Car Clinic Explainer A Detailed Guide To Engine Oil – Types, Uses, Importance

Engine oil is critical to the smooth operation of any internal combustion engine such as those used by most automobiles. Every car owner needs to add different types of oil to their cars such as engine oil and lubricant. What most people ask themselves is: Why are there so many types of engine oil, what sets different types of engine oil apart, and, why are they important?

Even with a car that is in relatively mint condition, you still need to get the oil level checked once you take it to a dealer for servicing. One important thing to remember is that older engines use more oil, and, with these engines, there is always the risk of leakages occurring. If you have a car with an old engine, you need to use the dipstick more frequently to ascertain that the oil level is where it should be.

Reasons Why You Need to Top Up Your Car’s Engine Oil

If you do not maintain the engine oil level in your car to the recommended level, there is a high probability that engine components will be starved of the crucial lubricant which will in turn lead the components to wear out prematurely or even fail catastrophically. A plastic diaphragm pump can be used to pump low to high liquids with high gas content.

As a driver, you should remember that it is not just about checking that your engine oil is at the recommended level. It is also important to change the oil at intervals specified by the manufacturer since engine oil wears out over time with use.

What is the Difference Between Synthetic Engine Oil and Mineral Engine Oil?

“Mineral oil” usually contains higher levels of crude components compared to synthetic oil. It is also cheaper to manufacture compared to synthetic oil but can provide adequate protection for less demanding engines.

“Synthetic oil” on the other hand is the most popular type of engine lubricant and it is typically used in high-performance engines. Though the name “synthetic” may lead one to think that this oil is manufactured from scratch, it is actually derived from the thick black oil mined from oil wells. The only difference between synthetic and mineral oil is that synthetic oil has a different molecular structure and it is synthesized and refined further through a complex lab process.

What is Engine Oil Viscosity?

For any type of engine oil to offer quality protection and engine performance, it must be able to properly flow through the engine and all its components. The rate of flow of engine oil is what is known as viscosity. Viscosity is measured in Degrees Centigrade.

One key thing to remember is that car engines operate across different temperature levels especially when they start cold. An engine oil that is designed to be used through normal engine temperatures is usually too thick when the engine is cold at start-up. Most engine wear usually occurs when an engine is cold and struggling to rise to normal temperatures. To prevent engine damage, there are “multi-grade oils” which use Viscosity Index Improver (VII) additives to enable the oil to flow more freely through the engine and its components at low temperatures.

What Else is Contained in Engine Oil?

When buying engine oil for your car, it is not just about looking at the type and grade of oil.

Engine oils are a complex chemical concoction designed to cater to different uses such as special vehicle adaptations such as diesel particulate filters, protection, lubrication, and, engine efficiency. To cater to all these uses, engine oils contain a blend of different chemical components including Viscosity Index Improvers (VII), dispersants, friction modifiers, foam inhibitors, anti-oxidants, pour-point depressants, corrosion inhibitors, and anti-wear agents among others.

Which Grade of Engine Oil Should I Choose for My Car?

To understand the best grade of engine oil for your vehicle, start by checking your car’s manufacturer’s website or car manual to identify the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) standards. Most oil companies follow these standards when producing engine oil for different car types.

Most engine oils in the market are designed to be used in both diesel and petrol engines. In most cases, the manufacturer of engine oil will provide a combined diesel/petrol code for the oil if it can be used for both engine types.

Which Type of Engine Oil is Best for an Old Car Engine?

Expensive synthetic engine oils are not always the best for an oil engine. If your vehicle has an old engine under the hood consider using a mineral engine oil with a higher viscosity rate if you want to offer your engine the best protection. This is because most old engines were designed at a time when engine tolerance to oil was much wider.

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