Find the right type of oil for your engine
WHAT DOES THE OIL IN MY CAR DO?
Using the correct oil keeps an engine running smoothly. It creates a thin, lubricating layer between metal surfaces, which stops them from grinding against each other and becoming worn or damaged. Oil also prevents corrosion, cools the engine and helps keep the engine clean and protected.
WHAT IS ENGINE OIL TYPICALLY MADE OF?
Engine oil typically consists of about 80% base oil and 20% performance additives. The performance additives include anti-wear additives, antioxidants, dispersants and detergents that keep the engine clean, and viscosity index improvers that ensure the oil maintains an optimum viscosity throughout the engine’s operating temperature range. The base oil carries these additives to where they are needed, and provides vital cooling to engine components, by drawing away heat. Base oils can be either mineral or synthetic, and engine oils can contain all mineral base oil, all synthetic base oil, or a mixture of the two. Engine oils containing a mixture are typically described as part-synthetic.
WHAT IS SYNTHETIC OIL, PART-SYNTHETIC OIL AND MINERAL OIL?
Synthetic oils are chemically synthesised to meet the exacting demands of modern engines. This makes them more expensive to produce, but because they are tailor-made they provide the best performance, protection and fuel economy. They also remain stable at very high temperatures and fluid at very low temperatures. Part-synthetic oils are a blend of mineral and synthetic oils. They provide better performance, protection and fuel economy than mineral oils, but not as good as a full synthetic. Mineral oils are made from naturally occurring crude oil which is refined and processed to remove waxes and impurities, and tend to be found in the thicker grades of engine oils.
WHY DO SYNTHETIC OILS PERFORM BETTER THAN MINERAL OILS?
The reason why synthetic oils outperform mineral oils is down to their molecular structure. Mineral oil is made from a complex mix of molecules of different shapes and sizes. In contrast, synthetic oil is created in a carefully controlled process and tailor-made to meet a more exacting specification. The result is:
- Better lubrication at both hot and cold temperatures
- Potentially increased horsepower and torque due to reduced friction
- Enhanced cleanliness and superior engine protection
- Increased stability and endurance – the oil lasts longer and needs to be changed less frequently
- The potential for improved fuel economy