Do you know what engine oil your vehicle needs? What does 5W30 mean?
When it comes to your car, there are a lot of components and moving parts that come into play to get it rolling down the road. As complex as it all is… it is blissfully simple at the same time. Read on.
Like the human body that cannot function properly without a strong heart, the car cannot function properly without a well maintained engine.
The engine needs lubricating oil to run smoothly, maintain a cool temperature and reduce wear on moving parts. It accomplishes this by pumping the oil to all the internal parts of the engine that need lubrication, similar to how a human heart pumps the blood to all the organs.
So even if the engine oil is the easiest and least expensive “component” that you can change on your vehicle, it’s safe to assume that it’s amongst the most important, being the lifeblood of your ride.
What engine oil you use and how often you change it will dictate if the vehicle will be running perfectly in the future or if it’s a good candidate for the nearest junk yard.
Why Engine Oil is Different
Engine oil is derived from petroleum based and non-petroleum based chemical compounds. It is used for lubrication of internal combustion engines at high pressures and/or temperatures without breaking down.
It all began in 1866 when American John Ellis founded Continuous Oil Refining Company (later Valvoline®) after he created the engine oil which prevented the valves from getting gummed, cylinders from getting corroded and seals from leaking.
Today’s engine oils have many roles:
- reduce wear on moving parts
- cleans the inside of the engine
- inhibit corrosion
- improve sealing
- cool the engine (by moving the heat away from the moving parts)
What Oil Should I Buy?
All of today’s cars come with an owner’s manual where exact information is shared about the recommended oil specification and the changing interval.
The difference between oils created for gas engines and the oils created for diesel engines is categorically reduced to the working temperature at which the oil still provides protection.
Gasoline (petrol) engines, at the top piston ring, exposes the engine oil to temperatures of 320 °F (160 °C) whereas a Diesel engine, exposes the engine oil to temperatures of 600 °F (315 °C).
Search for the information on the label that states “for gas” or “for diesel”.
After you pick the oil based on your engine type, it’s time to correctly read the label.
0W20/10W40/15W50, etc. What Exactly Does this Mean?
The Society Of Automotive Engineers (SAE) established a numerical code system for grading motor oils according to viscosity.
The number before “W” indicates the cold-start viscosity, at low temperature. “W” stands for “Winter” and it’s being read with the number before it.
The number after “W” indicates the viscosity of the oil at 212 °F (100 °C)
This information used together with the table below helps you to easily understand the temperature interval in which your oil viscosity remains the same.
It is important for the oil to maintain its viscosity in order to protect your internal engine components.
Choosing the right type of oil for your geographical location should be considered.
Just think of the upcoming weather period and the possible temperatures coming and choose accordingly.
If you live in place where summer is very hot and winter is very cold, you might consider changing the oil once it starts to get cooler outside and again likewise when things begin to get warmer outside.
Should I Change My Oil Viscosity?
By using the recommended oil for your vehicle, while adapting for temperature extremes in some parts of the world, you will protect your car from extreme cold weather related ‘dry starts’ because the oil viscosity is too thick for the pump to push quickly through the system or from your engine overheating or causing premature wear when the oils viscosity gets too thin and loses its film strength characteristics when it’s very hot outside… especially while towing a trailer or climbing steep and long inclines under load with your vehicle.
For example 0W40 would be an oil you can use year-round that can help your car work through the blazing hot summer all the way through the ice cold winter. Once again, let’s refer to our chart below:
As seen above in the chart, the engine oil by itself can keep your engine safe with sufficient lubrication and proper flow in almost all conditions. However for added protection, specific periods of the year or for when you plan to take your engine to the extreme you can safely add one of the many oil additives out there to supplement the oils lubrication properties.
It can be daunting trying to choose an oil additive. There are many to choose from, however one of the scariest things you can do is to buy the wrong additive. These will cause more harm than good. To better understand what we’re talking about here… please review this excellent article on Fuel & Friction.
Yes, please forgive our shameless plug here, but we only trust one additive that has been vigorously tested for over 20 years to do what it really says it does… and that is to protect metal components without harmful side effects. The one we trust our most expensive machines and their engines/gearboxes and many differentials to is… CleanBoost® EMT™ Engine Metal Treatment.
As we speak, many NHRA top alcohol and even top fuel dragster race team drivers and mechanics, with engines producing north of 10,000 horse power trust CleanBoost® EMT™ fortified oils to protect these very expensive investments.
This additive greatly reduces engine, transmission and gearbox component wear while also extending oil life in all demanding conditions.
The added benefit here is that you can simply run the oil that your owner’s manual recommends to run year round AND enhance its protective qualities without the worry or attention of figuring if you should adjust the viscosity for extreme weather temperatures or loads. In these extreme cases, CleanBoost® EMT™ will continue protection on both ends of the spectrum without altering oil viscosity.
It’s both safe and recommended to add to either gas and diesel engine oils. With CleanBoost® EMT ™ the added protective film of your oil will reduce the friction and temperature between your internal components more than ever. Also it makes the film virtually impossible to break down. This translates into the fact that your internal components will never come in direct contact with one another and cause serious engine damage. This is total peace of mind for you and your wallet.