Developments to Watch
CHANGE YOUR OIL EVERY 250,000 MILES
The internal combustion engine has created its own oil crisis. Because the oil in cars and trucks must be changed every 3,000 to 20,000 miles, respectively, billions of gallons need to be disposed of each year. Now, though, engineers at Florida-based TF Purifiner Inc. have devised a system that cleans oil so thoroughly it hardly ever needs changing.
The canister-shaped system is connected to the engine's oil pressure sending unit. Engine oil first flows slowly through a replaceable cotton filter that removes particles 1/4 to 1/25 as small as those taken out by conventional filters. Then the oil is heated to 195F, driving off contaminants such as fuel and water. Early customers such as the Wichita repair shop for Vulcan Chemicals' truck fleet report that trucks equipped with the system can go more than 250,000 miles with nary an oil change; just add oil when the engine runs low. California's Environmental Protection Agency intends to grant the $270 filter one of its first seals of approval.EDITED BY EMILY T. SMITH