Engine Oils – What Are Lubricant Standards?
We talk about the different standards and grades followed for engines oils.
When we give our vehicles for service, the first and foremost thing that is replaced is the engine oil. The engine oil keeps the engine in top shape, allowing it to offer optimum levels of performance and efficiency and replacing your car’s engine oil is vital to extracting the best performance from your car and increasing the car’s longevity and reliability.
Now, there are different types of engine oils available in the market. You get mineral oil, semi-synthetic oil and fully-synthetic oil. In this article, we’ll be diving deep into the differences between these types and we’ll also be talking about the various grades that are used to identify engine oils.
You cannot use the same type of oil for every car and every engine. Different engines have different requirements and manufacturers also recommend different grades of engine oils to be used. Following are the three different types of engine oils available globally –
Mineral Engine Oil – Mineral oils are basically refined petroleum oils that are said to function under a wide temperature range. Mineral oils are mostly used on mass-market cars and motorcycles. Mineral oil is cheaper but then it also offers limited lubrication and protection against fiction-induced heat. These engine oils perform optimally at regular temperatures but they tend to become inefficient when temperatures drop too low or soar too high. Mineral oils are also cheaper than semi-synthetic and fully-synthetic oils.
Semi-Synthetic Engine Oil – As the name suggests, this engine oil is slotted between mineral and fully-synthetic engine oils. It offers the low cost of mineral oil but the performance of synthetic oil. The composition is made up of a small blend of synthetic oil which is mixed with mineral oil so that the oil’s characteristics are boosted without escalating the prices. These oils offer better performance at low temperatures and better viscosity and resistance at high temperatures. So yes, this engine oil is better than mineral oil but not as good as fully-synthetic engine oil.
Fully-Synthetic Engine Oil – Fully-synthetic engine oils are known to offer great lubrication and better performance than the other two types of oil. These engine oils also tend to offer better fuel efficiency. Mineral oil is broken down into basic molecules and then impurities are taken out. Synthetic oil has consistently-sized molecules aimed to offer better lubrication. These oils function optimally at low and high temperatures alike. Manufacturing synthetic oil is a costly process which is why this oil is priced more than mineral and semi-synthetic oils.
These were the different types of engine oils but now we’ll be talking about different engine grades. The viscosity grade of an engine oil gives you information about the oil’s resistance to flow in your vehicle’s engine. Low viscosity means the oil will be more fluid and will flow easily while a higher viscosity grade means the engine oil will be thicker and it will flow slowly. It also forms a protective layer over the engine components. Engine oils are affected by temperature and different grades give you an idea about the ideal temperatures in which the oils can operate.
Monograde Engine Oils – These engine oils are utilized over a smaller temperature range. They are mostly meant for older vehicles. There are two types of monograde oils – low viscosity and high viscosity. Low engine oil viscosity grades end with a W and are meant for use in winters, example 0W, 5W, 10W, 20W, 25W, etc. High engine viscosity grades are meant for summer use and they do not have a W, example 8, 12, 16, 30, 40, etc.
Multigrade Engine Oils – Multigrade engine oils are very popular because they are meant for modern vehicles and they can easily be used in different seasons. The viscosity grades of these engine oils have two numbers, example – 5W40. Here, 5W is the low temperature viscosity (winter) and 40 is the high temperature viscosity (summer). Some of the most popular multigrade engine oils have the numbers 5W30, 5W40, 10W30, 10W40 and 20W40. The first number is followed by a W where W stands for winter. If the number is smaller, the engine oil will flow better. Thus, 5W30 oil will flow better than 10W30 oil. The second number indicates how the oil will flow once the optimum temperature is achieved, meaning 5W30 oil will have a better flow than 5W40 oil at normal temperatures.
A good engine oil helps maintain your engine seals and gaskets. Which means no oil leaks on your driveway, you will also enjoy improved engine performance along with better gas mileage due to less friction. Changing your oil on a routine basis is one of the most important and inexpensive maintenance that can be done on your vehicle.