Oil Never Wears Out—It Just Gets Contaminated!

April 25, 2018 4:34 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Contrary to popular belief, oil never actually “wears out.” When you change the oil in an engine, it’s not because the oil has become mechanically worse—it’s because of excess contamination that has built up inside the system. The oil itself still maintains all of its inherent properties, it just has extra carbon, dirt and other contaminants that have entered it and cannot easily be removed.

The Center for Hazardous Materials Research at the University of Pittsburgh Applied Research Center has evaluated a variety of issues related to oil use over the years, including oil contamination. In a study about Harvard™ brand filters, which we provide at Texford Battery Co., the Center found the following:

  • Harvard™ filters are effective at reducing contaminant levels in oil
  • The Harvard™ Oil Extender program reduces oil consumption by 50 percent or more
  • Reducing concentration of contaminants significantly reduces the wear and tear on internal engine and machine parts
  • Savings earned from greater oil efficiency offset the costs of the Oil Extender Program

Below is an overview of oil contamination and filtration from a battery store in Houston, TX, and what you should know about oil properties in your engine.

Oil contamination

The Center’s study determined, in a finding that’s consistent with previous studies, that oil does not wear out—it maintains its integrity forever, and only needs to be changed once external sources have contaminated it. The contamination of the oil causes about 70 percent of all the friction-related problems inside machines.

Dirt, dust and other debris are, of course, common solid contaminants. But water also acts as a liquid contaminant when it makes its way into the lubrication system. When that happens, it combines with trace compounds inside the system to create nitrous or sulfurous acids, which damage components of the lubrication system.


The filtration process involves pushing fluids and oil through a permeable barrier, filtering out contaminants and allowing the pure oil to pass through. There are two main categories of filtration systems: full-flow and off-line.

Full-flow filters are installed “on-line” close to the oil pump and only remove larger particles from the oil. Off-line filters, which include the Harvard™ brand filters we sell at Texford Battery Co., are installed parallel to these full-flow filters and do much more to reduce contamination. They are commonly made of cloth or pulp, and filter at least some oil at any given time. This means the filter retains oil longer and better traps any contaminants that enter the system.

Through Harvard’s Oil Extender Program, you can use a special off-line filter to trap contaminants as small as one micron (most are about five microns). This also helps you detect potential engine or machine problems much earlier than you otherwise would, allowing you to save a significant amount of money on potential large-scale repairs.

For more information about the benefits of high-quality oil filtration and how you can extend the life of the oil in your engine, contact our battery store in Houston, TX today.

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