Our cars today are more sophisticated machines. Only thing that a customer can easily access is the engine oil dip stick, coolant reservoir and brake fluid reservoir. The rest are all packed in layers of plastic, metal and electronics!
Just because your mechanic can change engine oil, doesn’t mean you should! Read on to find why..
What does Engine oil Do?!
Engine oil is essential to keep the fine metal particles suspended in itself, keep the slimy gunk created with high temperatures during combustion away from the engine. On top of this, it also lubricates all the moving parts in an engine. Also it keeps the engine optimally hot (Or rather Cool!)
What are we changing when we change engine oil?
We are changing the engine oil, along with the oil filter, we are removing the gunk, slime buildup, metal particles that broke off the engine in the last 10,000 kms. We are giving the engine a new thinner engine oil, so the pistons can slide easier and smoother in the engine.
What are the kinds of engine oil? Am I being conned by using technical terms?
Many, and Maybe! Engine oil doesn’t come like petrol- normal or premium with additives 🙂
Basically engine oil comes in three variations- Mineral oil, Semi-synthetic and Synthetic.
Mineral oil is the cheapest, and thickest of the lot. It is the smoothest too because of the high viscosity. It is made from the by-products of petroleum refining, and additives to give temperature resistance. The one drawback is that, this engine oil starts becoming thicker upon usage. So, around 8,000 kms after an oil change, the engine becomes rough and reminds you of the impending oil change! Cost: Approx 350 per litre
Synthetic oil is the best, of the lot. It is lot thinner than other oils, and also very resistant to high temperatures. It doesn’t thicken with age or usage as rapid as it’s counterparts. It is made from hydrocarbons, synthesized in controlled environments, specifically calibrated to the characteristics as needed by the car manufacturer. Cost: Approx INR950 per litre
Semi-synthetic oil is neither completely mineral nor synthetic. Some say it is the best of both worlds, also being light on your pocket! It lasts longer than mineral oil, and comes with better performance than mineral counterpart. It is the most popular in auto garages, because of it’s popularity with auto manufacturers. Cost: Approx INR500 per litre
What engine oil should I use?
Manufacturers mandate which grade of engine oil to use. The engines tolerances while designing are modelled to accomodate a certain grade of engine oil(s) only. So it is of utmost importance to replace engine oil grade which is recommended by your manufacturer.
The grades are named in universally agreed nomenclature like 15W30. So this ’15W30′ engine oil may be available across multiple brands like Shell, Bosch, Mobil, Castrol etc. It is not the brand that matters the most, but the right grade of engine oil!
Other geek stuff about engine oil, nobody wants to listen to?
The ’15W30′ nomenclature is followed by SAE- society of automotive engineers. Volkswagen group- Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen group follow a different nomenclature ‘VW501.01’ which is a different set of parameters defined by the VW group engines. All engine oils and gear oils follow the nomenclature of SAE or VW. So a lighter engine oil namely 5W40 goes into an engine while a heavier 30W40 engine oil goes into a transmission, called transmission oil.
Oil Changing Intervals?
Oil typically needs to be changed every 10,000 kms and few manufacturers like VW, Renault, Nissan, Skoda etc. mandate it at 15,000 kms. Towards the end of the engine oil life you can find that the engine has become rough and more noisy than before. Synthetics tend to be louder than mineral because they are less viscous than mineral oil. The sticker in your car by your dealer workshop is probably an attempt to con! Don’t fall for it!
Ask us, or refer to your owner’s manual.
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