The trends speak volumes: more older police vehicles traveling more miles. With the average vehicle age in the United States approaching 10 years, consumers as well as fleet operators must find ways to service these older vehicles. Neglecting these special vehicle needs has implications for both municipal budgets and safety.Valvoline®
saw opportunity for the care and maintenance of cars with more than 75,000 miles. In 2001, Valvoline launched MaxLife™ Motor Oil in the United States. In the same year MaxLife was awarded the prestigious Lubricants World 2001 Product of the Year.
In effect, MaxLife established a new performance category within the industry, the first motor oil specially formulated to help meet the demands of high-mileage engines. Motor oil for higher mileage vehicles now is the fastest growing category in the motor oil market, according to industry source NPD Automotive.
“MaxLife is the first motor oil with scientifically formulated additives to help slow down the aging process and maximize the life of higher mileage engines,” said Fran Lockwood, Valvoline senior vice president of technology and product development.
As engines age they lose compression, gaskets become brittle, rings wear, and valves do not tightly seal, she explained. This contributes to increased oil consumption, reduced gas mileage, and an overall decrease in engine performance.What Happens at High Miles?
High mileage engines are those with more than 75,000 miles. The first thing that happens to engines with higher mileage is the seals harden and crack. This causes leaks that contribute to deposits on valves. This robs the engine of horsepower and makes it use more oil. Deposits form on piston rings, which causes them to stick. Stuck rings allow combustion gases to contaminate the oil, which increases oxidation which causes the oil to thicken. Thick oil makes the car harder to start, especially at cold temperatures.
MaxLife has been developed with almost twice as many additive components as conventional motor oils to meet the needs of higher mileage engines. These additional components help prevent these seal problems with higher mileage engines. MaxLife’s formula features a seal conditioner that works to keep engine seals from getting hard and cracking. MaxLife’s conditioner helps keep seals working properly.
MaxLife motor oil also has extra cleaning agents that help reduce deposits, sludge, and varnish formation, which helps prevent loss of horsepower. MaxLife also contains additional thermal stability and oxidation inhibitors. This helps reduce oil burn-off and keeps oxidation under control preventing oil from getting too thick.
A proprietary blend of premium oils and additives also promotes better oil flow for easier cold starts. Finally, MaxLife uses a low volatility formula to help minimize oil consumption. The additional anti-wear additives reduce friction and help prevent future wear.
MaxLife is formulated with both specialty and extra anti-wear additives to exceed the engine protection requirements of API SM/SL. The motor oil is safe for use in new and rebuilt engines and will not void new car warranties. MaxLife also meets engine and emission system protection requirements of ILSAC GF-4. MaxLife meets all current American Petroleum Institute (API) and International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) qualification and performance properties.
MaxLife is available in both conventional grades (5W-30, 10W-30, 10W-40, 20W-50 and SAE 30) and in synthetic grades (5W-30 and 10W-30). Unlike regular synthetic oil, MaxLife Synthetic Motor Oil uses advanced synthetic base stock plus special additives to fight the effects of aging.Performance Testing
MaxLife engine oil has been subjected to a series of engine qualification tests plus vehicle dynamometer and fleet test programs. MaxLife engine oil was tested in both new and aged engines. Standardized ASTM industry tests were conducted, as well as modifications of these oil qualification tests. For example, ASTM Sequence III tests were conducted both as new and aged engines. This engine test procedure is designed to evaluate automotive engine oils for certain high-temperature performance characteristics, including oil thickening, sludge and varnish deposition, and oil consumption, as well as engine wear.Police Fleet Testing
Vehicle tests were conducted in actual police service in addition to conditions typical for average consumers. The Boyd County, KY Police Department participated in this program. The Boyd County Police provides patrol services in eastern Kentucky, dispatched through a 911 center. The patrol car fleet is typical of many others operating anywhere in the United States.
Most of the cars far exceed the 75,000 mile benchmark for MaxLife. The primary objective for this fleet test was to provide “no-harm” data during the early development stages and later to obtain officer’s perception of performance, principally exhaust smoke and oil consumption improvements.Valvoline
also purchased used Ford Crown Victoria patrol cars with over 75,000 miles for performance studies. These cars were selected based upon their total mileage, general condition, a structured maintenance program, and prior police service history. Testing was conducted on paired mileage accumulation dynamometers under controlled conditions.
Dynamometer test conditions provided for controlled mileage accumulation dynamometers at 5000-mile intervals, using a modified US EPA Approved Mileage Accumulation (AMA) durability cycle. The evaluation of oil consumption characteristics was the key performance objective. Cyclic vehicle operation included both low-speed and high-speed conditions, with one cold-soak daily.
A SAE 10W-30 was used as the baseline oil, with MaxLife 10W-30 compared to a competitive (Oil A) SAE 10W-30 that purported high-mileage vehicle claims, to be evaluated for enhancing performance properties.
A series of tests were conducted where the baseline was established using a conventional (without high-mileage performance claims). Technicians monitored the cars during testing. Oil consumption was checked and recorded at regular daily intervals. Tests were then repeated using MaxLife and Oil A. Oil consumption was determined to the nearest 2-ounce increment, during each 5,000-mile test.
Test results reveal a significant improvement in average oil consumption compared to a leading engine oil with high-mileage performance claims. This test represents only a small sample of vehicle and engine tests performed on MaxLife engine oils. Testing continues today at Valvoline to enhance product performance.
With the auto industry forecasting that in the next decade the average vehicle will be able to be driven 200,000 miles, Valvoline sees an opportunity to take care of today’s—and tomorrow’s—vehicles. Valvoline now offers a complete line of MaxLife products for high-mileage cars, everything from conventional and synthetic motor oils to oil filters to antifreeze/coolant to fuel system cleaners to Automatic Transmission Fluid with Stop Leak. Call it “Botox” for the police car. Or just taking care of equipment that must pull double-duty.Victor Kersey is the Manager of Valvoline’s Ashland Laboratory, a Division of Ashland’s Fleet Testing and Engine Laboratories. He may be reached via email@example.com.