What Are Engine Oil Specifications
Not all engines are the same, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that oils aren’t the same either. The specification is another way that engine oils differ.
Car manufacturers and oil companies work together to agree performance specifications for engine oils. There are several different sets of standards around the world:
- The American Petroleum Institute
- The European Automobile Manufacturers Association
- The International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee , or
- The Japanese Automotive Standards Organization JATO.
Modern car engines need oils that are really durable, and last for thousands of miles between services. Modern oils protect against corrosion and sludge formation, and contain detergent additives to keep the engine clean.
Later specification oils are usually, but not always, suitable for older cars, while older specification oils shouldnt be used in newer cars.
Car manufacturer’s specifications
Many car manufacturers develop their own engine oil specifications. Most notable are Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, but BMW, GM, Porsche, PSA and others also have their own.
More and more often, these are very specialised ‘long life’ oils designed to support very long intervals between services.
- If your car’s handbook quotes the manufacturer’s own specification, you must look for this on the oil container.
- The manufacturer may also give an acceptable equivalent ACEA or API specification, though this might be for ’emergency top-up only’.
Racing Oil Vs Street Oil: Know The Differences
The difference between racing oil and street oil is largely characterized by the base oil chemistry and various additive packages specified by engine manufacturers. Additive packages contribute multiple levels of lubrication efficiency and protection including anti-wear, friction reduction, rust and corrosion resistance and detergent and dispersant qualities that help keep engine internals clean and functioning properly.
Effects of racing on oil
Heres what racing oil looks like after 500 miles in a NASCAR engine. On the right is fresh 20W-50 synthetic racing oil, and on the left is oil pulled from Mark Martins Ford following his victory at Fontana in 1998. The discoloration is the result of oxidation, which is caused by heat, soot and other combustion carbon byproducts that blow by the rings. Those engines produced about 700 horsepower. Todays Cup engines run 5W-20 synthetic oil and make close to 900 horsepower.
Racing oil is more heavily fortified with additive systems to give the performance to protect the engine, sums up Mark Negast, technical director at Lucas Oil Products. Still the same additive systems, just higher concentrations.
Racing oils are formulated without regard to emissions equipment life, adds Chris Barker, technical services manager at Royal Purple.
Different additive packages
There are many different ZDDP chemistries with varying levels of quality and performance, adds Barker.
ZDDP and detergents
Castrol Edge Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil 0w
Buy Castrol EDGE Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil 0W-20
The full synthetic oil Castrol 03124 Edge 0W-20 is of high quality and one of the most reliable products in this test. Manufactured by a company with a great reputation, it gives you confidence.
The oil is full synthetic, i.e. high performance and offers high mileage.
When it comes to performance, this oil never disappoints. The formulation offers better performance than many other oils.
In fact, the advanced formula gives your engine great pressure. This is ideal for maximizing fuel efficiency and power output.
There is no need to worry about your engine and other components wearing out quickly. Using this synthetic oil guarantees complete protection.
The high lubricity ensures smooth movement. As a result, the metals glide smoothly and do not slide. This protects the engine components from rapid wear.
Apart from lubrication, the oil effectively keeps the engine clean. With less engine wear, it means less deposit.With its ideal viscosity, the oil also helps to clean engine parts. Many vehicle manufacturers recommend it for its efficiency.
Few oils can beat Castrol Edge in this 0W-20 synthetic oil overview.
- Lubricates and cleans the motor
- Not the best oil for a cold engine start
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So Why Does Oil Need To Be Changed
If your oil level is low, you can top it up.
Basically, it wears out.
As time and kilometres pass, the hard-working oil becomes less able to reduce friction.
Thats why carmakers specify the correct time interval or kilometres-travelled figure to let you know its time to change the oil before any damage can be done.
Which is also when most people suddenly start asking questions about oil.
The other reason to buy oil is to top up the level in the cars engine.
Some cars consume some oil between oil changes and, if its enough, you need to top up the level.
Checking the dipstick under the bonnet is the traditional way to do this, but some modern cars have electronic measuring systems and will even alert you if the level has fallen too far.
Does Synthetic Oil Last Longer Than Conventional Oil
In general, yes, synthetic motor oil provides longer intervals between oil changes, but it depends on the brand of oil you use. Certain brands recommend you have your oil changed every 3000 or 5000 miles. Other recommendations range from 7500 to 20,000 miles. Other factors that influence the time between oil changes include driving conditions and your driving style.
Regardless, you should follow the oil change recommendations in your owner’s manual while your vehicle is still under warranty. You should also take your vehicle for more frequent oil changes when first switching to synthetic motor oil because the engine probably has a buildup of deposits and sludge.
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Toyota Oil Change Intervals
Oil changes are an important maintenance operation to ensure the longevity of any car engine, including the engine of a Toyota. In the world of automotive maintenance, a debate has arisen about how often the oil should be changed. Engine oil is better today than it was a decade ago, which has led many automakers to increase the intervals between oil changes from 3,000 miles to 7,500 miles. However, Toyota Motor Corp. has actually reduced the recommended oil change intervals to ensure a smooth operation.
Find The Right Engine Oil For Your Car
Wondering what engine oil to use for your car? Use our engine oil lookup and get engine oil recommendations matched to your vehicle.
Simply enter your car details and the results will give you the correct specification and amount of engine oil for servicing your engine.
Once you’ve found the right engine oil, buy online from the biggest and best independent online supplier of motoring oils & fluids.
We stock a massive range of fully synthetic, semi synthetic, and mineral engine oil service kits, all picked by lubricant experts and including enough oil for a full change and a disposable filling kit . These engine oil packs DO NOT come with a filter if you need a kit with a filter select Engine Oil & Oil Filter.
We pride ourselves on having something for every budget and application. Got a unique vehicle and not sure what engine oil is right? No problem, get a FREE recommendation from the Opie Experts. We’ll find the right oil to match your vehicle, its condition, and your style of driving.
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What Motor Oil Do I Need For My Car
Because engines vary so widely across makes and models, automakers recommend specific types of motor oil for each vehicle. Variations in viscosity, or oil weight, as well as ingredients will affect your vehicles longevity and performance. A standard oil weight of 10w30 means in cold temperatures the oil has a rating of 10, the w stands for winter, and once the oil has warmed up it has a rating of 30. The higher the number is, the more viscous the oil is. Engines need a thinner oil when they start-up in cold weather so it can easily coat the engine. As the engine gets hot, the oil becomes thicker, which lubricates the engine better. Specifications for your vehicles oil needs can be found in your owners manual.
Synthetic Oil Change Interval
Most synthetic oils are rated to last between 10,000 to 15,000 miles, or six months to a year. Manufacturer recommended ratings are typically applied to “normal driving,” and dont reflect severe driving conditions that may require more frequent oil changes.
If you drive less than 10 miles a day and dont drive on highways, you may need to change your oil more often because your engine likely isn’t heating up to a temperature high enough to boil off condensation that accumulates in the system, and therefore your oil can break up more quickly and need replacement often. In such cases, it may be a good idea to change your oil sooner than your rated mileage recommendations.
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Types Of Oil Additives
Motor oils typically include a few additives which can make up between 5% and 30% of the oil. These additives help enhance the performance of the oil. Motor oils can include the following additives:
Antioxidants: Antioxidant additives work to slow oxidation and the forming of deposits in motor oil. They also help keep the engine clean and extend the life of the motor oil.
Anti-wear agents: Anti-wear agents help protect parts of the engine that are especially susceptible to damage from high temperatures, like cylinder walls, lifters, cams, and piston rings. This additive acts as a protective layer around these components to limit friction in metal-on-metal situations.
Detergents: This additive isnt like your laundry detergent! It focuses on preventing deposits, rust, and corrosion from forming on the piston ring area, piston under-crown, and other surfaces that tend to overheat.
Dispersants: This is your oils magic ingredient. It gives your oil the ability to absorb and hold solid contaminants so that they dont damage the engine.
Foam inhibitors: This additive does exactly what it sounds like. Foam inhibitors keep motor oil from forming foam and bubbles. If foam and bubbles were to form, the oil would be unable to coat the important parts of the engine and keep it cool.
Friction modifiers: Friction modifiers help reduce friction when your engine is operating under high temperatures and with heavy loads. This additive can also help you maximize your fuel efficiency.
How Do I Know What Oil To Put In My Car
Choosing the right motor oil for your car is very important to ensure proper engine protection and to cover any conditions that may be required to maintain your vehicles warranty. Motor oils can be very different and are formulated to meet certain performance specifications and SAE viscosity grade requirements. Motor oil performance requirements will be dependent upon the oil specifications by vehicle and this will be determined by the manufacturer.
Which oil you choose for your car will be dependent upon the vehicle, the model year and the engine type. Determining factors include is the engine gasoline or diesel, engine size or displacement, use of turbochargers or direct fuel injection, and incorporation of emission control components such as catalysts and particulate filters.
For additional help determining which oil to use, try Castrols Oil Selector tool.
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What Oil Does My Car Take
When picking an oil for your engine parts, the most important thing to consider is the oils viscosity .
And your best guide to selecting an engine oil is the vehicle owners manual.
Remember, the owners manual:
- Will define the engine oil viscosity and type that the car manufacturer recommends
- May include details for cold or hot climate and seasonal use
- May include alternative-weight oils if you cant get hold of the exact product needed
But what can you do if the manual is missing?
There are still answers to be found:
- The oil-filler cap on top of your engine may list the viscosity rating.
- The car manufacturer may apply a small decal under the hood, noting the viscosity grade needed.
- You can check with your vehicle dealership for its engine oil recommendation.
- The oil section in a parts store sometimes has a chart listing vehicle makes and models and the right oil for them.
- Some oil companies offer online databases to search for the right oil for your vehicles make and model.
And if all these dont yield any answers, you can still consult a professional mechanic for help.
Next, lets get into some detail regarding motor oil selection.
What Are The Types Of Motor Oil
Motor oils are made of a base oil and additives.
Base oils are derived from crude oil or natural gas and typically make up 70-90% of engine oil. The remaining 10-30% are additives, which perform several functions, including optimizing oil consumption and keeping the cars engine corrosion-free.
Youll typically find four types of motor oil on store shelves:
A. Conventional Motor Oil
Conventional motor oil is a product of refined crude oil and is the cheapest type of engine oil. Its also referred to as mineral oil or organic oil. Its suited to light-duty newer cars with simple engines and low to average mileage.
Conventional oil degrades faster than other types, so getting a conventional oil change every 4,000 miles or 4 months is advisable. Or, follow the guidance of your oil-change indicator if your vehicle has one, and dont forget to get the oil filter changed too.
B. Synthetic Motor Oil
Synthetic motor oil provides higher viscosity levels, is resistant to thermal breakdown, oxidation, and oil sludge formation, with improved fuel efficiency.
Synthetic oil works for high-performance vehicles that demand high levels of lubrication. However, it can cost 2-4 times more than conventional oil.
Even with its improved performance, youll still need a synthetic oil change, usually within 7,500-10,000 miles. Make sure to pay attention to your oil-change indicator or follow the manufacturers recommendation.
C. Synthetic Blend Motor Oil
D. High Mileage Oil
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Advantages Of Synthetic Oil Over Conventional Oil
Since synthetic oils are created using complex processes, they can achieve the precise molecular qualities required for specific applications.
The processes used to make synthetic oils allows oil companies to remove impurities otherwise found in crude oil. They can then tailor the oil molecules to meet the specific demands of modern engines. Thanks to this level of customization, synthetic oils provide superior levels of protection and engine performance than conventional oils.
Synthetic oils also offer the following advantages:
While synthetic oils offer superior performance, they are substantially more expensive per volume than conventional motor oils. They also pose potential problems in terms of decomposition in certain industrial environments.
The Type Of Oil Is Crucial But The Brand Is Not
Theres no substitute for reading your owners manual. It will list what type of oil the automaker recommends for your car. It may also recommend different oil depending on whether you live in a hot or cold climate.
The most important thing is to use oil thats the right thickness, or viscosity, for your cars engine. Oil thats too thick or thin wont provide the necessary protection for your engine, which can result in costly damage. Your owners manual may recommend an acceptable alternative-weight oil if you cant find the recommended product.
Oils must also comply with different quality standards. The standards required for your car will also be listed in your owners manual. Sometimes the automakers list standards published by the Society of Automotive Engineers or the American Petroleum Institute. These will be listed on the oil container.
Others have their own standards that dont necessarily correspond to SAE or API standards. Any car dealer who sells the brand, and most auto parts stores, list which oils conform to these standards.
Because standard motor oil can’t meet many of these standards, many of todays cars require synthetic oils.
Although some mechanics will swear by certain brands of oil, its most important to use the right weight of oil that meets the required standards.
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What Type Of Engine Oil To Use
Motor oil also changes in viscosity as it is heated or cooled. If you live in a cold climate, then you will want to get thin motor oil, so it is able to flow more easily to the moving parts in your engine. If your oil is too thick, it is harder to start your engine, and that can also reduce your gas mileage.
Can I Use Synthetic Oil In My Club Car Golf Cart
Synthetic oils can be definitely used in Club Car golf carts. Synthetic oils are more suitable for small engines. It is highly recommended for small engines because of the advantages it brings.
Synthetic oils can be on the expensive side, but are useful for golf carts with smaller engine sizes. Because of the long run times and the increased RPM, synthetic oils are highly recommended.
If the golf cart suits well with synthetic oil, it gives out excellent results and runs excellently. In the case of a new or fresh golf cart, you should use standard oil for some time and then switch on to synthetic oil.
Premium synthetic oils are used by many golf carts for their engines. Many customers talk about the benefits they get after using synthetic oils for their golf cart, so it is advised that synthetic oils be used for small engines.
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What Makes Synthetic Oil Different
From its molecular structure, synthetic oil is built differently than conventional oil. Its still oil, but its been engineered for performance. Molecule size in synthetic oil is controlled with scientific precision. The uniform molecules cause less friction, an important feature in a lubricant. Synthetic oil also is cleaner and runs cleaner, due to refinement processes that remove deposits, and the presence of additives that can help clean the engine.
Between engine performance, environmental impact, durability, cleanliness and the potential for better fuel economy. Theres a lot to love about synthetic oil. However, while synthetic oil is generally considered the best for your car, the way its manufactured does make it more expensive.