Finding the right oil for your car

Several factors determine which engine oil you should use. The most important are the type of fuel your engine uses (gasoline or diesel) and the conditions you normally drive in, such as. B. Stop-and-go traffic or extremely hot or cold temperatures.

All manufacturers recommend the type of oil that is best suited for their car. Normally, this information is clearly indicated on the oil cap under the engine hood. Otherwise, you will find this information in the owner’s manual of your car. Some manufacturers recommend different types of oil depending on the weather conditions in which they run. It is not recommended to deviate from the manufacturer’s specifications. You can also find the right engine oil using the totalenergies lubricant finder.

Car manufacturers also grant approvals for certain engine oils if they meet the precise requirements of certain vehicle models. In such cases, the oil is marked with a specific code on the back label. You can see these OEMA codes at the bottom of the QUARTZ bottle of totalenergies:

What can happen if you use the wrong engine oil??

Car engines are precision machines, so the manufacturer’s engine oil specifications should be considered requirements and not recommendations.

The use of the wrong engine oil can:

  • voiding the warranty on your vehicle
  • Increasing fuel consumption
  • Cause premature wear of the engine components
  • Ultimately shorten the life of your engine

The engine of your vehicle has been designed to operate with oil of a specific viscosity class. If you do not use this type of oil in your engine, your car will not reach the consumption, emission and performance levels promised by the manufacturer. using the wrong engine oil will release the manufacturer from repairing or replacing damaged parts, even if your car is still under warranty.

Using the wrong oil will put additional stress on the engine’s internal components. If it is too thick, it may not flow enough. Proper viscosity is important to fill some of the tighter spaces between engine parts. oil that is too thin may not adequately cover all parts. In both cases, metal-to-metal contact occurs, leading to premature wear of the components. Failure to do so can result in serious and costly engine damage.

What are the engine oil specifications?

It is important to know the intended use of the engine oil you need. You should also know whether or not it meets current industry standards. There are two generally accepted specifications you should look for on a bottle of motor oil: API (american petroleum institute) and ACEA (association des constructeurs europeens d’automobiles).

The API classification consists of two main categories. There is category S, which stands for "service" stands and includes cars, vans and light trucks with gasoline engines. There is also category C, which stands for "commercial" which includes heavy-duty commercial vehicles with diesel engines. On the oil can be "API SN plus" stand. This indicates the oil’s ability to protect against pre-ignition at low engine speeds (a type of super knock). The ability of the oil to reduce fuel consumption is indicated by the word "resource efficient" indicated.

ACEA is the European equivalent of API and specifies the performance of an engine oil with three categories: A for gasoline, B for diesel and C for catalyst compatible or low SAPS (sulfated ash, phosphorus and sulfur).

Engine technology has become more and more advanced and specialized. Therefore, a number of car manufacturers have developed their own release and specification criteria for the oil to be used in their engines. The specification recommended by the manufacturer in the vehicle’s maintenance book is the most important specification to follow. These are listed on the packaging of the oil can under original equipment manufacturer approvals. For example, if you have a volkswagen and the maintenance book recommends oil with the specification "VW 507".00" to use, first look for this specification on the label of an oil can. The look at the ACEA and API specifications is optional, while the manufacturer’s specification is crucial.

For more information on what specifications apply to your vehicle, refer to your owner’s manual.

When comparing and selecting the right engine oil, however, there is another factor to consider: how cold does it get in winter?? 5W40 engine oils are ideal for starting the engine at low temperatures and effective at high temperatures. They can be used under most conditions.

Why is the viscosity of engine oil important??

The photo illustrates the different viscosity grades of engine oils

The viscosity of an oil indicates its resistance to flow. Oil that is too thick will not flow properly through the engine. Too thin, on the other hand, does not adequately protect moving parts from wear. viscosity increases with decreasing temperature and decreases with increasing temperature. When choosing a particular engine oil grade, you should choose a compromise between performance and protection. An oil that is thicker when the engine is running will better protect the engine components. However, an oil that is too thick will also affect engine performance.

For this reason, it is important that you ask the car manufacturer what type of engine oil is suitable for your vehicle. The designations on the bottles are not always easy to understand and translate: 5W-30, 15W-40, 10W-40, etc.. In fact, these numbers represent the viscosity grade of the oil, d.H. the degree of fluidity of the lubricant and its efficiency or. Its efficiency at low and high temperatures.

Viscosity grade

Engine oil is given a viscosity grade, which represents its fluidity – think of viscosity as a type of "thickness". This is an important property of engine oil, as it must be able to flow around the engine parts and coat them at different temperature extremes. For this reason, most modern engines require multigrade oils.

The society of automotive engineers has developed the industry standard for oil viscosity classification. The classification format consists of a number followed by the letter "W" (the one for "winter stands), followed by another number (z.B. 5W-30 or SAE 10W-40). The number in front of the letter "W indicates how easily the oil flows at 0ºC. The number after the "W indicates the viscosity at heat . The higher the number, the thicker the oil remains at high temperatures

This classification system indicates how easily the oil can flow at cold temperatures and how resistant it is at hot temperatures. This is important because in cold conditions it must be thin enough to flow to all necessary engine components on ignition. As the engine runs and the oil warms up, its viscosity decreases, but it must remain viscous enough to coat and lubricate the engine components.

5W-30 engine oil behaves like viscosity grade 5 oil when cold and like viscosity grade 30 oil when hot. Similarly, 10W-40 oil behaves like a viscosity grade 10 oil when cold and like a viscosity grade 40 oil when hot.

Monograde oils

Monograde oils are used in a relatively small temperature range. They are generally designed for older vehicles. This type of engine oil is divided into two categories depending on the season in which the vehicle is used.

For winter use, choose an oil with the letter "W", which stands for winter. These are SAE 0W, 5W, 10W, 15W, 20W and 25W engine oils. The viscosity grade of these engine oils is low, which means that they are particularly fluid lubricants. Each viscosity grade is defined by its viscosity at a specific temperature (from -10°C to -35°C depending on the grade). In cold condition, the more liquid the lubricant is, the less work the oil pump has to do during cold starting.

In the summer season it is best to choose an engine oil with SAE classification 20, 30 or 40.

Multigrade oils

Multigrade oils are the most popular engine oils today, as they are perfectly matched to the current vehicle models. Moreover, they have the advantage of being usable at any time of the year and regardless of the outside temperature. Multigrade oils are less susceptible to temperature fluctuations than monograde oils. For this reason, multigrade oil tanks have on both sides of the "ws" a number. On the most commonly purchased engine oils you will see values such as 0W-20, 0W-30, 5W-30 , 5W-40 for example.

What do these viscosity grades mean? As with monograde oils, the "W" means "W" also in this case "winter. The number in front of the W stands for the winter viscosity grade. the smaller the number, the easier it is to cold start the engine.

The second number stands for the viscosity grade of the engine oil at high temperatures. A high viscosity grade means optimized protection and sealing for your engine and its components. The numbers 30, 20, 16, and 12 are more effective in reducing friction and provide fuel savings.

Choose the right engine oil: SAE 5W-40 or SAE 10W-40?

The choice between SAE grades SAE 5W-40 and an alternative such as SAE 10W-40 depends on the winter temperature in your region. 5W-40 is better for starting your engine at low temperatures because it flows more easily at these temperatures. When the engine is running and hot, 5W40 and 10W40 have high viscosities and protect equally effectively against engine wear.

You can easily check which engine oil is the right one for your car with our lubricant finder.

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