Detergent VS. Non-Detergent: Choose the Right Motor Oil for You

A non-detergent oil used to the be the only option for your engine..

Non-detergents became popular during a time when oil filters were seen only an option and not an industry standard. What do non-detergents do? Well, they act as a magnet for contaminants! They gather all the bad contaminants that damage your engine and prevent them from sticking to the side walls and open cracks. This is commonly known as engine build-up or “sludge”. Non-detergent oils are compatible with unrestored engines on older vehicles and vehicles that are consistently using non-detergent oils.

A non-detergent oil may be the best choice for your vehicle, it does its’ job by lubricating all of the correct parts. When determining where a non-detergent it the correct option, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, it is a good idea to shorten your interval time between oil changes to keep your engine running healthy. Something more to consider would be to do a regular Oil Analysis because there aren’t as many additives in non-detergents to assist in protecting your oil or engine against contaminants. A regular oil analysis will help you catch the possibility of engine damage before any real damage occurs.

Since introducing detergent oils, they have worked their way up to being the most popular choice for car owners today. Detergent oils have enhanced additive packages blending in them to prevent rust, break down engine sludge and stabilize acids to prolong oil life. With a newer engine or an engine that has been running on a detergent oil for years this is the right choice, it keeps your engine cleaner and running smoothly.

You may ask yourself, “Should I make the switch from a non-detergent to a detergent motor oil?”

In my opinion, you can but you shouldn’t. If you have an engine that has been running on a non-detergent oil for years it could actually damage your engine to switch to a detergent oil. You see, after so many years your engine is going to have sludge and contaminants built up within it. By switching to a detergent oil it could cause the sludge to break apart and be released throughout your engine. This could ruin several things from rods, cam shafts, bearings or anything in-between. The movement of the sludge overtime can clog your engine lines and cause serious wear on the engine. If you have an engine that runs healthy with a non-detergent, the best thing to do is keep the oil consistent.

It is important to break down the misconception that all non-detergent oils are bad. Non-detergent and detergent oils both have their benefits and downfalls but each application is unique. It’s all about making the right choice for your engine based on what it needs.

Do you have additional questions about choosing the right motor oil for your engine?

Call 800.722.7743 to get connected with one of our experts today! You can also ask a question any time of the day and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Written by Taylor Eirhart

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