We can thank advertising for our belief that crankcase oil loses its efficacy after only 3,000 miles. Sure, if you driving style is purely short trips (so the engine never warms) in harsh climates (extreme heat/cold plus dust), and you rev the wee out of your motor from the moment you key the ignition, you may need to change your oil every 3,000 miles.
However, if you drive as many Americans, oil can last longer than 3,000 miles between changes, especially if you use some of the hyper-filtering devices available today.
Before we get into the details, understand that big-rig fleet operations watch dollars and pennies closer than your Scottish/Jewish spinster grandmother from Oklahoma who grew up during The Great Depression, so they know about extending maintenance intervals without adversely affecting engine longevity. Companies like these (and semi-tractor owner/operators) have been using bypass oil filter technology for decades.
These expensive filtering packages operate by diverting a portion of the truck’s engine oil supply to be cleaned by dedicated auxiliary filters designed to remove dirt particles down to 3-5 microns. The oil not diverted to the bypass filter continues through the high-flow main filter (intended to trap dirt sized larger than 25 microns). Over time, all of the engine’s oil receives the ultra-filtration treatment. The result is that some big rigs can run upwards of 60,000 miles between oil changes, saving considerable maintenance dollars (oil stock plus downtime) in the process.
microGreen Extended Performance Oil Filters
SOMS Technologies LLC now brings this bypass oil filter technology to the motoring masses with their affordable microGreen Extended Performance Oil Filters (www.microgreenfilter.com). These spin-on canister type filters (sorry cartridge users) include a 2-in1 filtering technology that combines a standard paper element (equivalent to a normal oil filter) as well as a bypass micro-filter. At any one time, about 3-5 percent of the oil flowing in to the filter is diverted to the micro-filter while the balance continues through the standard element. After 100 hours of engine operation, all of the engine’s oil will have been cleaned by the bypass filter.
According to Steve Kirchner, SOMS Technologies’ COO, “If you keep your engine’s oil clean, it will last much longer than 3,000 miles. The detergent and anti-oxidation packages that are added to the base oil easily remain effective for more than 25,000 miles when the oil is kept clean.” Kirchner explains that the microGreen filter was first marketed to automotive fleets as a way to help them reduce maintenance costs. With the product’s acceptance in the fleet market providing quantitative support for the filter’s performance, SOMS is now offering the product to the public.
SOMS states that at for vehicle with recommended 3,000-mile oil change interval, a microGreen filter should be installed with new motor oil. Then, only the filter should be swapped out at 6,000 miles, 12,000 miles, and 18,000 miles. Fresh oil and another new filter go in at 24,000. The cost savings are clear, and when looked at through the lens of reducing oil usage, significant. If the engine oil (assume five quarts per change) were refreshed every 3,000 up to 18,000 miles, the comparison is 30 quarts versus five if using the microGreen system.
According to Kirchner, following the microGreen oil change regiment won’t affect your vehicle’s warranty coverage because, “Manufacturers do not ‘require’ oil changes at given intervals. These oil change intervals are ‘recommended,’ so owners aren’t putting themselves at risk provided they follow our protocols. Their vehicle’s oil will stay clean.”
MagnaFilter – A Filter Enhancer
For clean oil fanatics, Boss Products offers another product to consider: their MagnaFilter. This spin-on device goes on the engine prior to the canister filter (again, sorry cartridge users). The standard filter (or, conceivably, a microGreen filter) then screws onto the MagnaFilter. A powerful ring magnet sucks ferrous particles from the oil as it enters the main filter canister (your filter of choice goes here). Of course, any size shrapnel in your engine is bad, so whatever the MagnaFilter can remove is good.
Len Kelsey of Boss Products notes, “Of course everybody knows that metal fragments are bad for an engine, but they also cut down the efficiency of the oil filter. Over time, the metal can actually shred the paper filter elements.”
Unlike drop-in pellet magnets or magnetized oil pan drain plugs that have been advertised in the back of automotive magazines for decades, the MagnaFilter’s more elegant design does a better job of ridding metal shards from oil. Boss Products, an Australian company, recommends a 35,000-mile change interval for their product regardless of how often the vehicle’s engine oil is drained and refilled. Information designed for fleet buyers can be found here (www.MagnaFilterInfo.com), while John Q. Public can order the product here (www.BossProducts.US).
Extending oil changes can be a good idea provided drivers monitor crankcase oil levels. Regardless of how clean the engine oil is, if there’s not enough in the pan, the engine won’t fair well at all.