It might be confusing knowing which oil is best for your car. With different methods of production, you want to ensure you’re not damaging the engine by putting in the wrong one. The purpose of oil is to prevent engine corrosion and the forming of sludge. Here is a basic rundown.
Engine oils are graded by their viscosity, which is to do with their thickness. The viscosity determines how easily they pour.
- Thick oils have high viscosity and pour better at high temperatures while it is the opposite of thin oils.
- Modern oils have a lower viscosity so that the engine will turn over easier and the oil can circulate around the engine faster after ignition.
Oil has to operate in varying temperatures from the cold winter weather to hot summer conditions. Therefore, oils contain additives that change the viscosity so that it can have a different viscosity when it’s cold and another for when it’s hot.
- Oils have grades that will be marked clearly on the container.
- The first lower number will be for cold temperatures and the second higher number will be for hot temperatures.
- Check your car handbook to find out what is suitable for your car.
All engines are different and require different oils. Today oil companies and car manufacturers work together to perform a number of oil tests to ensure they are compatible with the latest engines.
There is a different set of standards for car oil around the world:
- In the UK containers for oil will usually have specifications from the CCMC/ACEA (European Constructors).
- The American Petroleum Institute (API)
- ILSAC (The International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee)
- JATO (the Japanese Automotive Standards Organization).
Generally, newer oils will work in older cars but not the other way round. But some new oils will not work in older cars, especially fuel economy oils.
Some manufacturers have developed their own oils that are specific to their own cars. These are oils made to last and help to keep the engines running for longer without being serviced.