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Types Of Motor Oil - Car Talk - Nairaland

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Types Of Motor Oil by AutoHubNG(m): 12:52pm On Oct 27, 2023
Engine oil for your car is very important and can’t ever be overstated. Knowing what type your engine needs on the other hand – largely depends on many factors but whichever you choose, consult your car’s manual first.

If you reside in a region where it’s common to experience extreme temperatures, you’d be better off using oil types with high viscosity and that possess also – the ability to maintain their quality over time.

We’ll go into more detail about the different types of motor oil for your car but before that we have to highlight the importance of motor oil being one of the most important fluids in your car because without oil, your engine can quickly break down and you just might end up needing a new one!

Importance of oil to your engine

An engine consists of many interacting parts that rub against each other constantly, creating a lot of friction. Too much friction in turn can cause the motor to overheat and this is one of the worst things that can happen while your engine is running. Using motor oil ensures proper engine lubrication and prevents friction that can cause said overheating and significant wear. We all know that car engine repairs or replacements can be quite expensive so if there’s anything that you can do to avoid such situation, you should by all means.

Because oil deteriorates over time, it may be necessary to change the oil frequently depending on the type of oil you choose and the recommendations in your vehicle owner’s manual as stated earlier. Please note that it is never a good idea to skip an oil change because if you skip an oil change, the oil will lose its important engine lubrication properties and the engine will appear to have little or no oil left, and this can have devastating effects on your engine’s overall health.

The frequency of oil changes however varies greatly on the type of engine oil chosen. Therefore, when choosing an engine oil, pay attention to the frequency of oil changes – especially if you do not want to change the oil often due to your “busy” schedule.

Motor oils

Motor oils come in many varieties, here are some you may encounter when shopping for your next oil. Of course, each oil has its own characteristics and certain advantages, but like all else – it also has disadvantages. There are four categories of commonly used oil, they comprise of:

i. Regular oil

ii. Fully-synthetic oil

iii. Synthetic-blend oil

iv. High-performance oil

Now let’s take a look at the list of motor oils you may come across and highlight the main advantages and disadvantages of each:

i. Regular oil

Most vehicles use regular oil. It is simply designed to give the engine the properties it needs to achieve the correct lubrication level without causing the engine to overheat.

ii. Fully-synthetic oil

Synthetic oil or fully synthetic motor oil is the best type of motor oil. It has a higher viscosity and additional properties that prevent engine oxidation problems and thermal damage. Synthetic oil is recommended for larger vehicles and vehicles that require the highest performance. For example, if you drive a car with a turbo engine or need more power without stressing the engine, you may want to consider synthetic oil. One of the best things about this oil is that it doesn’t break down easily, so you don’t have to worry about frequent oil changes.

Some experts have even claimed that you can wait up to a year to change the oil without worrying about engine damage. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to the signs that it’s time to change your car’s oil.

Unfortunately, synthetic oil is much more expensive than regular oil. In some cases, you might even end up paying 2-3 times more for synthetic oil and in other cases 4 times more. Therefore, before making a final decision, it is necessary to consult a mechanic to make it clear whether it is necessary to switch to this type of oil.

Another consideration is vehicle compatibility. If you have an older car, you may want to think twice before switching to synthetic oil. Synthetic oil contains special chemicals that effectively clean and break down sludge in engine oil. It is of high quality. However, older cars have weaker engine seals, which can be very dangerous. Again, endeavour to carry out your own research as there isn’t any blanket solution when it comes to choosing the motor oil that best suits your engine.

iii. Synthetic-blend oil

Synthetic oil is a cross between conventional and synthetic oils. As the ever-continuing and ever-expanding natural demands of any free market try to be met, new products will always be launched, eventually. Since this oil type sorts out a couple of issues, the experts decided to combine the qualities of Regular and Synthetic oil to develop a new type of oil that provides very good performance; yet – can be bought at a reasonable price.

iv. High-performance oil

As the name states – this is a highly refined type of motor oil and can protect the engine for an adequate period of time.

The type of engine oil used plays an important role in protecting the engine and reducing the frequency of oil changes. As we’ve detailed before, some oils may not need to be changed as often as fully synthetic oils. On the other hand, if you decide to use Regular oil, you may need to go to the garage more often or change the oil yourself more often than not. Another thing to consider is high-mileage oil. If you drive a high-mileage vehicle, using Regular engine oil may not help you, especially if you experience frequent oil leaks.

What is the viscosity of engine oil?

Have you ever noticed that motor oil has a description like “10W-40”? Or maybe something like “20W-50”? All of these codes indicate certain characteristics of the oil in your vehicle. Deciphering these numbers and letters is important because it will help you determine which oil is right for your car and which oil should be changed at different times and seasons – for those who reside in parts of the world that experience polar climatic conditions.

Oil viscosity simply refers to the flow rate of the oil. This is important because the faster the flow rate, the easier it is for the oil to reach accessible areas in the engine and lubricate it properly.

The letter W in motor oil indicates that the oil is cold resistant. With this, you’ll know how well the oil keeps your engine running in extremely cold conditions. For example, if the letter W is associated with a smaller number, the oil will run faster and smoother at lower temperatures. Usually, the fastest and lowest number is 0W.

The second part of the oil code represents the viscosity of the oil when the engine reaches about 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit). This function is very important, especially when driving in high temperature conditions where there is a very high risk of oil evaporation.

Can different types of oil grades be mixed? Many car owners are always worried about mixing different types of engine oil. However, there's nothing to worry about as these oils are miscible, meaning you don’t have to worry about mixing different types of oil as long as they are specified for your engine. For example, if you mix one litre of 5W40 oil with another litre of 5W30 oil, you will not have any problems and the mixture is safe to use in a vehicle.

What happens if I use 5W40 instead of 5W30, for example? This should also be no problem to switch between two different types of oil with different viscosities. However, you may lose some properties depending on the type of oil you decide to use. For example, going from 5W40 to 5W30 loses some of the benefits at higher temperatures, as a higher number after the W indicates that the oil is more efficient at higher temperatures.

Can two different brands of motor oils be mixed? Again, yes. There are many different brands of motor oil. Mixing different brands is not a problem as long you can get the right mixture for your engine eventually. If you decide to use one quart of Mobil 1 oil with another quart of Motul oil for instance, you should be fine. Don’t forget when you mix synthetic oil with regular oil, you get the synthetic-blend type.

Hopefully, you now have a better idea about motor oils. As stated, the choice of type of engine oil largely depends on many factors, including the age of the vehicle, the season, etc. If your car is not in basic mechanical condition, it is better to choose the best and highest quality engine oil. Thanks for reading.


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