On a quest to make more power from your engine? You're probably considering things like air intakes, forced induction, injectors, cams, and other obvious upgrades. But there's one simple way to find power in a pinch many enthusiasts don't consider: Oil.

Believe it or not, oil capacity has a major influence on engine power. Lake Speed Jr. from The Motor Oil Geek YouTube channel took to an engine dyno to show exactly how much power can be gained and lost based on how much oil is in the sump. 

Speed Jr. teamed up with Ben Strader from EFI University to find out how power and oil pressure contrast as more oil is added to an engine. Using a Chevy LS-based V-8, the duo starts with just five quarts of oil in the pan—nearly enough to starve the big, thirsty motor. 

The engine is able to make an impressive 649 horsepower during a run to redline, but oil pressure is dangerously low. Speed Jr. adds two quarts to the engine before doing another run. This time, oil pressure is at a safer level, but power is down to 630 horses. Not a crazy loss, but not nothing, either.

The numbers get even more surprising as more oil is added. Speed Jr. chucks another two quarts into the V-8 (now at nine total quarts) before running the engine a third time. It puts out a maximum 589 hp, an amazing 60 hp down on the original number. Of course, oil pressure is perfect throughout the run.

This test is definitive proof of a concept club racers and pros alike have been using for decades. Running the recommended amount of oil will keep your engine safe, sure, but if you're looking for that last little bit of power to take the edge in a drag race or on the straightaway of a road course, it's less oil you want. Less oil means less liquid to slow the engine from spinning, and less resistance for the internals.

The downside of running less oil, obviously, is more risk to your engine. The trick is zeroing in on exactly how much oil your engine needs to run, and not a drop more. 

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