If there was ever a time to save money by squeezing every last bit of energy out of each drop of fuel, then that time is now. With energy prices spiralling out of control and every few days the price of fuel increasing, you have to try whatever you can to keep costs at a minimum.

A straightforward way of increasing fuel efficiency and thus lowering fuel consumption is to get the engine running more smoothly. A simple way of achieving smoother running is to employ an oil additive such as a friction modifier to get a grip on energy losses.

Inside the engine is the last place you need high levels of friction, where it causes wear and is the enemy of fuel efficiency. The greater the number of moving parts in an engine, the greater the drag. Every increase in drag, results in more kinetic energy being lost as movement is transformed into heat, which is wasted to the atmosphere.

The factor friction has a significant influence on the strategies that can be used when looking for economies and ways to reduce emissions. Reducing internal friction can deliver substantial rewards in the terms of wear and fuel savings.

An overriding need to reduce fuel consumption and emissions is driving motor manufacturers to seek gains wherever they can because emissions regulations demand ever-cleaner power units. Increasingly strict emissions regulations are one tool that regulatory bodies have in trying to mitigate the impact of an ever-increasing number of vehicles on the roads.

The simplest and, at the same time, most difficult method of lowering emissions is to reduce the amount of power that is wasted. The percentage of energy extracted from fuel in an internal combustion engine around 30-35%. If you consider the additional losses in the transmission system, it means that for every litre of fuel, approximately 20-25% of the energy contained in that fuel is actually converted into motion at the drive wheels.

Friction-reducing additives can help to improve efficiency by lowering frictional losses, meaning that the power extracted from the fuel is not wasted by being maintained as movement, instead of being turned into heat.

Friction modifiers in engine oil and gear oil can play a significant role, because the active agents form a protective layer on the load surfaces, which, in addition to the oil, ensure that metal components slide more easily and create less heat under load conditions.

Of course, another major benefit of lowering internal friction, is less wear. In an engine, lower wear equates to lower emissions i.e., less oil smoke and fewer unburnt hydrocarbons. In a transmission system – gearbox, transaxle or differential – the losses due to friction should also be minimised. It is important to remember that you are not gaining anything if you make economies by improving fuel efficiency, only to waste them through losses in the transmission system.

So, as you can see, not only does using a friction modifier lower the amount you have to spend on fuel, it also means that less fumes are being emitted into the air. Where there is less waste, there is also less wear. And that is why adding friction modifier to the transmission system means your vehicle is less likely to suffer from a major component failure such as the engine, gearbox, differential or transaxle. Using a friction modifier in the engine or transmission system means that there’s everything to gain and nothing to lose.

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