One of the main reasons we recommend using Cool-X is for protection if you are towing heavy loads. We have put together a slide show explaining why a car dealer or a quick lube shop might want to offer a Cool-X Towing Package to anyone who came in with a tow hitch on their vehicle.

First, you have to understand that heat is the enemy, whether you are speaking about your oil, your engine, your transmission, or your differential. Too much heat, and bad things happen.

Oil is a natural insulator, it doesn’t conduct heat well, but it is the primary coolant used in every motor and gearbox. Your oil acts not only as a lubricant, but also as a heat sink (it has a large heat capacity), removing excess heat from the pistons, the clutch plates, and the gears, and then it has to function as a coolant, moving heat from the engine through the oil to the engine block, oil pan, or through the gearbox to the pig or other metal surfaces, or to a radiator or heat exchanger. Most oil cooling systems are designed with sumps and pans, spare capacity so that excess heat can be absorbed and held by the oil until it has a chance to cool. But in the heat of summer, or towing a heavy load, or going up or down a mountain, or stuck in a never-ending traffic jam, this surplus capacity can disappear, and oil can start heating up.

Too much heat in your oil, and the oil (and the additives used in it) starts to oxidize. In ATF, it will turn the oil brown and make it smell like burnt toast. A varnish will start to form on the metal parts, increasing friction. The hotter it gets, the faster the oil breaks down. As a rule of thumb, every 20oF rise in temperature will cut your oil life in half. An ATF that will last for 100,000 miles at 175oF may only last 12 hours (or 500 miles) at 275oF. So keeping the heat down really matters, and in particular, avoiding heat spikes.

Two things can really aggravate heat issues. The first is the loss of oil flow, which happens regularly every time you stop the car and turn off the ignition, as that is when pumps stop and gears stop moving. Oil is a natural insulator, so the metal retains the heat, which means that the surface of the gear or piston can get really hot if the oil stops circulating. These hot spots can cause corrosion and cavitation, the metal can warp, and the oil oxidizes, creating varnish and sludge. Cool-X, by increasing the thermal conductivity and heat transfer between metal and oil, helps disperse the heat, preventing hot spots and moves the heat through the oil, even without pumps or moving gears to propel the oil. Many luxury cars have oil pumps that keep circulating the oil even after you have turned off the ignition. With Cool-X, we typically don’t even see the temperature spikes that are so prevalent with conventional oils. This really helps preserve the oil and extends oil life.

The second thing that can cook an oil is when gears and clutch plates spin faster than they are designed to. Think of most vehicles without locked differentials, and what happens when they try to rock themselves out of snow or mud. The free spinning drive train moves the oil, creating friction; before you know it, the oil has cooked, the seals are cooked, the oil starts to leak and the gears start to wear.

While Cool-X can’t prevent bad drivers from destroying a differential or ruining a clutch, it can help protect a transmission, engine, or clutch from overheating.

Pulling a heavy load, particularly in the heat of summer, can really push the envelope in what is an acceptable oil temperature. So can mountain driving, stop and go traffic, or long steady drives at high speeds. So we think there is a real opportunity for auto repair services, car dealers, and quick lube changes to make money by selling a Cool-X Towing Package, which would consist of Cool-X products for the engine’s motor oil, the ATF fluid, and the Gear Oil in the differential. The garage might sell the Cool-X for $100 (all 3 products) plus labor, all as an incremental up-selling opportunity. But what’s more, they can also probably sell an oil change or a transmission flush at the same time – why put in the Cool-X without replacing the older, worn out oil that no one replaces at the proper intervals. And of course, they have the car up on the rack, so they can inspect the shocks, the brakes, the mufflers, and other systems of the car at the same time, to see if any further repairs might be necessary. So we think Cool-X is a fantastic opportunity for repair and maintenance services to make more money.

Yet the consumer will also benefit. Cool-X really should pay for itself.  At the very least it is insurance against a costly repair, whether it is rebuilding a transmission for $1500-$2500 or more, rebuilding or replacing an engine with a blown head gasket or leaky piston rings for $2500, or just fixing leaky seals on a differential or final drive unit.

But Cool-X does more. It protects the oil, reducing engine wear by maintaining the proper viscosity and thus the protective films of oil between moving parts, that typically thin out with higher oil temperatures. The carbon nanoparticles in Cool-X also work as additional antiwear additives, ones that don’t oxidize and are chemically stable and don’t break down, unlike PTFE, molys, and ZDDP. Just adding Cool-X makes a standard mineral oil act more like a synthetic, when measured using standard tribological tests (such as 4=ball and SRV testing).

And of course, by reducing oil temperatures by 10-40F, the oil itself will last longer, perhaps twice as long as usual. So if you change your oil at proper intervals, you will get top oil performance throughout, and if you don’t, your oil will last longer and prevent more damage to your vehicle.

Finally, there is always our little secret – Cool-X, by reducing friction and the workload of cooling an engine, has been shown to increase fuel economy. We don’t claim it, because it is too hard and expensive to do a proper test eliminating all the variables and noise, but somehow most of the fleets and individual users end up reporting substantially better fuel economy figures, even if they aren’t quite sure how to quantify them exactly.  (Note: we really do hope to have convincing data at some point in the not too distant future, as we are participating in a number of trials sponsored by the DOE, the EPA, and major fleets of heavy duty trucks, but until then we want to keep the FTC happy and avoid claims we can’t prove. Thankfully, using a thermometer or a thermo-coupler is fairly straight forward, so claims about heat reduction are easily measured, monitored, and demonstrated. )

No matter how you look at it, it makes sense to use Cool-X – whether as insurance against breakdowns, to reduce regular maintenance costs and avoid costly repairs, to be green and reduce oil consumption and oil waste streams, or possibly even to save on fuel expenditures. And if you can afford to pull a large boat, an RV, or a horse trailer, you really should think about protecting your SUV or pickup truck or RV or whatever vehicle it is that you are using to tow that trailer, as it, too, is a big investment.

We’ll be introducing our Cool-X products for the Consumer Towing Market this spring, and we hope you will use them, or sell them, or both.

 

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