Engine oil is for a car, what blood is for a human being. It won’t be wrong to say that any vehicle can’t survive without engine oil. It serves as a protection for car components against wear and tear even when temperatures inside the motor go in access of 120 degrees. Hence, choosing the wrong grade of engine oil for a car or opting for an inferior quality one can have very bad results.
This is because wrong fluids lead to increased friction between the movings parts of the engine, which in turn causes accelerated wear and tear. Also, using the wrong viscosity of engine oil can lead to a huge drop in the performance of the car. Also, in case of an oil leak, the engine is sure to seize, which will lead to an expenditure of lakhs in repairs. Therefore, it’s really important to know how to choose the best engine oil for a car.
Before you go ahead and purchase the engine oil, it’s important to know what grade of oil should be used. The same can be figured out by having a look at the car’s instruction manual. In the section below, we’ll give you details of all the essential terminologies of engine oil to help you choose the best one for your beloved car –
API Standard (SL, SM, SN, or SJ) – This is a standard set by the American Petroleum Institute in order to classify the motor oils based on their performance. You should refer to your car’s owner manual to figure out the API Standard that your car’s manufacturer recommends.
Viscosity Grade- The viscosity grade determines the thickness of the engine oil along with its stress holding capacity. Thin engine oil works well for winters, but an engine oil of a higher grade is recommended for summers. This is also why performance cars, whose engines often work at very high temperatures, come with a higher viscosity oil. The viscosity of the engine oil is determined through a set of two numbers, for example, 10W-30, 0W-40 or 15W-40, or 5W-30. For example, if an engine oil is of grade 5W-30, it means its viscosity grade of cold start is 5W. An engine oil of grade 0W-40 shows that a car can have a cold start even in freezing conditions as the oil is thin enough to flow through all the parts. An oil grade of 10W-30 generally works for places where temperates are pretty high. Basically, the lower the Low Winter (W) viscosity, the easier it is for the engine oils to flow through the motor.
Coming back to the example of 5W-30, where 5W denotes the viscosity, the ’30’ determines the thickness of the oil at a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius. It’s best to follow the recommended oil grade, as an engine oil with ’40’ grade is thicker. That said, it can survive better in higher temperatures.
|Advantages of Thin Oil||Advantages of Thick Oil|
|Lesser friction in engine||Can operate better at higher temperatures|
|Easy ignition in freezing conditions as flow of oil is easier||Protect engine bearings and engine Sealing especially with thicker Oil layer|
ACEA Rating – The ACEA Rating of engine oil is its lubricant ratings. Some examples of ACEA Rating include A5/B5, A3/B4, etc. This property of the oil is figured out using several parameters, including sludge, ear, soot thickening, oxidative thickening, and fuel economy. It gets quite important to keep the ACEA rating in mind when choosing the engine oil, particularly for vehicles with a diesel engine.
From above, it is quite clear that it is of utmost importance to get to know the Correct Engine Oil Grade for your car. Using oil of Incorrect Viscosity grade, irrespective of its price, can lead to increased wear and tear of several components of the engine. Hence, you’re requested to surely check your car owner manual for recommended engine oil grade as these recommendations are made only after extensive development by the carmaker’s expert engineers.
In all, there are 3 Types of Engine Oils available for cars –
Synthetic oil is produced to offer the best protection from the wear and tear caused by braking, accelerating, and clutch usage. Hence, if you are someone who drives in high traffic conditions, it pays to go for synthetic oil as it leads to lesser production of sludge. It’s also best suited for performance-focused cars and motorcycles and even helps with the achievement of higher mileage. This oil even results in lower NVH and higher refinement. It’s also best suited for those who travel long distances. Most fully synthetic oils cost anywhere around Rs 1050 to Rs 1250 per litre. A fully synthetic oil lasts up to 10000 km or 1 year, whichever comes earlier.
Semi-synthetic oil costs much lesser than fully synthetic oil and is a cost-effective solution in case your annual running is less than 10,000 km. It costs anywhere from around Rs 550 to Rs 650 per litre. However, in case your running is high, it’s recommended to go for fully synthetic oil as semi-synthetic offers lower protection and increased wear and tear of components. Semi-Synthetic oil has a changing interval of 6000 to 7500 Kms or 12 Months, whichever is earlier.
Mineral Oil is the most cost-effective and can be used for cars that come with small engines and aren’t driven much. However, it offers far lower protection than synthetic oil. It even costs much lesser, with a litre costing as low as Rs 300. Mineral oil is generally good only for 5,000 km or 6 months, whichever comes first.
Still, it’s recommended to refer to the owner manual and follow the instructions when it comes to the replacement cycle.
Often, many people who don’t use their car much tend to delay changing the engine oil. They believe that timely change of the oil isn’t necessary as their cars aren’t driven much. However, nothing can be further from the truth. Like all consumables, even engine oils have an expiry date, especially once they’ve been poured into your car’s oil sump. Engine oil has viscosity molecules. Over time, these molecules tend to break up, and the oil loses viscosity, even if the car is not used frequently. This leads to increased wear and tear under usage and higher maintenance costs. Hence, it’s best to go by the owner’s manual and change the oil at the given timeframe irrespective of how much you use your car.