There are all kinds of lubricants on the market today but what’s best for your high-mileage vehicle? Valvoline MaxLife oil is specifically designed for cars and trucks with more than 75,000 miles. It’s engineered from the ground up to maximize the life of your hard-working powerplant.
MaxLife helps decrease four major causes of engine problems. It can help reduce external leaks, cut down internal deposits, resist the formation of sludge and may even help to reduce friction.
Having a car or truck that “marks its territory” so to speak is often the result of seal degradation. Over time the rubber components inside a powerplant can become brittle and shrink; small cracks can even form. All of this decay can lead to seepage and ultimately leaks.
“Most high-mileage oils will have a seal conditioner,” including MaxLife said Z. George Zhang, Ph.D. and director of Valvoline Technical International.
With elastomers, a fancy name for the rubber compounds seals are made from, Zhang said that over time certain chemical components can leach out of them. Special conditioning compounds “tend to react with elastomers” he said, replacing some of what’s been lost over time and increasing their sealing abilities. Think of these chemicals as a salve. If your hands are dried out and the skin is cracked you can bring back its suppleness with lotion.
Beyond this Zhang also mentioned that special conditioners can cause seals to expand slightly, which is another thing that helps prevent leaks.
Helping revive damaged seals is one major benefit of Valvoline MaxLife, a product range the company introduced around the year 2000, making it the first high-mileage oil created for cars with over 75,0000 miles available on the market. And today it’s Valvoline’s best offering in this product category.
WHO SHOULD USE HIGH-MILEAGE OIL?
When is the time right to start running a high-mileage oil? The folks at Valvoline recommend you make the switch at 75,000 miles. Zhang said “we use 75,000 as a typical reminder,” though you can certainly run MaxLife beyond that, or even before. But as always it’s a good idea to consult the owner’s manual to find out what your vehicle’s specific needs are.
“It can be really good for high-mileage engines” said Zhang, though the lubricant’s unique formulation includes more than just seal conditioners. MaxLife features extra anti-wear additives as well as additional dispersants and detergents to help break up any sludge and keep things cleaner.
Zhang said that when moving parts are out of tolerance, such as inside a high-mileage engine, there’s a greater chance for “metal-on-metal wear,” which is a very bad thing. He said “anti-wear materials form a sacrificial layer between metal surfaces” preventing friction from harming engine components.
WHAT CAN HIGH-MILEAGE OIL DO?
In general terms high-mileage oil probably costs a bit more than a comparable standard lubricant, but if your car has been around the block a few hundred thousand times, the benefits may well be worth the added expense.
The abovementioned seal conditioners can be surprisingly effective. Proving this point Zhang said, “We’ve seen cases where after two oil changes the leaking is gone.” Additionally he noted, “Some of the older vehicles tend to produce a white-bluish smoke,” which is a symptom of burning oil.
For instance, if an engine’s valve-guide seals have gone bad the conditioners found in MaxLife oil can help reduce seepage past these parts, but that’s not all. This product also has a lower volatility rating, which means it’s less likely to burn away. Zhang said this is “a fairly apparent thing [owners] can see after an oil change,” that is, less off-color smoke coming out of the tail pipe.
But you don’t have to drive a rusted-out rattletrap to run this kind of lubricant. Zhang said, “It’s really good for high-mileage engines … for when vehicle performance is deteriorating,” but it can also be used in brand-new cars as well.
IS IT WORTH THE EXTRA COST?
Asked directly about whether high-mileage oil was worth the added expense Zhang said, “Absolutely, it’s for the benefit of the engine.” He also noted that regardless of when you switch it can help keep your car or truck’s powerplant “running in optimum condition longer.”
Many do-it-yourselfers may not think their car or truck has racked up a lot of miles. Even at 75,000 an engine is starting to age. There may not be any audible or visual indications that it’s getting older but things like heat, friction and seal degradation are present. Making the switch to a high-mileage lubricant like Valvoline MaxLife can keep things working better, longer and that’s money in the bank compared to a new-car payment.