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HomeFeatured ArticlesGoMechanic InformativeEngine Oil Grades Explained | Know Your Car Engine Oil

Engine Oil Grades Explained | Know Your Car Engine Oil

The most essential thing that is used in car service is engine oil. Engine oil is one of the main lubricants that have a big part to play in the combustion cycle. It keeps the engine cool and makes sure that the piston rings in the IC engine are sealed properly. So, let’s have a look at all the things that this wonder liquid does to our car.

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Best Engine Oil
Engine Oil
  1. Provides Lubrication

    Know Your Engine Oils | Car Engine Oil Grades Explained

    The motor oil lessens the friction amongst the various components of the engine during the combustion cycle. By providing a thin layer of oil, parts of the engine do not rub each other harshly. Thus engine oil reduces the wear and tear.

  2. Neutralizes Acids

    During the process of combustion, fuel and as well as the oxidization of other lubricants produce acids. Engine oil is responsible for neutralising these acids.

  3. Cleans out Sludge

    Engine oil plays an important role in making sure the engine block is clean and free from residue. If the engine sludge is not properly removed, this could lead to blockage.

  4. Inhibits corrosion and oxidation

    Another function of engine oil is preventing corrosion. Motor oil protects the cylinder blocks from rust.

So now we know that the engine oil is essential for the smooth running of the engine. But do you know all engines can’t work with the same engine oil?

Yes, different engines require different engine oils to function and operate normally. The car manufacturer recommends the engine oil based on the parameters of your car. You ought to know the grade of the engine oil your car needs as well. This will help you get the best performance from your motor. A good oil will also increase the lifespan of the engine.

Know This! 7 Questions You Should Ask About Your Car Engine Oil

What are engine oil grades?

Engine oils have got different grades. SAE has graded them based on their viscosities. Viscosity is the quantity expressing the internal friction of the fluid. Different engine oils have different viscosities at room temperature. They also react differently to temperature changes.

SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) | Engine Oil
SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) specified the scale for grading engine oil

What does 20W-40 mean in engine oil?

The engine oil grade is in the form of an alpha-numeric code. Let’s see what each character that makes up the code means:

  • The first number is followed by a ‘W’. Here the W stands for Winter and represents how the oil will react to a cold start.
  • In simple words, the number preceding W represents the parameter. Tells us how the oil will flow in cold conditions.
  • The smaller the number, the better will be the flow. For instance, a 5W-30 oil will have a better cold flow than 10W-30 engine oil.
  • The number in the following part indicates how the finely the oil will flow at normal operating temperature.

    Engine Oil Grading
    Engine Oil Grading

The 10W-30 engine oil will have a better flow than the 10W-40 engine oil at normal operating temperature.

Motor Oil Grades

Take a look at some internationally used engine oil grades-

  1. 0W-20 This engine oil is relatively thinner when you start the engine. Here in 0W-20, the viscosity of the oil is 0 when the motor is cold. When the engine reaches its normal operating temperature the viscosity of the oil becomes 20.
  2. 0W-30 The 0W-30 oil is engineered to behave as a 0 weight oil at the starting temperature and a 30 weight oil when the engine reaches its normal operating temperature.
  3. 0W-40 The 0W-40 oil is engineered to behave as a 0 weight oil at the starting temperature and a 40 weight oil when the engine will reach its normal operating temperature.
  4. 5W-30 5W-30 is the most commonly available and most extensively used engine oil in the Indian market. Most of the Indian car manufacturers recommend this.
  5. 5W-40 5W-40 is the fully synthetic engine oil which performs like a 5 weight engine oil when experiencing a cold start. It acts like a 40 weight oil once the engine reaches normal operating temperature.
  6. 10W-40 10W-40 is the engine oil which offers a 10 weight performance in the cold starting temperature. On the other hand, it provides a 40 weight performance at the normal operating temperature of the engine.

What are the types of engine oils?

Before you go ahead and purchase any engine oil, know what type of oil your hatchback, sedan or SUV requires. It is essential to understand what goes into your car. This is after all the deciding factor that ensures that the engine runs smooth, slick and efficient.

In general, there are three types of engine oil: Mineral, Semi-Synthetic and Synthetic Engine Oils.

Mineral Engine Oil


Mineral Oil | Engine Oil
Mineral Oil | Engine Oil

This is the crudest kind of engine oil. Mineral Engine oil is considered as the genesis that paved the way for modern engine oils. Mineral oil is essentially refined petroleum oils which undergo treatment to function under a wide range of temperatures. Besides, mineral oil is cheaper in the market compared to the other two varieties. Nowadays, we use mineral oils in older vehicles and motorcycles.

The biggest problem with mineral oil is that they offer little to no lubrication and protection against friction-induced heat. Also, they perform very inefficiently in colder temperatures. They are also much susceptible to breakdown during high-temperature uses. Mineral oil requires more frequent replacement as well. They don’t last for more than 5000 km.

Semi-Synthetic Engine Oil


Semi-Synthetic Oil | Engine Oil
Semi-Synthetic Oil | Engine Oil

This positions itself right in between the territory of Mineral and Full Synthetic oil. Semi-Synthetic oil offers the affordability of mineral and the performance of synthetic. This kind of engine oil provides as much as three times the protection compared to mineral oils.

Semi-synthetic oil is also known as synthetic blend oil. Here, a small amount of synthetic engine oil is mixed in with mineral oil. This boosts its properties without escalating the cost by much. The addition of synthetic oil enhances its viscosity and wear resistance of the engine oil at higher temperatures and stress. Synthetic-blend engine oils can also offer better performance at lower temperatures compared to mineral oils.

The thumbs down with semi-synthetic is that they do not offer the superior level of protection that a full synthetic does.

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Full Synthetic Engine Oil


Fully synthetic engine oil
Fully synthetic engine oil

This is the cutting edge in engine oil technology. Full synthetic engine oil delivers excellent protection and contributes to greater fuel efficiency.

Synthetic oils go through extensive treatment in the laboratory. The process breaks down the mineral oil into the most basic molecules. This makes them significantly superior to their counterparts. This also helps remove any impurities to a very high degree. The molecules of synthetic oil are also very consistent in their size and shape, offering superior lubrication. Full synthetic oil functions at their optimum in both low or high temperatures, or under extraordinary stress.

The science behind manufacturing synthetic engine oil is an expensive and painstaking one, which makes synthetic oils significantly costly.

Your guide to choosing the right kind of engine oil for your car

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Motor oil is indispensable to your car engine. It makes sure that the motor works in the best condition possible. So which engine oil should you go for? This would depend on the car you drive as well as where you drive it. However, remember to choose the manufacturer specified engine oil for your car.

Also, look out for your car and get the oil changed periodically. Wondering who the best person is to service your car? Think GoMechanic. We are here to assist you!

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Vishal Khanna
Vishal Khannahttps://yt.vu/c/UCowI-iJCENrPhicwCoSkxZw
GoMechanic's OG Content Creator | Automobile Enthusiast | Automobile Engineer | Blogger | YouTuber | The DIY Automotive Guy


  1. The motor oil lessens the friction amongst the various components of the engine during the combustion cycle. By providing a thin layer of oil, parts of the engine do not rub each other harshly. Engine oil reduces the wear and tear.

  2. What you choose for your vehicle really matters a lot. So, car owners need to understand the different grades of the engine/motor oil and why they are significant for the performance of the vehicle. Engine efficiency is directly related to the type of engine oil that you choose for the vehicle so consider buying a high-grade engine as I do. It will give more power, more torque, and better life to your vehicle’s engine.

  3. Sir/mem. Mujhe grade me kuch confused hi use clearing karni h pls mujhe ye sanjhay k 0W16, 0W20, 0W30, 5W10, 5W20, 0W30, 10W15, 10W20, 10W30, 10W40, 15W30, 10W40, 5W30, and iske baad bhi koi oil hai to mujhe bataya or samjhaye me SAUD AUTOMOBILES CAR SERVICE workshop chala raha hoo mujhe customer ko smjhana bahut mushkil hota hai abhi


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