The guys at Driven Racing Oil understand that one size does not fit all, especially in today’s world where high-performance factory engines face ever-increasing emissions standards and race cars can make use of more specialized oil blends than ever before.
In this handy guide, they touch on a number of topics – most importantly, how critical it is to determine the engine’s use before selecting the proper oil chemistry.
TBN is the phrase of the day; according to Driven, TBN is the Total Base Number, which measures the amount of acid neutralizing power is in the oil formulation.
Water vapor kills engines, and short drives exacerbate the formation of water vapor, which then mixes with the sulfur in your oil along with the partially-burnt fuel to become corrosive to the engine. That’s where an oil with a high TBN comes into play – it’s designed with detergents and dispersants that help to cut through the water, sulfur, and fuel, to help protect the engine. So for a street-going engine, an oil with a high TBN makes the most sense.
On the flip side of the equation, the company cautions that a race engine does not need the high amount of detergents and dispersants present in an oil with a high Total Base Number; instead, it’s most important for a race engine that’s run hard to have a higher concentration of zinc anti-wear additives and extreme pressure additives to keep the powerplant healthy during hard operation.