A good engine oil acts as the liquid engineer for your vehicle. It acts primarily as a lubricant, and as a cleansing agent. It helps in filtering out all the byproducts of combustion, reduces friction, and cools down the tremendous heat generated during the combustion process. It is absolutely essential to keep changing the oil at regular intervals, to keep the engine running at its optimum efficiency. But what about the vehicles with high mileage? Does the high mileage oil really work for them? Is it a mere gimmick to sell oil at higher prices? Let us find out the answers to these questions, in detail.
What is High Mileage Oil?
This oil is different from the others in one major aspect, that is, the special additives. The cleaning additives and seal conditioners, along with its appropriate viscosity, make it more effective for vehicles with high mileage. It was developed specially for vehicles with more than 75,000 miles. When your vehicle has run these many miles, the engine develops problems like friction, sludge, deposition of byproducts, and leaks, on a more regular basis than earlier.
The efficiency of the engine oil gets reduced, adversely affecting the efficiency of the engine as a whole. Here, the benefits of high mileage oil come into the picture. It prevents the frequent sludge formation and deposit buildup with the help of its special additives, and helps the engine to deal better with the hotter or colder climates.
High Mileage vs Regular Oil
Many people are apprehensive of putting in the extra money for high mileage oils, as they feel that it doesn't help a great deal if their vehicle is properly maintained over the years. Such people religiously take care of their vehicle, drive sensibly, follow regular maintenance checks, and change the engine oil according to the time interval mentioned by their vehicle manufacturer. In such cases, the vehicle works absolutely fine, without any hiccups, for as long as 200,000 miles and more.
Hence, they staunchly claim that such kinds of oil are merely the smart marketing gimmicks of the oil manufacturers. On the other hand, many vehicle owners like its benefits, and actually feel that the additives in it benefit the older engines, and fight the problems typically found in the high mileage engines. Moreover, the oil in question is semi-synthetic. However, since people using synthetic oil do not experience any major problems over years, they avoid switching over to any other oil.
All said and done, the use of this oil has its share of pros and cons. So, it is up to the respective vehicle owners to decide what is best for their vehicles, keeping in mind the directives in the manufacturer's manual. Here are the reviews for some of the best engine oils in the market.
- Mobil 1 High Mileage 10W-40 Synthetic Motor Oil: The official motor oil of NASCAR, this is especially designed for use in engines over 75,000 miles. It is formulated with SuperSyn, fully synthetic, high-viscosity fluid, and an anti-wear additive that helps protect critical engine parts from lubricant-related failure. It reconditions old seals, and helps prevent leaks with its seal conditioner. It helps reduce oil burn-off, and is specially engineered to reduce sludge and performance-robbing deposits.
- Castrol GTX High Mileage Oil: Used in most of the best mileage cars in recent times, it comes with an additive package that reduces burning, seal conditioners, and superior detergents that work to reduce sludge. It is particularly suitable for modern motors and smog equipment. It may not be suitable for pre-1993 motors, as it does not contain the ZDDP (Zinc Dialkyl-Dithio-Phosphate) additive. It is available mainly in 5 grades, from 5W-20 to 20W-50.
- Valvoline MaxLife: This one is available in two blends: mineral synthetic and full synthetic. Both are available in multiple weights, and in multi-viscosity grades. It is the best oil for vehicles built in the early nineties. With no extra ZDDP, it slows the oil burning, and treats the seals, without coating the smog sensors and catalytic converter. It is especially good for driving in uncertain weather conditions.
Some other good oils are Pennzoil High Mileage 5W-30 and Spectrum Plus 10w30. Since there is a lot of ambiguity involved, the debate over which oil is a better choice, is left without a specific conclusion. However, one thing is certain; whichever you use, the open secret of improving gas mileage, and lengthening effective working of your vehicle, is to have regular maintenance checks and oil changes as per time intervals mentioned in your vehicle manufacturer's manual.