February 25, 2010
By Glen Konorowski
The main problem with cars that sit for long periods of time is that the engine seals start to dry and crack. This combined with other little engine problems that come with a car sitting for much of its life, and you now have a car that tends to use more oil than it should. This was the case an old ‘91 Toyota Corolla my wife and I bought to help get our children through summer jobs and school.
We bought the car from the proverbial “little old lady” who never drove the car in winter. This meant that it sat for long periods of time, in a very dry garage.
Not too long ago Castrol introduced their GTX High Mileage engine oil to the market. This oil is specifically designed for vehicles with mileage of over 120,000 km, which our Corolla has. Since our car had all the symptoms, such as leaky engine gaskets and seals plus a little exhaust smoke on start-up, it appeared to be the perfect candidate for a test of the GTX High Mileage oil.
Castrol High Mileage GTX is formulated so that it helps dried gaskets and seals in the engine swell or expand slightly to help eliminate leaks. As I mentioned earlier, this is generally caused by vehicles that are inactive and stored in dry garages. The other ingredients inhibit the burning of the oil when it gets into the combustion chamber due to wear or weeping seals within the engine.
Since we had just changed the oil about a week and a half before we received our test oil and the Corolla was already down a about a litre due to a couple of long trips, I calculated the car to be using about a litre every 500 to 600 km, depending on how hard it was being driven. By just adding one litre of High Mileage oil I found the car would run another 700 to 750 km before being down a litre, a slight improvement.
Until the next oil change things stayed between 750 and 800 km per litre. When it came time to change the oil we changed the filter and added the required amount of High Mileage to the engine. Having the High Mileage oil in the engine improved things so that we only needed to add a litre around 1000 to 1200 km.
Things seamed to be the same for the first 1000 to 1500 km and then the lengths between adding oil became greater and greater. With no change of drivers and the same repeated trips I found that I was getting about close to 1500 km before adding a litre of oil.
I have to admit I am quite pleased with the results with the GTX High Mileage oil. As this type of gasket leak won’t go away, short of doing major work to the engine, I never bothered going back to regular motor oil. You will find that the High Mileage oil is a bit more expensive than its regular counterpart, but to me it adds a little piece of mind that I am getting more than double the distance between adding oil to the engine. So, by cutting my oil consumption I am saving in the long run.
Castrol GTX High Mileage comes in two grades 5W30 and 10W30 and for our test we used the 5W30, as it is a little better in colder weather. The oil retails for about $6.00 a litre, about a dollar more that regular GTX, and if you shop about you can sometimes find it for less. It also comes in a four-litre jug for easy oil changes as well. You will find High Mileage oil at almost all retailers that sell Castrol oil.
Note that Castrol GTX High Mileage oil will not cure well-worn seals and gaskets; they will still need to be replaced to keep your engine running well.
Castrol Grand Prix 2-Stroke Motorcycle oil
As some of you may or may know, I am into older European cars and I have a few air-cooled VWs. While I was doing the High Mileage testing I ran into a fellow with an early Saab 93 2-stroke engine car. After some talk I mentioned I was testing Castrol’s 2-Stroke oil for my motorcycle for an upcoming article.
These early Saab 2-stroke cars required the operator to add oil to the gas for the engine to run. With all the different oils on the market and the special additives they offer in 2-stroke oils, it can get expensive. It is not uncommon for motorcyclists to spend a lot of money for this kind of 2-stroke oil mix as well.
Since I was just finishing my testing on the 2-stroke oil and had a few bottles left, I offered the Saab owner the bottles to try. Like my son, who owns expensive 2-stroke motorcycles, Sam was a little reluctant to try it. But looking over the ingredients in his expensive oil and then those of the Castrol oil revealed no major differences.
After consulting with a friend and engineer, Sam reluctantly decided to give the oil a try. I had mentioned to him that my son was just as reluctant but he gave it a try and ended up finding no difference in performance and has experienced no detrimental effects.
A few tanks down the road, Sam has found no change in his Saab’s performance either. If you are one of a few that owns a 2-stroke car, you might want to try Castrol Grand Prix 2-Stroke Oil. It appears to work as well as other more expensive 2-stroke oils.