I’ve been lucky enough to meet and talk to a lot of the major aftermarket car parts makers in this country. By aftermarket, I mean parts that come from manufacturers other than major car companies. These men and women are responsible for making all sorts of different body kits, performance parts, and other devices generally used to make cars go faster, rather than improve fuel efficiency.
There is a shift in the aftermarket though these days, as many manufacturer start to consider fuel economy concerns. Federal-Mogul, a popular maker of engine pistons and other internal engine parts, recently announced that it will begin selling a new two-piece piston ring. According to them, this piston ring can cut both oil use and emissions drastically.
You might be saying to yourself “Pistons have rings?” Yes, they do. These rings ensure pressure in the engine is maintained and that no oil leaks into the combustion chamber. Manufacturers have been using the same piston ring design for decades, but Federal Mogul has come up with a design that they say improves efficiency and cuts oil use. Piston rings usually apply equal amounts of pressure both on the upstroke and down stroke of a piston. These tapered piston rings cut down on the upstroke pressure, meaning the engine doesn’t have to work as hard. Hence, improved efficiency.
Advancements like this will help continue to improve the efficiency of the internal combustion engine, even as the world moves towards increasing electrification of cars. I wonder if this product stands a chance of becoming a standard feature in major car makers’ engines? Piston rings are cheap, and this sounds like a surefire way to cut down on emissions and oil use without doing much else in the way of changing the engine.