A well maintained and timely lubrication is an essential part of automobile engine maintenance in order to get optimum engine performance, reliability and efficiency. So choosing the right engine oil lubricant also plays an important role in engine lifespan and performance.
But today there are more than 500+ lubricant brands available across the world, so selecting a perfect lubricant oil for your automobile from this list seems to be a hectic task. In this article, we discuss some tips, recommendations and guidelines for selecting the best engine oil for your automobiles.
Viscosity Level of Engine Oil
Viscosity is one of the major factors related to engine oil properties. Engine oil viscosity refers to the pouring or flowing resistance of engine oil at different temperature conditions.
In 19011 the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) headquartered in America introduced the viscosity grading system. Some of the common grades are 10W40, 5W40, 5W30 etc, in which the “W” represents “Winter” and the numbers are for determining viscosity level at different temperatures.
For example in the 10W40 grade, 10 means the viscosity level of engine oil at low or cold temperatures (W for Winter) and 40 means the viscosity level of engine oil at high temperature.
So by checking the owner’s manual specifications given by the vehicle manufacturer you are able to easily identify the right engine oil with its grade that is suited for your vehicle. But today automobiles with modern engines often need engine oils with low viscosity and for older engine automobiles prefer engine oils with high viscosity in order to ensure consistent lubrication.
Know The Exact Engine Requirement
Knowing the exact engine oil required for your automobile engine is the most important factor because different automobiles need different grades of engine oils.
Daily used cars, supercars, sports cars, bikes, trucks, tractors, off-road vehicles, heavy duty industrial vehicles etc all these automobiles have different characteristics and workloads in their operations so each vehicle’s engine requires different engine oils for proper lubrication.
So we already discussed it by looking at the owner’s manual we can easily find the engine oil suited for your automobile engine.
Importance of API Certification
While choosing engine oil for your automobile it’s important that you should buy an API certified engine oil. API stands for American Petroleum Institute, it’s an organisation which set the quality standards for all the factors related to the petroleum and gas industry worldwide.
Normally an engine oil with API certifications means that this engine oil meets the basic quality and industry standards. If an engine oil brand was API approved then it will be shown on the engine oil can with a symbol “S” or “C”. The “S” symbol stands for engine oil compatible with gasoline engines and “C” stands for engine oil compatible with diesel engines.
Basically the American Petroleum Institute (API) gives approval on an engine oil purely based on it’s performance standard. Before giving approvals or certifications, API organisation will conduct a thorough and intense test over engine oils in order to ensure whether the engine oils meet specific quality & industry requirements.
So if an engine oil is API certified, then it means that this engine oil not only indicates compatibility with your automobile engines but also ensures the quality of the engine oil.
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Approvals
In this scenario, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Approvals and certifications are provided by automobile manufacturers. They normally provide approvals after performing thorough testing over engine oil and check whether the oil meets their required engine requirements.
Synthetic Oil vs Conventional Oil
It’s important to choose synthetic oil or conventional oil for your automobile engines. Synthetic oils are specially formulated to provide maximum performance levels and ensure engine protection in different temperature conditions. Synthetic engine oils have special capabilities like high resistance towards breakdown, and oxidation and reduce wear and tear. Generally, synthetic engine oils are expensive when compared to conventional oils but the durability for synthetic engine oil is high and it will increase the time interval of engine oil change.
Conventional oils are more suited for old and low-performing vehicles, but not compatible with modern automobiles and need for synthetic engine oils are increased due to its advanced chemical properties.
Today all engine oil lubricants are blended with additives in order to enhance the properties of engine oil in all aspects.
Detergents and Dispersants: Detergents are ash additives and Dispersants are ashless additives, both used to remove and clean contaminants and other particle deposits formed inside the engine.
Anti-Wear Additives: Anti-wear additives are used to reduce wear and tear thereby which helps to prevent engine from breakdowns
Viscosity Index Additives: Viscosity Index Additives are used to maintain sufficient viscosity levels in different temperature levels.
Anti-Foaming Agents: Anti-Foaming additives are used to prevent foam formation inside the engine.
Factor in Driving Conditions
Your driving habits and conditions play a significant role in choosing the right engine oil lubricant for your vehicle. If you normally drive in heavy traffic or heavy workload conditions then you need to use engine oil with high temperature resistance and anti-wear properties. But if you normally drive in normal free conditions then you opt for standard medium engine oils.
Regularly Check and Timely Oil Change
It’s important to maintain a regular oil level check on your vehicle’s engine oil because even the best quality engine oil gets worse during the course of usage due to high temperature & heat, contaminants. It’s also important to follow the vehicle manufacturer’s oil recommendation during the oil change to get the best performance and increases the time intervals of oil change.
We all need to care about our ecosystem, emissions from automobiles are considered as one of the most important factors affecting our ecosystem. So while choosing an engine oil lubricant it’s better to consider eco-friendly lubricants or lubricants with lesson emission.
Today most of the engine oil lubricants are formulated with eco-friendly properties, some of the major properties associated with such lubricants are biodegradability, significant reduction in emission, packaging recyclability, Usage of sustainable ingredients.