The most essential thing that is used in a car service is the engine oil. The engine oil is the main lubricant that plays a vital role in the combustion cycle. Let’s have a look at all the things that this wonder liquid does to ease our drive:
- Engine oil reduces the friction among the parts of the engine at the various stages of the combustion cycle reducing the wear and tear of the internal parts of the engine.
- Engine oil performs the vital role of cleaning the sludge from the engine block which would otherwise result in a possible blockage.
- Engine oil helps neutralise the acids that are released at any stage of the combustion process from the fuel and oxidation of other lubricants.
- Engine oils also have anti-corrosion abilities which prevent the cylinder block from getting corroded.
So now we know that the engine oil is a vital element for our engine because it performs so many functions 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 engine oils are recommended by car manufacturers based on some parameters of your car.
You ought to know the grade of engine oil being put inside your car to yield the best performance along with a healthy life span.
What are engine oil grades?
Engine oils have got different grades which are differentiated on the basis of their viscosities. Viscosity is the quantity expressing the internal friction of the fluid. Different engine oils have different viscosities at room temperature and also react differently to temperature changes. Selecting an engine oil grade for your car depends upon your car’s engine and also the place you are driving in.
What does 20W-40 mean in engine oil?
The engine oil grade consists of 4 characters. Here we explain the meaning of each of them:
- 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 with the W represents the parameter of 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 is the indication of how the finely the oil will flow at normal operating temperature once it is achieved.
- The 10W-30 engine oil will have a better flow than the 10W-40 engine oil at normal operating temperature.
Let’s take a look at the engine oil grades available globally:
- 0W-20 The 0W-20 oil is engineered to behave as a 0 weight oil at the starting temperature and a 20 weight oil when the engine will reach its normal operating temperature.
- 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 will reach its normal operating temperature.
- 0W-40 The 0W-40 oil is engineered to behave as a 0 weight oil at the starting temperature and a 20 weight oil when the engine will reach its normal operating temperature.
- 5W-30 5W-30 is the most commonly available end most extensively used engine oil in the Indian market. Most of the Indian car manufacturers recommend this.
- 5W-40 5W-40 is the fully synthetic engine oil which performs like a 5 weight engine oil when experiencing a cold start and 40 weight oil once the engine reaches normal operating temperature.
- 10W-40 10W-40 is the engine oil which offers a 10Weight performance in the cold starting temperature and 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, the first step you should know is, what type of oil your hatchback, sedan or SUV requires. It is essential to understand what goes into your car, as this is the deciding factor which ensures that the engine runs smooth, slick and efficient.
In general, there are three types of engine oil:
Mineral Engine Oil
The crudest form of engine oil. Mineral Engine oil is considered as the genesis that paved the way for modern engine oils. Mineral oils are refined petroleum oils which undergo treatment to function under a wide temperature range and are marketed significantly cheaper compared to the other two varieties of oils.
Nowadays, Mineral oils find their use in older vehicles and motorcycles.
The biggest drawback 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 and are more susceptible to breakdown during high-temperature uses.
Mineral oil also requires more frequent replacement as they last not more than 5000 kms.
Semi-Synthetic Engine Oil
This is one diplomatic engine oil. It positions itself right in between the territory of Mineral and Full Synthetic oil. As easy to say, Semi-Synthetic oil is a combination which offers the affordability of mineral and the performance of synthetic.
Semi-synthetic offer as much as three times the protection compared to mineral oils.
Semi-synthetic oil, also known as synthetic blend oil has a small amount of synthetic engine oil blended in with mineral oil to boost its properties without escalating the cost by much. The addition of synthetic oil enhances its viscosity and wear resistance 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
Full Synthetic Engine Oil
The bleeding edge in engine oil technology. Full synthetic engine oil delivers excellent protection and aides in better fuel efficiency.
Synthetic oils go through extensive treatment in the lab to make them significantly superior to their counterparts. The process involves breaking down the mineral oil into the most basic molecules, which helps remove any undesired substances and 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 function 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 which is its only drawback.