Can You Put Racing Oil in Your Daily Driver?

Racing oil is a special blend of oil designed for the rigours of high speeds—not for daily driving. Here's why regular motor oil is better for your engine.

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 vs. regular oil

Racing oil contains three times more anti-wear 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 5,000 kilometres.

The bottom line: Racing oil is for racing only.

What you should know about racing oil:

  • 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 1,900 litres of oil per car, per season.
  • In a typical NASCAR race, oil temps can run as high as 160 degrees C.
  • Pit crews bring about 56 litres 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.

Now that you know the breakdown of racing oil vs. regular oil, find out if you should switch to a high mileage oil filter.

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Originally Published on The Family Handyman