Frequently Asked Questions

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To finally show how each brand of oil really performs under stringent testing and to cut through all the hype and marketing surrounding each oil.
Optimol InstrumentsOptimol Instruments located in Munich Germany. Optimol Instrument have built and calibrated more than 300 Tonen SRV machines worldwide to a multitude of different global manufacturers. They are seen as the independent leaders in the field of friction measurement.
The machine is called a Tonen SRV (short for Schwingung, Reibung, und Verschleiss which translated into English means Oscillating, Friction, and Wear) machine and is designed solely for testing the friction characteristics of a fluid.
The test method we followed was SAE technical paper 952533 used by Toyota as part of their evaluation oil.
This machine is used throughout the world by lubricant manufacturers, car OEM's and engineers in evaluating the relationship of a fluid to a solid material - such as oil protecting metal. The SRV machine does not require human interaction during the test like many machines providing a consistent and un-bias result. What's more you can accurately measure the metal wear scar that results from each test.
  • Friction - measured to an accuracy of 0.001.
  • Heat - controlled to an accuracy of 0.1 degree centigrade and raised from 40 degrees up to 120 degrees.
  • Load (pressure) - accurate to 1 Newton. Pressure set to 400 Newtons.
  • Frequency (speed) - Set at 50 Hertz accurate to 1 Hertz.
  • Time - test was conducted over 45 minutes.
  • Wear scar measure - accurate to a micro metre or 1000th of a millimetre.
  • Time between measurements - readings taken every 1 second.

The heat range used in the test simulates the temperature when the vehicle is turned on and when it reaches operating temperature.

The test parameters are as accurate and finite as possible. Each test uses constant materials and parameters' meaning it is as fully and accurately repeatable as possible. Being an ASTM approved method of testing ensures global consistency.

The video will give you the best view on how each test was conducted however. Watch the video now

Think of why a Formula 1 car is the shape it is today. To reduce friction and drag of air to allow the car to perform to its optimum performance. It's the same within an engine. Everybody knows friction in an engine is bad news, that's why oil is becoming increasingly thinner. Not only does it allow engines to be smaller with tighter tolerances but the major driver of lowering viscosity is to improve fuel consumption by reducing internal friction and drag.

The ball and disc specimen is using 52100 standard steel - materials that many OEM use in their main bearing. The test uses the same materials as is found in the main parts of an engine.

The different level of vertical images is a result of small discrepancies in illumination during the image being taken. The slight variation of angle of light can highlight the vertical scars. This does not affect the wear scar and the physical measurements taken by the computer.

Optimol guarantee that all specimens used are made from the same material and manufactured in the same way and are passed through a quality assurance procedure each and every time prior to each test.

This video will explain best on how to read the graph.

As well as measuring and plotting each oils performance on a detailed graph, the tangible evidence of an oils ability to protect is the metal wear scar it produces. Each ball and plate are measured under a microscope after the test with a measurement taken accurate to 0.001 or 1000th of a millimetre. The round wear sample is from the metal ball with the oval scar being the metal plate the ball was pressed upon.

  • 0W-40
  • 0W-50
  • 5W-30
  • 5W-40
  • 10W-40
  • 10W-50
  • 10W-60
  • 15W-50
  • 15W-60
  • Valvoline
  • Castrol
  • Nulon
  • Mobil
  • Penrite
  • Shell