One of the safest ways to keep your engine running for a long time is by constantly changing the oil. Whether you change the oil in your engine yourself or have an auto mechanic change it for you, choosing the right oil is an even more challenging task. Following the oil type and viscosity recommendation in your vehicle manual does not even guarantee ease. You still have dozens of oil filter to choose from and know the change interval of oil.
FUNCTION OF ENGINE OIL
- The function of oil in the engine is to create an extremely thin cushioning film to separate metal components and prevent contacts as the parts rotate and bang against one another.
- The oil also forms a film that acts as a sealant to close the gap between the piston rings and the cylinder wall in the combustion chamber.
- Oil also function as a coolant for the metal parts and transporter of the heat created by friction that occurs when the metal parts are sliding, pounding and moving against each other.
- It also functions as a neutralizer for acids and prevent metal from corroding and foams continuously as whirling part whips air into it.
- In addition, the oil cleans the engine and carries dust, dirt and combustion by-products and the residue of degraded oil off to the filter to be captured.
TIPS TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT ENGINE OIL
FOLLOW THE MANUFACTURER’S VISCOSITY RECOMMENDATION: Viscosity refers to a fluid’s resistance to flow. It is denoted with the common “XW-XX”. The letter “X” preceding the letter “w” rates the oil’s flow at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The “w” stands for winter not weight as many people say. The lower the number, the lesser the oil thickens in cold. The “xx” after the “w” indicates the oil’s viscosity measured at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. This number represents the oil resistance to thinning at high temperature or when it is heated. The lesser the number the faster the oil will thin out in high temperature.
Most vehicle manufacturers recommend multi-grade oils which are thinner at a cooler temperature to allow fast circulation in the engine and thicker at a higher temperature to protect the car engine. It is essential to always follow the manufacturer’s viscosity recommendation because it prevents premature wear and tear of parts in your engine. This recommendation can be seen in the manual or on the oil filler cap. Never second-guess the manufacturer’s recommendation even if expert say different viscosity oil will work better.
FREQUENT OIL CHANGE: changing the oil in your engine regularly means there is less tendency to need other types of oil other than the conventional oil. However, some vehicle manufacturers specify the type of oil to be used in your engine.
CHOOSE RECOGNIZED OIL BRAND: choosing the recognized oil brand guarantees you top quality oil and ensure that you get the value for your money. Although unknown oil brands might be cheaper, you might be getting an inferior quality which will only spell doom for your car engine.
CHECK THE DATE OF PRODUCTIONS AND EXPIRATION: Engine oils have a shelf life of about five years after which it is deemed expired. Expired oil may look okay to the eye but a closer will show you separated constituent which cannot be seen with the naked eye. Expired oils will have reduced effectiveness when it gets to the engine.
TYPES OF OIL
There various types of car engine oil to choose from but it is recommended to use one specified by the vehicle manufacturer. The types of car engine oil are;
CONVENTIONAL OIL: This is the most available and widely used oil in a car dealership. It is the cheapest in the auto store. The conventional oil is of the API and SAE standard and contains little additive packages
PREMIUM CONVENTIONAL OIL: this is the standard new car oil. The premium conventional oil is available in common viscosity such as 5W-20, 5W-30 OR 10W-30 oil.
FULL SYNTHETIC OIL: These oils are made for high-tech engines. They offer superior and long-lasting performance in all the critical areas from viscosity index to protection against engine deposits. This type of flows better at low temperature and maintain peak lubrication at high temperatures. The downside is that the full synthetic oil cost as much as three times the conventional oil.
SYNTHETIC BASED OIL: this is the essential conventional oil enhanced with a dose of synthetic. They are formulated to offer better protection during heavier engine loads and the associated higher engine temperature.
HIGH MILEAGE OIL: This is the essential conventional or synthetic oil enhanced with seal conditioner to increase the flexibility of the engine.