How to choose engine oil


Any motorist should know like two or two: the oil in a car engine is the same as the human circulatory system. The efficiency and durability of the motor depends on it.

Therefore, the driver must know how often to change the engine oil and which one is best to choose. Here's what the experts advise.

Which is better to use

How to choose engine oil

By mistake, many car owners believe that the popularity of a particular brand of oil is a key factor in this matter. But in reality this is far from the case.

Here's what to consider:

  • recommendations of the car manufacturer;
  • Operating conditions;
  • motor resource.

Firstly, when developing engines, manufacturers conduct tests that determine the "golden mean" in the use of engine oil. Therefore, it is better to adhere to the recommendations of the manufacturer.

Secondly, sometimes a car is operated in conditions that do not meet the requirements for the desired brand of lubricant. For example, an area where winters are harsh.

Thirdly, due to wear on the piston rings, the clearance inside the cylinders becomes larger. Therefore, in the case of old cars, materials with a low viscosity are ineffective.

SAE classification

How to choose engine oil

If the car is no longer within the warranty period and the engine has been “run-in”, you can choose a more suitable ICE lubricant for local conditions. How not to get lost in the huge variety of goods on the shelves?

First of all, it is important to pay attention to the value of SAE. It is always indicated on the canister. For example, 5W-30. The letter in this marking indicates the degree of viscosity in winter (winter). The number in front of it indicates the minimum temperature threshold at which the starter will freely crank the crankshaft. In this case, this figure will be within 30 degrees of frost.

A table to help you find the right oil for your local conditions:

Cold start temperature: SAE classification Maximum air temperature:
From - 35 and below 0W-30 / 0W-40 + 25 / + 30
-30 5W-30 / 5W-40 + 25 / + 35
-25 10W-30 / 10W-40 + 25 / + 35
-20/-15 15W-40 / 20W-40 + 45 / + 45

As you can see, some types of oils are designed for use in special conditions. Among the "universal" lubricants are semi-synthetics.

Selection recommendations

How to choose engine oil

If the engine is at the “running-in” stage, that is, all the new parts installed after the overhaul or at the first purchase of the car have not yet gotten used, experts advise using low-viscosity materials. Unlike thick analogs, such oil creates a thin protective film on the surface of rubbing elements. This provides a soft "grinding" of the piston group, bearings, bushings, camshaft beds, etc. For example, in this case, minders recommend pouring 5W-30, or 0W-20.

The older the engine is, the higher the viscosity of the engine oil should be. For example, 5W-40 and lower in class. This way the car will not lose power at high revs. Larger gaps will be compensated for by a thicker oily film. And this will noticeably affect fuel consumption (in the direction of efficiency).

How to determine when it is time to switch to another category of motor oils? Here are a combination of factors that indicate this:

  • high mileage;
  • increased fuel consumption;
  • reduced motor power.

Another point is the driving mode. At higher rpm, the engine always heats up more. And the higher the temperature, the lower the viscosity of the car oil. Therefore, the driver himself must determine the golden mean for his car.

API classification

How to choose engine oil

In addition to classifying oils by viscosity, they are divided into several API categories. This is a criterion that allows you to choose a lubricant according to the type of motor and the year of its production.

All engine oils are sorted into three main types:

  1. S - lubricants for carburetor and injection engines;
  2. С - analogues for diesel internal combustion engines;
  3. T - two-stroke engines.

API Marking:

Year of car production: API class:
Until 1967 SA, SB, SC
+1967 SD, SE
+1979 SF, SG
+1993 SH, SJ
+2001 SL, SM
2011 SN

The class with the letters J, L, M, N is considered the current marking today. Types F, G, H are considered obsolete motor oils.

How to choose engine oil

As you can see, when choosing an engine oil, it is important to take into account not only its viscosity at minimum and maximum ambient temperatures. Some lubricants are designed exclusively for gasoline or diesel powertrains. Although you can find universal options in stores. In this case, the canister will indicate: SN / CF.

How often do you change the oil?

How to choose engine oil

Manufacturers often indicate in the manual for the car that the engine oil needs to be changed every 10 thousand kilometers. Some motorists lower this interval to 8 for greater confidence.

However, vehicle mileage should not be the only indicator of replacement schedule. Additional factors include:

  • engine loads (frequent transportation of heavy loads);
  • engine capacity. Low-power internal combustion engines on heavy cars require increased revs;
  • engine hours. For details on how they are calculated, see separate article.
How to choose engine oil

So, the selection of engine oil is a crucial stage in car maintenance. Following the simple recommendations of specialists, the driver will significantly increase the resource of the "heart muscle" of his iron horse.

Here is a short video overview of some of the popular oil brands:

The best engine oil. does it exist?


Home » Articles » How to choose engine oil

Add a comment