Back in June, I had some information sent to me about micro-bypass filtration to extend the life of a truck’s engine oil. That engendered a fair amount of response from readers and more than a few phone calls from OTR friends and even a couple of mechanics that I know. One of those responses I received was from PetroSavers.
This company also makes an oil refiner which acts as a bypass filter to scrub impurities from the oil and extend its life. In this case, the company says it extends the oil’s life indefinitely.
At first glance, I saw this as just another “too good to be true” bit of marketing hype. Anyone who’s ever driven a combustion-driven vehicle or who’s changed the oil in one knows that your engine oil requires regular changing, to be swapped out with clean, fresh oil in order to keep lubrication and engine buildup down so the vehicle runs efficiently. Right?
Well, that’s the conventional wisdom, thanks to decades of experience with standard filtration and old ways of thinking. But it stands to reason that if a bypass filter can remove much more from the oil and thus extend its life, why wouldn’t it be possible to extend the oil’s life to equal the life of the vehicle?
So before anyone dismisses this off-hand, let’s have a look at it’s viability. To re-iterate for the record, I have no experience with bypass filtration, have no stake in any of the companies whose productions I’ve mentioned here on Green Big Truck (including this one, PetroSavers), and I attempt to approach these new technologies in an objective manner with as little bias as possible.
How Micro-Bypass Filtration Works
In a nutshell, micro-bypass filtration works by removing a portion of an engine’s oil from circulation and putting it through a fine filter, which removes more contaminants than does a standard, in-line filter, which must operate under high engine pressures without slowing the lubricant’s circulation.
The bypass filter will have at least two stages: one to remove water and another to remove fine particulate contaminants. Most have several stages, each removing smaller and smaller particles.
The cleaned oil is then returned to the engine’s lubricant loop. A bypass filter will handle a percentage of the vehicle’s lubricating oil at any given time during its operation, eventually scrubbing clean all of the oil being used. This also means that when bypass filters require replacement, the complete draining of the engine’s oil supply is not usually required.
The most common element breaking down engine oil’s usefulness as a lubricant is water, which significantly lowers the oil’s ability to “stick” (its lubricity). Other contaminants such as metal shavings from the engine block, dirt or debris, and so forth are the second problem, all working to change the oil from a lubricant to a sandpaper-like scraper. These contaminants can also be left behind in the hotter parts of the engine, creating buildup that reduces efficiency and can eventually lead to engine failure.
Bypass and micro-filtration have been proven to be effective in both reducing engine wear and extending engine oil life. The Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE) has conducted studies and concluded as much. You’ll find a couple of those here and here.
What Makes PetroSavers Different
The PetroSavers comes in three standard sizes (models), each meant for a different engine application. Readers of Green Big Truck will be interested in the HD-20 and HD-30 models, which are for medium- and heavy-duty engines (ranging from the 1 ton pickup series to Class 8 tractors).
These bypass filters work in the manner described above, with a multi-stage filtration pulling debris down to about 1 micron (for comparison, a grain of table salt is about 60 microns). It also removes water, of course. The only maintenance required for these filters is an occasional change of the new filter, which an OTR driver might need to do (or have done) about once a year, depending on mileage. Since no oil replacement is required, however, this is a fast operation that can be done in a parking lot with simple hand tools.
The following videos from PetroSavers give more information on how their system works, who’s using it, and how it was invented.
First, an overview of the technology-
Next, a typical installation-
And some testimonials for the product-