Simplified guide to Engine Oils

Izso

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Izso

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Yes... Hello Kitty really is taking over the world.

I posted a DIY guide sometime back on how to change your engine oil and it raised some questions:

"Whats a good oil to use in my old junk?"
"Can I use this oil in my car?"
"My car drinks oil for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Have to top up all the time!"

In some cases the knowledge was based on hearsay and recommendations from their friendly neighborhood mechanic. That's actually not a problem however your regular bawak-pokok mechanic will tell you it works one lah and if it ain't broken, why change/fix it? And there lies the problem.

How does engine oil work?
Engine oil is the life blood of the engine. Blood in the human body will be replaced by biochemical reactions in the body but engines are stagnant and highly dependent on you maintaining it properly. What happens if you don’t? Sludge and varnish starts to build up, engine bits start to wear faster (piston rings, valves, tappets, etc) and in some extreme cases, you might get a complete engine seizure.

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This is a pretty extreme case of sludge buildup. (Picture courtesy of Marcel Marceau)

So how do you choose engine oil? First you must understand the different viscosities and how it affects your car. Let's take 5W30 as an example. The "5" number indicates how the oil reacts when the engine is cold. the "W30" is how viscous the oil is when heated to 100 degrees celsius. What does that mean?

Simple.

75% (according to the Castrol advert) of all engine damage is at cold engine startup. That's because all the oil is at the bottom of the engine and anything at the top would be somewhat dry. So technically speaking the easier the oil flows to the 'drier' parts of the engine, the lesser the wear on startup. In cold countries such as Japan and anyplace that has winter, it's recommended to use "0" or "5" weighted oils because this oil weight is resistant to freezing at those temperatures. Try using a "10" weight oil in a -5 degrees temperature and you'll have major problems starting up. In Malaysia however, it's not really necessary to use anything less than 10 but there's no harm is wanting to give your precious engine the best your money can afford.

"W30" indicates how the oil flows at 100 degrees celsius. Meaning if you're running a really hot engine (like Turbos or track cars) then you'd very likely exceed the 100 degrees and the oil will either get burnt off due to the heat or breakdown and become useless. This is why you rarely ever see low viscosity racing oils in the market. It's usually 0W50 or single grade oils (like those used in F1 where it has to be heated and intravenously fed into the car).

So generally speaking, if you're burning so much oil you have to top up 2L of oil every month, you're probably using the wrong viscosity for your car. If you want better fuel consumption use a lower viscosity oil like 0W20 but don't expect it to work wonders if you're revving redline all the time. So choose your requirements wisely.

But having said that not all oils are equal. Engine oils have different ways of justifying their price. The category whether SL, SM or the newest SN determines the blend of the oil. The newest oils have lower sulphur content meaning it's better for the environment and your catalytic convertor (as if you have one! Pfft...:biggrin:).

Then there's the base oil grade, whether group 3, 4 or 5. Most engine oils are made from group 3 base oil which isn't a bad thing. Just that it's not great. Group 4 is better. Group 5 is most of the time ester based and is damn good. The higher the grade the more expensive.

There's also the detergents, viscosity modifiers, additives and so on. Each engine oil brand have their own proprietary blends that makes it unique and different. You just need to find the right one that suites your engine and driving style. For example (from my personal experience) Royal Purple has bloody good detergents. It cleans the engine from the moment you start it and is great to clean off sludge, varnish and the lot. Motul Racing made my car very rev happy. Pennzoil gave me pretty good FC, etc.

Lastly there's one very important factor is the OCI otherwise known as the oil change interval. This really depends on the type of oil you buy and its additives. Mineral oils generally should be changed every 3000km, semi-synthetics about 6000km to 7000km, fully synthetics 10,000km to 12,000km. But this isn't entirely true for all oils. My personal experience with Royal Purple was that it needed changing after 8000km even though it's a fully synthetic oil. How did I know I needed a change? The car felt sluggish, fuel consumption was bad and a quick check on the dipstick showed the oil was almost honey-like and black in colour. Not very scientific but good enough for me.

Can you use fully synthetics after years of using mineral oil?
Sure. Just make sure you don't have sludge lodged here and there. The main reason why people claim that fully synthetic oils causes leaks is because the sludge left behind from their previous oils (minerals or semi) are wedged in oil seals and gaskets blocking those 'holes' that would have originally caused a leak. Since fully synthetic oils have extremely good detergents, they'll clean out the sludge revealing the leaks in the seals and gaskets. So yes you can use fully synthetics. Just be prepared to fix leaks if you have any which is a good thing! Sludge buildup is not!

Can I use brand XXX in my car?
Why not? If it's the right viscousity then by all means use it. More important question is "can I afford to use this oil?". Live by your means and use the oil that works for your car and your wallet. No point going the Ester oil path if you can't afford to pay for the oil. Especially after you get addicted to how well it works. :biggrin:

Can I use diesel engine oil in my car?
There is a lot of debate on this. Diesels generally are not high revving cars but they produce tremendous amounts of low-end torque so in most cases you won't find thin viscosity oils for diesels. In most cases it's 15W40 so can you use this on a fuel injected / carbureted engine? Yeah sure. If you don't mind the super thick viscosity which equates to higher wear and tear to your engine internals if it's not the right weight for your car. As long as it's oil, it'll work. Try using palm based cooking oil, it'll run too! Just a matter of how well it runs and its long term effects.

Also, it's always good to check your manufacturers manual on what viscosity to use. Manufacturers know what they're doing when they say use this viscosity or that viscosity. Because if anything went wrong with your car you could sue the pants off the manufacturer if it resulted in high repair costs. Please note though, every country's manufacturer manual is different. In Japan the recommended viscosity for the K3VE engine is 0W20. In Malaysia it's 5W30. The OCI for BMW Europe is 20,000km. In Malaysia it's no more than 10,000km (fully synthetic BMW oils).

Lastly there's two authoritative boards that governs engine oils. API and ACEA, both of which have websites :


Why is this important? Because if an oil is not certified by either (or both) of these two governing bodies, then the oil manufacturer can claim whatever they want and it's their word against yours. If certified it means the oil really does perform as what the manufacturer claims. So look out the API / ACEA official logo on the oil packaging and remember : "Exceeds API standards" is just a claim until verified by API themselves.


Happy shopping for engine oil!
 

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Izso

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Izso

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AIks.. what happened to my hello kitty oil picture?


Midship : thanks for that. Simplified guide mah
 

Charles

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Charles

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Good article.....good knowledge to those ppl who keep calling their motor oil 'black oil'....THOSE ARENT BLACK OIL fercrisake !!!!
 

zuruzuruz

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zuruzuruz

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im using torco sr-5, 5w40, im looking for the sl, sm or sn.. nowhere to be found.. but it does say group iv and v synthetic base oil.. how arr? huhu.. tp u r right.. kills ur wallet this engine oil
 

Izso

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im using torco sr-5, 5w40, im looking for the sl, sm or sn.. nowhere to be found.. but it does say group iv and v synthetic base oil.. how arr? huhu.. tp u r right.. kills ur wallet this engine oil
Before I reply this : I by no means am dissing the product. I am only stating facts

If you do a search in the API website, you'll see that Torco is not certified by API. So I would doubt the authenticity of its claims of group 4/5 base oils and its tech fact sheet. Not many companies provide the tech sheet on how its oil performs.

But having said that there a lot of high performance (and normal) cars out there running on Torco without complaints so that's a good thing. But again - if it's not certified, it's the manufacturers claims against anyones. Lucas oil was at one time not API certified, but they are now so that's a good indicator of how professional the company is.

---------- Post added at 09:12 PM ---------- 6 hour anti-bump limit - Previous post was at 09:06 PM ----------

eh,whr 2 buy dat Hello Kitty oil?hahhaha...nais!
I think it was a one off edition. No more in production now
 

nommiey

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Guys, My car is powered with 4AGE BT 20V. Which type of oil is best suited for my engine? I m gonna go n change the oil for this car. this is my 1st time changing oil for this car. Hope can get some advice
 

semangka

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i wouldn't mind about the W (winter) rating, but i take note on the latter figure. after few oil changes, i find the most suitable for my ride is the 10w40 rating, since my engine is turbocharged, interval change at 5000km. if NA also should be ok, but I'd go for 5w30 for improved fuel consumption and better engine response.
 

zuruzuruz

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zuruzuruz

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Before I reply this : I by no means am dissing the product. I am only stating facts

If you do a search in the API website, you'll see that Torco is not certified by API. So I would doubt the authenticity of its claims of group 4/5 base oils and its tech fact sheet. Not many companies provide the tech sheet on how its oil performs.

But having said that there a lot of high performance (and normal) cars out there running on Torco without complaints so that's a good thing. But again - if it's not certified, it's the manufacturers claims against anyones. Lucas oil was at one time not API certified, but they are now so that's a good indicator of how professional the company is.

---------- Post added at 09:12 PM ---------- 6 hour anti-bump limit - Previous post was at 09:06 PM ----------



I think it was a one off edition. No more in production now
i guess u r right, even petronas syntiums r API certified. this is my first time using torco since been hearing good testimonials from frens regardless car mod junkies or not. so far for me, no problem, though the difference is yet to be noticed since i blum rempit lg.. hehe.. but yeah.. maybe ill switch bk to syntium 3000 or 5000 if there is not much difference..
 

Izso

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Izso

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Guys, My car is powered with 4AGE BT 20V. Which type of oil is best suited for my engine? I m gonna go n change the oil for this car. this is my 1st time changing oil for this car. Hope can get some advice
A quick check on Google and in most forums recommend 10W40 or 15W40 max. But personally I'd stick to 10W40 semi or fully syn. You could even try 5W40 it won't do your engine any damage.
 

ehdrian

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ehdrian

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Is thr any ROYAL PURPLE engine oil disributor in penang?..
 

amrancharger

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good info izso...
at least this would be a guideline for noobie like me.

and remind me that the fact is, there is none one grade engine oil for all cars...or the statement of "best engine oil".... :listen:

which i find it BS and your article does make sense... :proud:
 

Bar7MonsteR

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hello kitty...nice....

once bump with ultraman engine oil in spare parts shop somewhere in wangsa melawati

sadly i didnt recognize which ultraman is he/she:biggrin:
 

ehdrian

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ultra-man, of cos is a he la..hehe
 

SE.G

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SE.G

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thank you very much for the info but can you enlighten me about changing oil which has passed its date? for example for semi synthetic after 5k km we know automatically its time to change the oil but what if its just a weekend car for example just reach 2k++km but the date has passed (usually 3-4 month) can we continue using the oil or change it? wht bout the filter continue to use it or replace?? thanks in advance:driver:
 

Izso

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Izso

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thank you very much for the info but can you enlighten me about changing oil which has passed its date? for example for semi synthetic after 5k km we know automatically its time to change the oil but what if its just a weekend car for example just reach 2k++km but the date has passed (usually 3-4 month) can we continue using the oil or change it? wht bout the filter continue to use it or replace?? thanks in advance:driver:
That's actually a good question. I don't have any scientific proof but I believe oil left alone eventually will be exposed to moisture and humidity fluctuations (rain, extreme heat) etc. Anything exposed to moisture can't be a good thing. So what I normally practise is I don't leave mineral oil longer than 4~5 months, semi's no more than 8 months and fully syns no more than a year. I'd change it even if it hasn't reached the mileage OCI. It might be overkill but better safe than sorry.

The oil filter is there to filter debris, sludge and whatever the oil managed to remove or leave behind. If the car rarely moves and hasn't reached the OCI, I wouldn't worry about it until you're ready to change the oil.
 

amrancharger

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i tink shud replace engine oil before it passed the recommended date eventhou mileage is still very low.
this is because engine oil lose its capability over time and usage.
dats why OCI is determine either by date or mileage.

i ALWAYS change the oil filter whenever change the engine oil.

hope this helps... :driver:
 

SE.G

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different view i see anyway thanks for the answers bros:proud:
 

Izso

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If you don't open the air-tight seal, can last quite long. Perhaps 2 years or 3 years tops? If opened, it's oxidised and exposed to moisture. I wouldn't keep that too long. Maybe can use it as flushing oil.