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Avoid Sludge in Your Engine: Racing Oil is for Racing

Updated: Jun. 30, 2017

Regular motor oil is better for your car

FH12DJA_RACOIL_01-2Family Handyman
Racing oil is a special blend for the rigors of high speeds. Regular motor oil is better for your engine under ordinary conditions.

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Racing oil is only for racing

Race car in action

Racing oil contains additives designed for high speeds, not for ordinary driving.

Ever heard someone brag about running racing oil in a muscle car? Well, the joke’s on them, because racing oil isn’t meant for daily or even occasional driving. In fact, running racing oil in a non-track vehicle can increase the likelihood of sludge buildup in the engine. And, it can damage the $1,200 catalytic converter.

Racing oil contains three times more antiwear and friction reducing additives (for less wear and more horsepower) than ordinary oil. To make room for that spiked dose, the manufacturers yank the detergent, anticorrosive, antifoam and dispersant additives—precisely the additives you need most to keep your street engine running clean for 3,000 miles. The bottom line: Racing oil is for racing only, get it?

Racing Oil Tidbits

Race teams use lower-viscosity oil with more friction modifiers to qualify. Then they change to a higher-viscosity oil for the race.

Racing teams go through racing oil at the rate of about 2,130 qts. of oil per car, per season.

In a typical NASCAR race, oil temps can run as high as 320 degrees F.

Pit crews bring about 60 qts. of oil to every race.

Teams analyze the oil after every race. They check for viscosity change, the level of metals worn away, oxidation (indicates how the oil held up to heat) and additive depletion.