing their protective capabilities.


Synthetics and synthetic blends offer a wider range of protection than standard petroleum products. However, it should be noted that this extended range of protection reaches into an area of temperatures and pressures virtually impossible to attain inside most motorcycle engines and transmissions. In other words, if you use them, you are buying a sort of "overkill protection." It's certainly not going to hurt anything - it's just unnecessary. That is, unless it makes you feel better knowing the extra protection is on board, in which case the added expense may be well justified.


As a basic rule of thumb, using the standard engine oil recommended by your bike's manufacturer and changing it about every 3000 miles will afford you all the protection you'll ever need. But if you feel better knowing you have more protection than you need or, if you like the extended service-life feature, there's certainly nothing wrong with using a premium grade synthetic blend lubricant.






Article 4:


Good for your car: Techron, the fuel additive


Those who are interested in good car maintenance practices should find the following very informative:


(The following slightly edited [for clarity and brevity] transcript is from an “Open Line” radio program in December 2001 on xxxx radio, xxx AM, 6:30 to 8:00 PM. Guest is xxx Edwards, veteran automotive technician, who teaches future technicians at the xxxxx Career & Technologies Center, south of xxxxxx. He’s a regular guest on Monday nights throughout the year, which is devoted to automotive topics and caller questions.)

Tom: We’re in the radio garage here on a Monday evening, I’m Tom xxxx, welcome to “Open Line.” xxx Edwards, our veteran technician is here. He teaches future technicians at the xxxx Career & Technologies Center. Kevin xxxxx of our staff, will be helping us evaluate automobiles and trucks, and asking interesting questions for Bob to look up information on.


(skipping to later in the program)


Caller: My question has to do with the additives for fuel injector cleaning. Do you recommend using those at all? And if so, I see a range in price from about $1.88 up to about $4.00.


Edwards: It’s not necessary to clean injectors, that’s really not much of a problem any more, but it’s more for keeping the intake track clean and the deposits off the intake valves.


Tom: It’s the Edwards injection cleaning system …(laughs).


Edwards: There are commercially available machines that will do that. You can take your car in, and it’s usually somewhere around $80 to $100 and they can do all that. But you can buy a product made by Chevron that has active ingredient “Techron”. Use that. That works.


Caller: OK!


Edwards: It’s something that Chevron developed in conjunction with BMW some years back. They basically set the industry standards for intake valve cleanliness….and that stuff works.


Caller: OK, good.


Edwards: I recently bought some, as of last week. Auto Zone used to carry it …they don’t carry it any more, But I see it in K-Mart and Walmart.


Caller: Oh, great!


Tom: Do you recommend it at certain intervals, Bob …time wise or mileage wise?


Edwards: Yeah, Tom. A newer car with very few miles on it, just use it a couple times a year. If you’ve got a car that’s got some miles on it and its never been used in it before, maybe two or three consecutive tankfuls initially, and just follow the directions on the bottle.


Tom: It goes into the fuel tank?


Edwards: Yes. They recommend that when you stop to fill up that you put this in first and fill up on top of it. Then after that a couple times a year.


Caller: And its made by Chevron and its called Techron?


Edwards: Yeah. It’s in a black bottle, and most of the department stores have it.


Caller: OK. Great. Thank you. Bye.


Tom: Ordinarily we have not recommended specific products, but xxx is so sold on Techron that we’ve never argued. You’ve probably tried other things, xxx, or you just found this and ….


Edwards: No. I knew about this condition that’s inherent with port fuel-injected engines since they’ve been popular over the last 15 years or so. Back in the 80’s this was a real problem, and no one really knew how to address it in a rather simple manner. For example, BMW cars – they’re very precision machines – they really had some drivability problems when intake deposits accumulated.


It didn’t take a whole lot of time, we’re talking 15,000 to 20,000 miles and things were starting to happen there. Initially, BMW’s fix for this was for you to take your car into the dealership’s service department, and the technicians or mechanics would partially disassemble the top half of your engine to gain access to the intake valves or the ports, meaning that they had to remove the manifold and some other components to physically get access to the intake valves.


And then they would use like a little sand-blasting piece of equipment, only the medium used was ground-up walnut shells, to physically clean those deposits off. This wasn’t practical to have people come in every 15,000 - 25,000 miles to have the top half of their engine disassembled so they could shoot walnut shells at it. And the reason they used walnut shells was because it was an abrasive enough medium that it would get rid of the deposits but it was benign enough that if it got down in the engine it wasn’t going to hurt anything – it would just burn up.


Tom: Hmmm.


Edwards: So BMW got together with Chevron, which is obviously a major oil company, and said, “Hey, what can we do to come up with something we can put in the gasoline to keep this stuff cleaned out so that we don’t have to do this?” Chevron did a lot of research and a lot of testing. BMW set standards for intake valve cleanliness on port fuel-injected cars, specifically theirs, but it’s going to work on any engine, and Chevron came up with this Techron additive. I think Chevron puts it in most of their fuels, at least their hi-test. But unfortunately, we don’t see too many Chevron stations in the state of xxxx. I think they’re south and west…I know they’re out West. But, short of that, you can buy it off the shelf in little bottles.


Tom: Alright….. call xxx-8513 to join in here …..



(Note: I have used this product for 7 or 8 years and have had great results on all of the cars I have maintained (currently 5). I have listened to a number of mechanic’s programs over the years [“On the Road Again,” “ Car Talk,” etc] and they have all highly recommended Techron. It’s also available at Meijer and Advanced Auto Parts stores. 12 oz runs about $5.99, 20 oz is about $9.99. Use 1 oz per gal of gas in the tank. Do not confuse “Techron” with “Pro-gard with Techron”, which also comes in an identical black, long-necked plastic bottle. I believe “Techron” is the more powerful, less diluted product. As this product contains a potent solvent, naphtha, it is best to use this product right before an oil change, to avoid the possibility of some of the naphtha blowing by the rings, diluting the oil, and damaging the piston rings. If you use an extended-change oil, such as the synthetic Amsoil, this means you should only use Techron once a year, just before the oil change, just to be safe.)




Topic B – Health Maintenance




This is a great website for a variety of information on health topics, and also a good place to buy coconut oil and natural light bulbs. But be aware that Dr. Mercola is fallible, just like the rest of us, and in my opinion, strays from good science now and again. So always get information on any topic from several sources;, in other words, do some research on any subject, don’t just take one person’s word for it.


The coconut oil discussed below is a great product. My family and I have been using it for about a year and a half, and love it. We buy it by the gallon container, usually getting 2 at a time, as it keeps for several years at room temperature. We use it just as we would use butter. It is very healthful and tasty. Read below to learn more about the health benefits of unrefined coconut oil.


Experience the Incredible Health & Weight Loss Benefits of the Premier Coconut Oil






After unjustly getting lumped in the "no-fat" craze of past decades, coconut oil is now starting to get the respect it deserves as not only the healthiest oil you can consume, even superior to olive oil which contains trans-fat, but as one of the most nutritious of all foods.


Coconut oil's benefits have been covered extensively on Mercola.com, but now it's benefits are finally reaching the mainstream. For example, the May 20, 2003 edition of Women's World, a very popular and wide-reaching magazine, called coconut oil a "miracle food" and particularly touted its ability help the body burn unwanted fat, triple your energy, and greatly help those with thyroid problems.


You should be absolutely certain, however, of the quality and effectiveness of whatever coconut oil brand you choose. There is a very wide variance in terms of the types of coconuts, the manufacturing processes used to make the oil, and more, which will have a major impact on the healthiness and effectiveness your coconut oil.


Because there is so much uncertainty, my team and I here researched coconut oil extensively until we found the ideal source. I now highly recommend and offer you what is clearly the premier brand of virgin coconut oil in the U.S., Tropical Traditions.


What Makes Our Coconut Oil Superior to Other Brands?


The Tropical Traditions virgin coconut oil I highly recommend and offer to you meets all of the requirements in the chart below. Meeting such high standards is no small feat, but you should not settle for anything less if you want to experience all of the health benefits of coconut oil without exposing yourself to unnecessary health risks. (If you are considering another brand, I urge you to make sure it meets the requirements below.)

Requirements for Healthy and Safe Coconut Oil









Certified organic, USDA standards


No refining


No chemicals added


No bleaching


No deodorization


No hydrogenation




Coconuts from traditional palms only -- no hybrid varieties


From fresh coconuts, not the dried "copra" used in most coconut oils


Low-level heated only -- does not damage nutrients


The superiority of the Tropical Traditions virgin coconut oil I now offer you does not stop there, though. The fresh coconuts used to make the oil (not "copra" or dried coconuts like most oils) come from a rural region of the Philippines untainted by urban pollution. Philippine coconuts are considered the best in the world, in large part due to the fact that the Philippine Islands are made up of volcanoes that brought nutrient-rich soil beneath the sea up to form the islands.


Tropical Traditions closely inspects the groves and coconuts to ensure the highest quality, and oversees the entire process, from growing to final packaging. Unlike other coconut oils, in other words, there are no middlemen with potentially lower standards involved in the process.


What's more, small families, not corporate conglomerates, grow the coconuts. Tropical Traditions works through local churches in the rural areas to organize communities for the production of the coconuts and oil, therefore providing a livelihood for these farmers.




















What this means for you is a virgin coconut oil of unsurpassed quality, not mass processed like most others but created using traditional methods. And because this coconut oil is made from fresh coconuts within 24 hours of harvesting, there are no dangers of mycotoxins or afflatoxins that can form in coconut oils made from "copra" coconuts. Overall, this superior quality makes a huge difference, not only in terms of health and safety, but also in terms of taste, cooking quality, and other tangible results.


Saturated Fat Can Be Good For You


During the "no-fat" craze of the past decades, all saturated fats were marked as bad, as something to be avoided. Knowledge was already in place to the contrary, but as often happens, perceptions -- pushed by industries like the corn oil companies who profited immensely from doing so -- overshadowed science. And coconut oil, far more nutritious and beneficial than corn, peanut, soy, safflower and the other oils out there, nonetheless got tossed into the "no saturated fat" overgeneralizations and lunacy.


What you didn't hear is that some saturated fats A) are necessary to human health; B) are not the primary perpetrator of weight gain (grains and sugars are, as you'll read in my Total Health Program; and C) come in three classes, of which the medium-chain can actually help you lose weight and increase metabolism.


Coconut oil's saturated fat is of the medium-chain fatty acid variety. These MCFAs are digested more easily and utilized differently by the body than other fats. In short, whereas other fats are stored in the body's cells, the MCFAs in coconut oil are sent directly to the liver where they are immediately converted into energy. So when you eat coconut oil, the body uses it immediately to make energy rather than store it as body fat. Because this quick and easy absorption puts less strain on your pancreas, liver and digestive system, coconut oil "heats up" the metabolic system and is outstanding for those with thyroid problems.


The lauric acid in coconut oil is used by the body to make the same disease-fighting fatty acid derivative monolaurin that babies make from the lauric acid they get from their mothers milk. Mary Enig, an internationally respected expert on fats and lipid biochemistry, and author of the "fat information bible" Know Your Fats, provides excellent detail on the benefits of lauric acid in her article, "A New Look at Coconut Oil."


Finally, coconut oil contains no dangerous trans-fats, which are found in vegetable oils (including olive oil), margarine, shortening and more. Trans-fats can raise LDLs or "bad" cholesterol levels and lead to clogged arteries, heart disease, type-II diabetes and more, and should be avoided.


The Many Uses of Coconut Oil -- Cooking & Eating, Skincare, Massage and More


To capture all of the benefits of coconut oil while avoiding the risks, I strongly advise you to consider the Tropical Traditions brand I offer here or another brand that meets all of the requirements defined in the chart above. Uses for this virgin coconut oil with both a pleasant scent and taste include:


  • In place of other oils, margarine, butter, shortening, etc. for all cooking needs, as it is a stable cooking oil
  • As an ingredient when juicing or making smoothies
  • It smells and tastes so pleasant and has such excellent nutritional properties that some also consume it straight, by the tablespoon, and use it in place of other oils on their salads
  • An excellent massage oil
  • As a skin lotion for healthier, younger skin, as explained below

For skincare, using the Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil I am offering as you would any lotion is ideal. It prevents destructive free-radical formation and provides protection against them. It can help to keep the skin from developing liver spots, and other blemishes caused by aging and over exposure to sunlight. It helps to prevent sagging and wrinkling by keeping connective tissues strong and supple. In some cases it might even restore damaged or diseased skin. The oil is absorbed into the skin and into the cell structure of the connective tissues, limiting the damage excessive sun exposure can cause.


Coconut oil will not only bring temporary relief to the skin, but it will aid in healing and repairing. It will have lasting benefits, unlike most lotions. It can help bring back a youthful appearance. The coconut oil will aid in removing the outer layer of dead skin cells, making the skin smoother. The skin will become more evenly textured with a healthy "shine". And the coconut oil will penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and strengthen the underlying tissues.


Order Your Virgin Coconut Oil Now


The Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil is available on Mercola.com in both pint (16 ounces) and quart (32 ounces) size glass containers, and one gallon (128 ounces) tubs. At one tablespoon per serving, the pint size = 32 servings while the quart size = 64 servings, and the gallon size = a whopping 256 servings!


To obtain all of coconut oils health and weight loss benefits, 3 to 3.5 tablespoons per day are recommended for adults.


This coconut oil does not have to be refrigerated, and has a shelf life of two years or more -- the longest of any oil. Storing it out of sunlight is recommended.


This certified organic Virgin Coconut Oil -- with no chemicals or bleach added, from fresh and non-hybrid, non-GMO coconuts grown in some of the most nutrient-rich and clean soil on earth -- costs $18.00 per pint, just $25.00 per quart, and $66.50 per gallon.




Below is another great product that I buy from Mercola.com. It’s a very natural-spectrum light bulb. It really can make a difference in one’s mood in the darker months of winter. We replaced nearly all the lights in our house this past Fall (2005), and not only does it save electricity, but it makes the house looks so much brighter and more pleasant. When I go into the one area of our basement where we still have the old standard light bulb in use, I always stunned as to how yellow and dim the lighting is – almost like going into a cave, or into a room lit by firelight.


I know that the charts, pictures and prices didn’t come out when I tried to copy them to this website. Just go to Mercola.com to see them. Bulbs cost about $100 for 6.



"Finally, A Quick Solution to Upgrading Your Health & Productivity That's As Easy As Screwing In A (Full Spectrum) Light Bulb"

Last Year's #1 Hottest-Selling Item on Mercola.com Sold Out In Days ... Discover Why You Can't Afford to Miss Out This Time!



Yes, it may sound crazy, but it's true.

Of the basic ingredients to good health -- nutritious food, clean water, proper exercise and adequate sunlight -- only sunlight has what I would call a "quick fix" that you will want to take advantage of ... right now.

And it really is as easy as screwing in a full spectrum light bulb, because that's exactly ALL you have to do ...

If you've been around Mercola.com for any length of time, you know I promote the healing benefits of sunlight. In fact, you may recall that light is actually a life-supporting "nutrient".

In moderation, sunlight improves immunity, prevents disease, increases intelligence, stimulates our metabolism, and boosts our energy levels.

Specifically, the full spectrum of the sun's light rays has been shown in medical and scientific studies to:

·         Prevent cancer (recent clinical studies have shown that sunlight actually lowers your risk of colon, prostate, breast and ovarian cancer).

·         Positively influence your risk of getting sick (there is a preponderance of evidence suggesting that decreased sun exposure is closely related to your risk of acquiring the flu, a common occurrence during the winter).

·         Promote healthy levels of vitamin D, essential not only for bone health, but for reducing the risk of developing disorders such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity, and autoimmune disease.

·         Lower your blood pressure (in fact, the farther from the equator you live, the higher your blood pressure).

·         Even help babies sleep better at night (this is great news for you parents out there).

The problem is that getting adequate sunlight isn't easy these days. Most of us suffer from "sunlight starvation." We all need about one hour of unfiltered sunshine each day. Unfortunately, the majority of us don't even come close to receiving that amount.

In the first place, we spend too much of our days indoors, with poor incandescent or fluorescent lighting, sometimes even without windows. And windows themselves (even our eyeglasses) block some of the 1500 wavelengths present in sunshine from reaching our retinas and nourishing our brain and body.

Furthermore, our children and grandchildren spend their days in unhealthy, dully-lit classrooms.


Moreover, sunlight-blocking air pollution and haze permeate most metropolitan areas ... all year long.

And many of us live in climates with winter weather that robs us of essential sunlight. Gloomy days, clouds, rain and snow all obstruct the sun's healing rays and dampen our mood (exactly the time when full spectrum lighting is so essential).

And to add to all this, many of us have been brainwashed by prevailing medical "wisdom" into fearing (and avoiding) the sun. Slathering on toxic sunscreen. Wearing sunglasses whenever we're outside. Worrying about deadly melanomas, a skin cancer wrongly blamed on sun exposure.

Finally, there is a quick and easy solution to compensate for "sunlight starvation" -- full spectrum lighting for your home and workplace. With Mercola.com's exclusive Way Healthier full spectrum lights, you can now achieve all the health benefits of natural balanced sunlight -- INDOORS!

You know I am fond of any natural therapies that are simple, inexpensive, and address the underlying causes of disease. Well, it's hard to get more basic than sunshine. And light itself, including both the sun's rays and genuine full spectrum lighting, is the most natural element that I know of.

Sunlight's Long Legacy of Healing

You may find it interesting to know that sunlight has an ancient legacy of healing. Prehistoric tribes and entire civilizations revered and worshipped the sun for its healing properties. Using light to treat medical conditions (both physical and mental) came to be known as heliotherapy -- thousands of years ago. This was the precursor to the therapeutic use of full spectrum lights.

In fact, both Hippocrates and Pythagoras wrote about the many benefits of sunlight to promote healing. One Greek city, Heliopolis, was well-known for its temples of healing sunlight.

Herodotus, the "father of heliotherapy", wrote that exposure to the sun is necessary to help people overcome failing health. In winter, spring and autumn, Herodotus recommended that the patient should permit the rays of the sun to strike full upon him; in summer, this method should be used moderately because of excessive heat.

Surprisingly perhaps, this isn't so different from what I and other holistic medical practitioners recommend now -- thousands of years later. Only now, we have the option of supplementing natural sunshine indoors with pure full spectrum lighting.

Since adequate natural sunlight has become a precious commodity these days, I was overjoyed when my team managed to locate a source of hard-to-find, high-quality full spectrum lights from a major bulb manufacturer ... bulbs that we are now able to offer exclusively to readers of Mercola.com.

And even better: now we can offer you these full spectrum light bulbs affordably. But you must act quickly, as we project that our shipment will run out rapidly, just like it did last year ...

By the way -- I have personally used full spectrum lighting for six years now and can honestly say that they have provided an enormous boost in my ability to tolerate the miserable cold and dark winter months where I live (near Chicago).

In fact, I have my entire home lit with these full spectrum light bulbs. During the cold winter months when lights are on during much of the "day", my home is the only one in the neighborhood that glows with bright, blue-white light -- not the sickeningly drab yellow light that comes from incandescent bulbs ...

So why all this fuss over light bulbs anyway, and what the heck is full spectrum lighting anyway? You'll understand after reading about all the amazing benefits you will get from these one-of-a-kind full spectrum lights.

Benefits like:

  • Improved mood, especially for those of you who tend to get the "winter blues" ...
  • Enhanced mental awareness, concentration and productivity ...
  • Superior visual clarity and color perception ...
  • Better sleep ...
  • Super-charged immune system ...
  • More energy ...
  • Reduced eye strain and fatigue with a glare-free and comfortable reading environment ...
  • Greater learning ability and intelligence ...

Sunlight Starvation Starts in Your Brain

To begin with, when light enters your eyes, it not only goes to your visual centers enabling you to see; it also goes to your brain's hypothalamus.

The hypothalamus is so important to the body's functioning that it is known as the brain's brain. This means that it controls the part of the nervous system regulating automatic and metabolic processes in the body. The hypothalamus controls body temperature, hunger and thirst, water balance and blood pressure. It links the nervous system to the endocrine system.




Additionally, it controls the body's master gland, the pituitary, which secretes many essential hormones. The hypothalamus initiates the body's stress response, affects our emotions and controls immune functions.

Significantly, our "body clock" is also housed in tiny centers located in the hypothalamus. Our body clock-controlled circadian rhythms are the 24 hour cycles of light and darkness.

These light-sensitive rhythms are not an invention of modern society. They are biological constructs imposed upon us by Mother Nature.

Consequently, anything that disrupts these rhythms (like inadequate sunlight) has a far-reaching impact on our body's ability to function.

This explains why, since sunlight has been shown to be the most effective regulator of the body clock, it is also the quickest method of recovering from jet lag. (Or you can supplement sunlight with full spectrum lighting indoors.)

But it gets even more interesting. In 1998, scientists found that they could reset the body clocks of study subjects by shining bright lights onto the back of their knees. This demonstrates that areas of the skin are significantly affected by light, just like the retinas of our eyes. This led researchers to conclude that the body may have more than one body clock, although the eyes still seem to be the main route by which the circadian system senses light.

So why the anatomy lesson?

Well, the body clock control centers in the hypothalamus are also connected to the pineal gland, which is considered the body's light meter. The pineal gland secretes the important hormone melatonin.

Melatonin, the "hibernation hormone", increases with decreased light, which explains that tired feeling that comes on when it begins to get dark outside -- even if it is only 4 o'clock in the afternoon on a winter's day. And also explains why decreased melatonin is found in those with insomnia (and why full spectrum light is beneficial for healthy sleep).

Conversely, serotonin, the brain hormone associated with mood elevation, rises with exposure to bright light, and falls with decreased sun exposure. This has been proven by many scientific studies, including one reported in the well-respected medical journal Lancet in 2002. This study measured blood levels of serotonin, finding that production of serotonin by the brain was directly related to the duration of bright sunlight.

Say Goodbye to "Winter Blues" with Full Spectrum Lighting

Winter is upon us, and you may well be one of the 25 million Americans suffering from a condition known as the "winter blues". Another 12 million suffer from a more serious malady known as SAD or seasonal affective disorder.

Although some uninformed people mistakenly believe that SAD is just "hype" or "pseudo-science", this potentially disabling disorder was recognized back in 1982 by the National Institute of Health, which actually coined the term "seasonal affective disorder."

Well, both the "winter blues" and SAD have been scientifically correlated to a lack of sunlight -- and decreased serotonin. (This is why modern antidepressant drugs called SSRIs -- like Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft - are "selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors".)

Characterized by feelings of sadness and depression, symptoms of these mood disorders also include irritability, fatigue, excessive eating, food cravings, oversleeping, social withdrawal and loss of interest in sex. Because symptoms of the "winter blues" are milder than those of SAD, many people suffer from it and don't even realize it!

Due to the prevalence of these conditions, full spectrum lighting is vital in the wintertime to stave off the symptoms of SAD and the "winter blues". Naturally balanced full spectrum light actually "tricks" your brain into thinking it is spring or summer, rather than winter.

In fact, light therapy (now called phototherapy) with full spectrum light wavelengths has been shown by dozens of clinical studies to be comparable to the effectiveness of antidepressant drug therapy for mood disorders -- and not just for wintertime symptoms, either ...

In fact, you don't even need to have symptoms of the "winter blues" to benefit from full spectrum lighting.

Improve Your Performance at Work and Home With Full Spectrum Lights

Sadly, antiquated fluorescent lights are still the norm in the average work setting, the place where most Americans spend half their lives. Studies have shown that poor lighting in the workplace triggers headaches, stress, fatigue and strained watery eyes, not to mention inferior work production.

Conversely, companies that have switched to full spectrum lights report improved employee morale, greater productivity, reduced errors and decreased absenteeism.

Naturally, if you own your own business, I would certainly recommend a complete switch to full spectrum lighting throughout the workplace for those reasons noted above. In fact, that's exactly what I have done in my own office. Now all my employees have the benefit of full spectrum lights for their good health, mood and productivity.

If you don't have the luxury of doing that, your best (and healthiest) option is to replace the bulb or bulbs in your desk lamp or nearest light with Way Healthier full spectrum light bulbs, which are compact enough to fit most standard light fixtures and lamps.

As a consequence, you will certainly have decreased eye strain and fatigue with less glare while working in front of your computer monitor -- this has been just one of the great benefits that I can personally attest to.

Those who work at home -- as well as those who just want the healthiest home environment possible -- can enjoy all the benefits of natural balanced sunlight indoors by switching to Way Healthier full spectrum lights. Better health, better mood, better productivity and better energy ...

By the same token, those who enjoy hobbies such as sewing, drawing, or crafts like scrapbooking will notice a decrease in eye strain (and the tight muscles that go with it) ... and find the improvement in color clarity and vibrancy quite obvious while working under natural full spectrum lighting.

Equally important, older individuals generally require more light than those who are younger, just to perform the same tasks comfortably. In fact, one study concluded that workers over age 50 required twice the light level of young adults for comfortable work.

So, it certainly stands to reason that our aging population -- especially baby boomers and retirees -- have eyes which are seriously challenged by poor lighting. Replacing those old-fashioned bulbs with Way Healthier full spectrum lights can make a remarkably significant difference for those of us in middle age and beyond.

Your Children's Teachers Will Thank You

In a similar fashion, with full spectrum lighting, your children and grandchildren will be able to read, learn, study and do their homework much more effectively at home. In fact, studies of the use of full spectrum lighting in classrooms and schools overwhelmingly demonstrate positive effects on learning performance and achievement.

Pioneer light researcher (and full spectrum light inventor) Dr. John Ott first coined the term "malillumination" to describe sunlight deficiency and the harmful effects of typical cool-white and pink-colored fluorescent light on learning, behavior, health and longevity.

Even back in 1980, scientists reported that cool-white fluorescent lighting produced increased levels of the stress-producing hormones ACTH and cortisol. They noted that their findings explained the agitated mental and physical behavior of children sitting all day under artificial lights, and recommended a change to illumination similar to that of natural light.




Dr. Laurence Martel, President of the National Academy of Integrative Learning, Inc., believes that light, particularly full spectrum light, is a critical element in what he calls the ergonomics of learning. As he puts it, malillumination is to light what malnutrition is to food.

Dr. Martel references a large body of research evidence indicating that the cool-white fluorescent bulbs found in virtually all classrooms cause increased stress, hyperactivity, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, attention problems and poor learning performance.

Because of this, he coined the term "posillumination" to refer to the simulated sunlight found in full spectrum lighting. He states that there is an overwhelming body of research showing its positive impact on human behavior, learning, health, hardiness and longer life.

According to the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, poor lighting is one of the major environmental dangers at school that our children are subjected to. This journal cited studies showing the positive benefits of "daylighting" or creating classrooms with full spectrum lighting.

In one study done in a North Carolina school, children attending classes with full spectrum lighting vs. traditional lighting were healthier overall, attended school several more days per year, and exhibited more positive moods. And a California school study showed that students in classrooms with more natural lighting demonstrated faster progression in both math and reading tests.

And students aren't the only ones noticing benefits in the classrooms. Teachers have reported more energy, elimination of headaches and decreased frustration when classrooms have been fitted with full spectrum lights.

Unfortunately, unless you are a wealthy philanthropist, you may not be able to upgrade your child's school to full spectrum lighting. However, you can upgrade your child's home learning environment to promote the highest level of functioning possible by replacing lights in your home and, especially, your child's study area with full spectrum light bulbs.

Pets and Plants Need Full Spectrum Light Too

Just like you, your pets need adequate sunlight -- and will derive much the same benefit from Way Healthier full spectrum lighting in your home. With veterinarian bills rivaling the cost for our own medical bills, boosting their health is an extra bonus of using full spectrum light ... and just makes good sense.

Similarly, plants also grow better under full spectrum lights. Obviously, plants depend on quality light for their growth -- just like we do. Relying on sunlight coming through windows during part of the day is not adequate. Add to this other factors such as air pollution, cloudy weather, and dirty windows (or no windows) and you can easily see how the addition of full spectrum lighting will make your green thumb even greener.

What Makes A Light Full Spectrum?

I apologize in advance if this gets a bit technical. However, as a consumer, you are owed all the facts so that you can make informed choices, especially with such important issues about your health and well-being -- wouldn't you agree?

First of all, you should consider these key points:

·         In order to achieve natural balanced sunlight INDOORS, your light bulbs must contain a full spectrum of color (imagine all the colors of the rainbow).

  • Additionally, true full spectrum lighting must contain infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths. (The hazards of UV have been vastly exaggerated -- moderate levels of UV are not only safe, but essential for good health.)

Way Healthier full spectrum light bulbs contain all these essential ingredients (full color spectrum, IR and UV) to help you receive the complete balanced complement of natural light.

·         Third, there is no such thing as an incandescent full spectrum light bulb (despite what some unscrupulous sales people might tell you). Inexpensive neodymium bulbs touted as "full spectrum" lights will not give you the health benefits of true full spectrum, and are consequently no bargain.

·         And fourth, fluorescent bulbs are the ONLY type of bulbs that currently produce complete and healthy full spectrum lighting. But, as you will see, not all fluorescent bulbs are the same ...

There is some terminology you need to be aware of to really understand why Way Healthier bulbs are TRUE full spectrum lights ... and why many bulbs on the market are not.

Two terms you should understand are Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) and Color Retention Index (CRI).

Correlated Color Temperature is a scale used to describe temperature in degrees Kelvin (abbreviated as 'K'). The CCT rating for a lamp is a general indication of the warmth or coolness of its appearance. As CCT increases, that means the appearance of the source light has shifted from reddish-white toward bluish-white; in other words, the higher the color temperature, the cooler the color appearance.

Now, this may seem counter-intuitive -- we want to believe that bluer light sources have a lower or "cooler" color temperature, and that yellow light sources have a higher or "warmer" color temperature. However, the exact opposite is true.

·         Lamps with a lower color temperature (3500K or less) have a warm or reddish-yellow to orange-white appearance. Saturated in red and orange wavelengths, the light brings out warmer colors such as red and orange more richly.

·         Lamps with a mid-range color temperature (3500K to 4100K) have a neutral or white appearance. The light is more balanced in its color wavelengths.

·         Lamps with a higher color temperature (4100K or higher) have a cool or bluish-white appearance.

So don't be confused: summer sunlight at noon on a clear day has a very cool appearance at about 5500K. The light is saturated in green and blue wavelengths, bringing out cooler object colors such as green and blue more richly.

This color temperature of 5500K is exactly the temperature found in Way Healthier full spectrum light bulbs, making them comparable to mid-day sun, the time of day when the sun has its highest "photobiotic" activity.

The other term you should understand, the Color Rendering Index or CRI, describes how a light source makes the color of an object appear to human eyes; how well subtle variations in color shades are revealed. CRI is expressed as a rating from 0 to 100; the higher the CRI rating, the better its color rendering ability.

Imagine two objects, one red and one blue, which are lighted by a cool light source with a low CRI. The red object appears muted while the blue object appears a rich blue. Now take out the low CRI light source and put in a cool light source with a high CRI. The blue object still appears a rich blue, but the red object appears more like its true color.

One common misconception is that color temperature and color rendering both describe the same properties of the lamp. You can see from the above descriptions that this is not the case. Color temperature describes the color appearance of the light source and the light emitted from it. Color rendering describes how well the light demonstrates colors in objects.

'Way Healthier' Full Spectrum Light Bulbs Simulate Natural Sunshine with an Optimal CCT and CRI

Yet another misconception is that all fluorescent lamps are neutral or cool in color appearance and do not have very good color rendering ability. This is largely due to the fact that the typical "cool white" fluorescent lamp has historically been the industry standard. It has a cool color (4200K) with a poor CRI rating (62).

There are also some "cool white" bulbs on the market with a CRI of 82 and CCT of 3000-4100K that are being falsely promoted as full spectrum lights. Unfortunately, this relatively poor color rendering and harsh yellow color promotes eye strain and fatigue -- and the technology is over 75 years old! While the manufacturer can offer these bulbs more cheaply, the light is far from healthy and will lose its intensity quickly, causing these bulbs to need replacing every year.

This is simply not the case with more technologically sophisticated full spectrum lighting found in the Way Healthier bulbs.

So, in order to see how close Way Healthier full spectrum lights are to the natural goodness of sunshine, compare the difference between natural outdoor light, Way Healthier fluorescent full spectrum light, and ordinary fluorescent light in the spectral distribution charts below:

I'm sure you can see how closely the Way Healthier full spectrum light bulb simulates the qualities of natural outdoor light.

For even more detailed specifications regarding the Way Healthier compact fluorescent 30 watt bulb, see the chart below:

















Correspondingly, some other superior features special or unique to Way Healthier full spectrum light bulbs include:

  • Long Bulb Life

These full spectrum light bulbs are rated for 10,000 full hours of light (compare this to the average light bulb in your home!)

  • Flicker-free Electronic Ballast

This electronic ballast reduces flicker and noise -- and generates virtually no damaging electromagnetic radiation (EMF). This is yet another reason why these full spectrum lights are better than traditional fluorescents, which have a magnetic ballast that does produce hazardous EMFs.

  • Compact Size

This Way Healthier full spectrum light bulb is so compact in size that it will fit into most household lighting fixtures and lamps.

  • Quality Rare Earth Phosphors

The quality of a full spectrum light bulb depends largely on the quality of the full spectrum phosphors used for manufacturing. A team of experts led by Dr. John Ott, one of the inventors of full spectrum lighting, designed and developed a proprietary blend using rare earth phosphors to develop long-lasting and correct full spectrum light bulbs at 5500 Kelvin temperature and 93 CRI.

Years of research went into creating this blend of natural sunlight in a bulb through proper color rendering, full spectrum color temperature and the science of chromaticity. This one-of-a-kind Phosphor Lux™ technology is combined into the Way Healthier full spectrum light bulbs to help optimize its color ratio and fine tune color perception.
And last, but certainly not least -- as far as you're concerned, you get:

  • A Full One Year Warranty (that even includes breakage!)

To summarize, although the Way Healthier full spectrum light bulb may look like the common compact fluorescent, the experience and effect on your health is remarkably different.

Simply, there is no comparison in the quality of Way Healthier bulbs versus what is standard in the marketplace today.

Way Healthier Full Spectrum Lights are the Best Bulb at the Best Price

You may have thought that full spectrum lighting was too expensive. I completely understand. At first glance, they do seem pretty pricey, and this has been a major drawback for many people, who were previously unable to afford full spectrum lights in their homes.

So, it may surprise you to know that Mercola.com is now able to offer you these full spectrum light bulbs today for less than what it cost us wholesale just 2 years ago.

Why? Well, my team was able to identify the best source in the world for these high-quality full spectrum light bulbs -- the largest bulb manufacturer in China. And we negotiated a super price for you.

Although most quality full spectrum light bulbs cost $30-40 a bulb (which I agree IS expensive), we are able to slash that price as much as 58% if you buy the six-pack -- which I strongly recommend.

Instead of the unhealthy yellow light you, like most people, probably use throughout your home, I recommend you get the healthy advantage of this Way Healthier full spectrum lighting. The bulbs offered here replace the standard size bulbs, so you will be able to replace many of the bulbs in your home if you choose.

These Full Spectrum Light Bulbs Pay for Themselves in Energy Savings

Besides being affordable in cost alone, these Way Healthier full spectrum lights consume 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs for the amount of light they produce -- and last about five times longer. This means that, although they are only 30 watt bulbs, they produce as much light as a typical 150 watt light bulb.

So, these full spectrum light bulbs wind up paying for themselves in decreased energy use and a reduction in your electric bill. They're not only good for you, but good for the environment as well.

Don't Miss Out on Our Very Limited Supply of Full Spectrum Lights -- Stock Up Today!

In 2004, we ran out of our supply of full spectrum light bulbs within days after putting them up for sale on the website.

So in 2005 we ordered a larger supply -- but again we rapidly sold out of every one of them.

We just received a shipment of 3000 of these bulbs, so if you are interested in ordering any I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you do so as soon as possible.

These are the highest quality full spectrum bulbs available, at a cost below lesser full spectrum bulbs out there -- the ONLY catch is that they sell out faster than my team can get them, so please order your desired supply while you still can.

Think about everything you've read. You can now enjoy all the benefits of better health and productivity that I have personally experienced -- quickly, easily and affordably ...

Order now to avoid being disappointed by the months of delays that come with having to re-order more bulbs from China.

Winter is the best time to fill your home and office with the healing quality of natural full spectrum lighting. Just remember that there is no risk to you with your healthy investment in Way Healthier full spectrum lights.

Way Healthier Home Full Spectrum Light Bulbs - Exclusively on Mercola.com






Important Note:
The Way Healthier Full Spectrum Compact Light Bulbs
only work on 110V and will only work in North America
unless a voltage converter is used. The bulbs will fit in
all standard sized fixtures/lamps.


The Health Benefits of Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Other Favorite Holiday Spices






By Dr. Joseph Mercola
     with Rachael Droege

Nothing signals the start of the holiday season better than the scent of holiday spices filling your home. But popular holiday spices have much more to offer than pleasing scents--they each have unique health benefits that will add not only great taste to your holiday dishes but also a healthy boost.


The sweet and spicy flavor of cinnamon has been used by many different cultures for its medicinal properties for hundreds, even thousands, of years.

One of the most talked about benefits of cinnamon relates to type 2 diabetes. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day significantly reduces blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It also reduces triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels among this group.

Cinnamon’s other benefits include:

  • Supports digestive function
  • Constricts and tones tissues
  • Relieves congestion
  • Relieves pain and stiffness of muscles and joints
  • Relieves menstrual discomfort
  • Blood-thinning compounds that stimulate circulation
  • Anti-inflammatory compounds that may relieve arthritis
  • Helps prevent urinary tract infections, tooth decay and gum disease
  • It’s a powerful anti-microbial agent that can kill E. coli and other bacteria


Nutmeg is another spice that has a variety of healing properties and can be used in a wide range of dishes during the holidays and all year long. It is useful for:

  • Insomnia (nutmeg can produce drowsiness so it should be taken when you have a chance to relax or sleep)
  • Anxiety
  • Calming muscle spasms
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint pain and gout
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Male infertility and impotence
  • Improving concentration
  • Increasing circulation
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Toothaches (nutmeg oil)

** Please note that taking too much nutmeg (one to three nuts or less) can cause side effects such as nausea, hallucinations, swelling and shock.


Cloves have a potent, sweet and spicy, aromatic flavor that makes a great complement to many foods. They have been consumed in some areas, such as Asia, for more than 2,000 years. Among the clove’s most well-known healing properties is its ability to relieve tooth and gum pain, but it has many benefits beyond that. These include:

  • Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties
  • Relief from respiratory ailments such as asthma and bronchitis
  • Relief from muscle pains from injuries or arthritis and rheumatism
  • Eliminates intestinal parasites, fungi and bacteria
  • May encourage creativity and mental focus


Ginger is another spice with a potent flavor that is great for warming your body and adding kick to foods.

It’s medicinal properties include:

  • Soothes nausea, motion sickness and other stomach upset
  • Relieves morning sickness
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Eliminates intestinal gas
  • Relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Relieves dizziness
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Protects against bacteria and fungi
  • Encourages bile flow
  • Promotes cardiovascular health


The therapeutic effects of fresh peppermint leaves have been known since ancient times and its aromatic aroma has come to symbolize hospitality in many cultures. Its healing properties include:

  • Soothing to the digestive tract
  • Relieves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
  • May protect against cancer
  • Inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungus
  • Relieves the symptoms of allergies and asthma

While there are many benefits to be had by adding spices to your diet, don't forget that these foods should not be taken every day or you run the risk of developing an allergy to them. Spices should not be looked at as a "cure" for your health problems, only by addressing the underlying causes of illness with a healthy diet and lifestyle will you be able to achieve optimum health.

Please use care when choosing your spices, as in the United States over 65 million pounds of spices, herbs and dry ingredients are irradiated each year. Fortunately, in the United States and Canada irradiated spices have to be labeled with the international symbol for irradiated foods, the "radura" symbol. However, processed foods that contain irradiated spices do not have to be labeled in the United States. So before you purchase a spice be sure to check the label to ensure that it has not been irradiated--organic varieties are your best bet.

But don’t let this discourage you from taking advantage of all that spices have to offer. Spices used with the above advice in mind are indeed an excellent way to add flavor and healing properties to your diet.










DoctorYourself .Com


World’s Largest Health Homesteading Website (www.doctoryourself.com)


Spontaneous Release by Positioning: First Aid for Your Back


(This is a great article on how to adjust your own back when a vertebra pops out,

which happens to most people occasionally. (I had my son try this on me last night,

as I had a vertebrae pop out 2 vertebrae below the big one at the base of the neck.

It really works! Whistler)


We're all ignorant, just on different subjects.
(Will Rogers)

 One of the handiest techniques for putting slightly out-of-place vertebrae back into line (or "putting your back in") is called spontaneous release by positioning.  The technique was developed by Dr. Lawrence Hugh Jones, a Canadian doctor of osteopathy (D.O.).  Dr. Jones published his technique in The D.O., January 1964, pp. 118-125.  It is a very effective, non-invasive procedure that most anyone can learn and use.

(Important caution:  Common sense dictates the need of genuine care in dealing with any back problem.  Consult a medical, osteopathic or chiropractic doctor before proceeding with this, or any other self-care approach.)

 The very first time I had occasion to require spontaneous release was during the time I was taking a short course in how to do it.  I really wasn't at all convinced of the value of the technique until it was used on me.  This is so often the way, isn't it?  One day I stepped off the curb to cross a street and suddenly felt my back give way and my leg get weak.  I must have moved just right... or should I say, just wrong... and it threw my lower back out severely.  I tried assorted exercises at home to try to correct it, but none worked.  It was painful in the big muscles of the lower back, the lumbar area, and I couldn't do anything about it. So the next class,  I asked the instructor to use me as the example of the day. 

 I was told to relax, was rolled up into a ball with my leg up under my chest in an odd but strangely comfortable position.  I knew that the teacher was pressing a trigger point aside my lower vertebra, but I only knew he was pressing the point because he told me he was, and I looked and saw it.  But I felt no pain at all in this position, and believe me, that was amazing after the great discomfort I'd been having.  A couple of minutes of relaxation passed, and he brought my posture back to normal.  The pain was gone, and it did not return. I rested a moment and got up and about again.  I've been successfully employing spontaneous release ever since because it is both gentle and it works so well.                                    

 "Spontaneous release" is another phrase for ''nature cured it" when applied to your back.  Occasionally a slightly displaced vertebra will slip back into place on its own.  An unusual sleeping position or a chance movement can return a vertebra to its place, though not quite as easily as it can be put "out."  This spontaneous realignment of the spine is not to be confused with  "learning to live with it" or any other mere toleration of  the aches or pains resulting from misplaced bones.  It is one thing for the body to compensate for a problem, and quite another for the body to actually correct the problem. 

 So why is a technique needed at all if the body corrects itself?  First of all, spontaneous release rarely occurs on its own.  It would be nice if it did, but  legions of backache patients prove otherwise.  It seems easier for a bone to go out than to go in, in the same manner  that it's easier to break a watch than fix it, or easier to scramble an egg than to put it back together again.  When a bone goes out, the surrounding muscles also are affected.  Dr. Jones explains this well in his paper.  It seems that once the bone is out, the tendency of the muscles is to hold it's new position.  It's only through a unique position coupled with muscle relaxation that the bone can slip back into place almost unnoticed.

This is precisely what "spontaneous release by positioning" seeks to accomplish: this technique recreates the circumstances in which the bone went out, to encourage it to replace itself of its own accord.  You are recreating the body's posture or position that put the vertebra out in the first place.  It's like retracing your steps looking for your lost car keys.

 By carefully positioning a person's arms or legs up or down, back turned this way or that, hips or neck pivoted right or left, a patient with even severe back pain is found to all at once find a comfortable position, a position where there is no pain or almost no pain.  It may be quite an odd-looking position, but the discomfort is eased or completely gone. This is the posture that encouraged the bone to go out in the first place; now we'll use the same position to encourage the bone to return.

 You can always tell when you've discovered the correct position because the patient will be comfortable.  The person previously may have been barely able to sit, walk or stand up, but when you have the correct position the person will be at ease even though, in fact because, the body is in an odd posture.  The very posture that put the initial strain on the back is now taking the strain off the back.  Says Dr. Jones:

 Even the severest lesions will readily tolerate being returned to the position in which lesion formation originally occurred, and only to this position.  When the joint is returned to this position, the muscles promptly and gratefully relax.  These joints do not cause distress because they are crooked; they are paining because they are being forced to be too straight.  This is the mechanism of strain. (p 119)

In other words, the muscles are "used" to the strain, and contract to hold the bone out of place.  When the person tries to straighten up, the bones won't, because the muscles won't let them. And, the muscles won't  relax because the bones are out of alignment.  That is
why heating pads, rubs, medicines and "learn to live with it" do not solve the problem. Because those approaches do not reposition the bone, the muscle cannot relax to normal. That's why there's pain.

 How to eliminate the pain? Reposition the bone back to normal.  How then to reposition the bone(s) to normal?  Reposition the person's body to the extreme but now comfortable posture so the muscles will relax.  Dr. Jones says you then hold the person in that position, as the person relaxes, for 90 seconds.  Then, still relaxing, the person is brought back around slowly to a normal posture.  It is found that the bone that was out returns with the rest of the spine to normal position.                    

 To better find exactly which vertebrae are out, and also to demonstrate to yourself that the bones do in fact realign and pain does in fact disappear, it may be helpful to utilize what are called "trigger points" along the spine.  Looking at the back one can see the spinal column as a stack of bumps.  To either side of this vertebral spine will be a trigger point.  The distance out from the bump will be about one to two inches.  Dr. Jones describes specific trigger locations in detail in his paper, and tells how to use them individually. 

 As we said earlier,  nerves emerge from between the vertebrae in your back.  Each vertebra  has side projections, like wings, and a rear-facing spine which you see as the "teacup handle" or bump.  If a given  vertebra is misaligned, the nerve or musculature on one or both sides of that bone will be tender.  This is, as we have said,  because the bone's somewhat twisted condition puts pressure on the nerve emerging to each side of it. Therefore,  if you press there, it may hurt quite a bit.  That's how you can tell which bones are out.  Gently go up and down the spine and press lightly about one inch out to either side of each vertebral spine or "bump."  Where there's pain, that's where the nerve is under pressure,  where the muscle is locking,  and where the bone is out.  And that's the trigger point for that bone.
 It is likely that you will find one side of the vertebra to be more tender than the other.  What one does in that case is keep pressing lightly on the tender spot while repositioning the person.  When the correct position is reached, the person will say that he no longer feels pain even though pressure is still being applied on the trigger point.  This is positive proof that you've found the right trigger point and  that you've found the right position.  What I do then is be sure the person is relaxing.  I hold the position, while pressing the trigger point, for about between 90 seconds and three minutes, and then bring the person back to normal posture while continuing to press the trigger point.  If  you've corrected the problem, the person will not feel  discomfort, and will not feel pain even though you continue to press the trigger point that hurt him before you started.

Summary of the steps of spontaneous release by positioning:

1.) Find the right trigger point by gently pressing to each side of each vertebra.  Pain indicates the trigger point.

2.) While pressing that point, begin to reposition the person, asking him to tell you when the pain stops.

3.) When a comfortable position is reached, continue pressing the trigger point while holding the person in the unusual position that he himself has indicated to you by cessation of pain.

4.) Be sure the person is relaxed if you want this to be successful.  You must hold the position, not the patient.   If the patient holds the position, he is using the very muscles that you are seeking to relax.  If the patient is not relaxed, the technique will not work.  

5.) After1 1/2 minutes or so, you return the person to a normal posture while continuing to press the spot.

6.) If the person feels better and the trigger point pressure no longer hurts, then the bone is back in its proper place.

Step-by-step suggestions:

 On step 1.) The person's back should be uncovered.  Some people will tell you of pain with only the lightest pressure to the trigger point.  With other cases, you may have to press fairly hard in finding the spot.  Very muscular persons often require more pressure.  Persons in great pain often require but a touch.  I once worked on a relative whose back was in such excruciating pain that just a washcloth's pressure when taking a bath hurt him greatly.  After half an hour of spontaneous release by positioning he was so much improved that I could press those same spots on his back until my fingernails were white.  There is real relief for you!

 On step 2.) Be sure to ask the person to tell you if a given trial position is better, worse, or the same.  Some people won't tell you if you're helping them or hurting them, so ask!  Ask constantly, "Better, worse, or the same?" "Better, worse, or the same?" If you're working on the neck, the person may begin in a sitting position.  If you are working on the upper or middle back, the person might sit, or it may be easier to lie face down.  For the lower back, the person may lie down on their side or face down.  Start symmetrically, and end symmetrically; that is, sit or lie straight to begin, and always end up straight with no crossed legs or slouching.

 On step 3.) The only comfortable position for the patient may be very unusual or extreme, and that's common.  The person may be in no pain at all only when rolled up like a ball, or twisted one leg over the other, or with their head pointed out and up with the chin in the air, or with their arm bent back over their shoulder!  You just have to try any position until you get the sure sign that you've found the right one: No more pain, where you are pressing or anywhere else in the patient.

 On step 4.) Dr. Jones mentions that ''patients will try to help you.  Don't let them."  This is because spontaneous release by positioning is and must remain totally passive on the part of the patient, and all he or she can do to help is to say when the pain is gone, and relax.  That is it.

 After the procedure, the person worked on should rest for a while, and later endeavor to keep good posture while resting or working.  This is important, because the bone replaced is most likely to slip back out of place if again offered the extreme position that did it before.

 On step 5.) The length of time that you have to hold the position will vary with each situation.  Experience best shows how you can be the judge.
 On step 6.) With spontaneous release by positioning, as with math, you can always check your work.  The trigger point that hurt when you pressed it showed you which vertebra was out; the trigger point when pressed with the person in the correct posture no longer hurt, so it showed you the correct position; the trigger point when pressed throughout the rotation of the person back to normal position no longer hurts, either, and shows you that the release was accomplished.

 So we can see the value of positioning, relaxation, and trigger points. These three form the basis of this technique.

 You can try spontaneous release by positioning yourself, but not on yourself.  If you try to position yourself, you will not be the necessary passive, relaxed patient.  You can not have relaxed muscles if you are using them.  You must exert force to position your limbs, or to press trigger points. You can either relax a muscle or use a muscle; you cannot do both together.  This is why it is good to teach family members this technique: you may be the one needing it at some point.  If everyone learns, then you can help each other.  When I did farm work, with much reaching, lifting, pulling and  carrying, my wife did spontaneous release by positioning on me almost every day.  But she had her turn: when she was pregnant,  particularly during the eighth and ninth months, I had to put her back in as much as twice a day.  This prevented the considerable back discomfort that so  many women complain of during pregnancy due to the extra weight applied to the back in carrying a child.  (Gentlemen, you just try strapping one or two large bags of dog food around your middle and see how it feels!)  All that new extra weight must be supported by the same backbones.

 Spontaneous release by positioning is my preferred way to relieve backache and warm-up stretches or yoga postures are my preferred ways to prevent backache.  First, they are easy to do, with exercise books and yoga classes available in abundance to guide you.  Second, it is virtually impossible to do them incorrectly unless it hurts.  As the old joke goes, "Doc, it hurts when I do that."  The reply: "Well, don't do that."  Doing it right means doing it gently.  If you do a set of each first thing in the morning and again at bedtime, you will work better, sleep better, and feel better.  Do this every day, and you will notice that you are able to reach further and touch those toes again.  My high school Phys Ed teacher told me a long time ago that the single, simplest test of a person's physical fitness is to see if they can touch their toes.  Can you?  If not, do stretches.  If you can touch them, continue doing stretches.

 If you want to foster your self-reliance in caring for your back, these simple first aid techniques, which are closely related to osteopathy, physical therapy and chiropractic, may help.  It still takes me aback that there isn't more interest from those three professions in spontaneous release by positioning.  Maybe it is because the name is too long.  Maybe it is because it takes more time than busy practitioners want to spend.  Maybe it is because wellness self-reliance cuts into the profit of fee-per-visit professionals.

 In other words, perhaps it is because this procedure works too well.

 I was on the faculty of a chiropractic college for three years, and although I am not a chiropractor, I know a lot of them.  I am yet to see an adjustment technique that is more gentle and more effective than spontaneous release by positioning.  Once a woman, who was an aide at a nursing home, came in with some numbness down her arm and no grip strength.  Her job consisted largely of lifting patients, and at 52, she'd been daily straining her back for a long time.  She had been to the usual flock of doctors and received the usual gaggle of prescriptions.  None really helped; how can a pill correct the position of a bone?  Spontaneous release on her lower neck, a matter of a few painless minutes, and she was better.  She said she could feel, right away, the change in her arm.  Her grasping ability came back while I watched.

 Another woman, who had seen so many physicians that she'd lost count, had numbness and tingling all down her lower legs, and swollen fingers and toes.  Doctors had ruled out any malady they knew of, and told her to learn to live with it, as she was getting old.  The lady was 60.  Half an hour of spontaneous release later, she had normal feeling in her limbs and, most incredibly to me, the swelling was gone from her fingers.

 This is a great technique.  Darned if anybody is taught it anymore, though.

Copyright  C  1999 and prior years Andrew W. Saul.  From the books QUACK DOCTOR and PAPERBACK CLINIC, available from Dr. Andrew Saul,  Number 8 Van Buren Street, Holley, New York 14470.