One of the most famous automotive industry logos is that of the Castrol. Today its oils and lubricants are all about the latest technology, but what about oil for classic and older vehicles?
Surprisingly, Castrol also has a nostalgic side and produces its Castrol Classic range. Made in the UK, the products are not officially brought to SA by Castrol South Africa, but instead by a private importer with a passion for motoring and motorsport.
“According to the guys behind the Castrol Classic oils, there is a huge demand from veteran, vintage and classic vehicle owners,” says Paul Williams of the importers, SA Wholesale Import and Export.
“Choosing the right engine oil for your veteran, vintage or classic car or motorcycle is essential for ensuring peak running conditions performance and maximum wear protection for your engine,” says Giovanni Schule of SA Wholesale Import and Export. “SA has a huge number of veteran, vintage and classic vehicles still running and they are often used for shows, racing and rallies.”
Castrol produces a range of classic oil brands to the correct formulations and viscosities as originally recommended by the vehicle manufacturers, but now uses the latest technology, where appropriate, as well as low-detergent formulations.
Formulations required for modern vehicles are very different from those for older vehicles. Oils for modern engines comply with the latest ratings and manufacturer specifications dealing with fuel efficiency, extended drain intervals and aftermarket exhaust treatment systems.
A classic car engine, however, can have the opposite characteristics with cork/graphite/rope seals, low-pressure gear-driven oil pumps, larger oil galleries and lower revving.
Inadequate detergent can result in gums and lacquers clinging to hot engine components and blocking oil galleries. Too much detergent can cause a buildup of metallic ash in combustion chambers and piston crowns. In older engines with traditionally high oil consumption, this can cause detonation and pinking.
In older engines in which carbon has built up, detergents can have a scouring effect, causing the carbon to flake off and block oil galleries and spray jets. High levels of detergent can wash traces of carbon from seals and gaskets, revealing oil leaks where the carbon itself creates a seal.
If there is insufficient antioxidant the oil can thicken during high-temperature motoring, with carbon, gum and varnish clogging oil galleries, filters and piston rings. Anti-wear additives are added to ensure so that if the oil film between moving parts breaks down prematurely, metal-to-metal contact and engine damage is prevented.
Engine internals can also become pitted with corrosion and rust from acids and water vapour formed during combustion. With the correct corrosion inhibitors, the components are protected. Dispersant additives prevent soot, wear metals and the by-products of combustion settling out in the sump and other areas of the engine, and forming a thick sludge that can block filters and oil ways.
While we are bombarded with information on the latest technology and lubricants, it is good to see that those who drive older vehicles are not being ignored. The packaging looks rather cool, too.