Engine oil: Which One to Choose and How it Works – 2024 Guide

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The oil engine is the fluid responsible for maintaining refrigerated all moving parts involved in the combustion process and operation of the engine of our vehicle. So that missing engine oil, the block will inevitably melt within a few seconds – it would get a cold – due to lack of lubrication given the high operating temperatures and high levels of friction between parts that are produced.

The oil is responsible for keeping the engine properly lubricated and in an optimum temperature range for its operation. For this reason, it is essential to carry out proper maintenance and change the oil after a mileage marked by the car manufacturer or, failing that, after one year of use.

Likewise, it is also advisable to periodically check the oil level in the engine and choose the best oil for our car. This must be complemented with proper maintenance of the oil filter, which is responsible for filtering the lubricant and removing metallic particles and impurities that occur during the operation of the mechanics from the circulation.

Oil cycle in the car engine

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As AUTODOC has just mentioned, the engine oil is distributed throughout all the parts of the block to lubricate them, thereby minimizing the friction that occurs between the various parts and, in turn, cools them. When we start the engine, the process of circulation of oil through the car engine begins.

The oil begins its journey in the lower part of the engine block and, thanks to the effort of the oil pump -variable in this case-, it is transported by the parts that require its presence. In practice, we can say that the oil is distributed by any recess of the engine, making a complete, long and continuous journey – hence the importance of its filtration and its constant replacement.

When we fill the oil tank of our car, it is deposited at the bottom of the engine – in the oil pan, to be more exact. Upon contact and starting the engine, the lubrication and pumping system immediately starts spraying all the oil parts to preserve the internal parts from friction, friction, and overheating.

A circuit that is very similar to a cooling circuit takes the filtered oil to the moving parts of the engine, spraying the inside of the cylinders on the crankshaft. Once everything is completely lubricated, the tour ends at the bottom of the engine, where again, the oil is filtered and aspirated by the pump, and everything starts again.

Types of oil: Mineral or synthetic?

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Essentially we can find two types of oil for our vehicle: synthetic and mineral. Each engine has specifications, so in some cases, one type of oil is more recommended than another. Also, within each class, autodoc find multiple varieties that differ mainly in viscosity and other parameters. And speaking of which, if you are not sure, you can check here the type of engine oil for different car brands.

The basic thing is that we must use the oil recommended by the manufacturer to avoid problems. That means that we must adhere to the viscosity standard (SAE) of the oil that our specific engine requires. It is expressed in “fluidity / viscosity” . For example, a 5W-30 oil is an oil with a relatively low fluidity index.

The number 30 indicates the viscosity of the oil at the temperature that the engine will operate. In other words, it is what protects the block when we ride at cruising speed, that is when the engine is hot. These two indicators (5W and 30 ), inform us about how the oil will respond when the car is cold and how it evolves as the temperature increases to the optimum operating point.

What is the API of engine oil, and how does it read?

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The API is a standard indicator of oil quality that describes it by two consecutive letters. The first indicates the type of engine to which it is intended, basically gasoline (S) or diesel (C). The second indicates quality and, as more advanced in the alphabet, the higher the quality. Be careful because this is important, and oil with a wrong API marker can damage the engine.

Depending on whether the car is gasoline or diesel, there are several levels of quality that can tell us for which cars the oil is recommended, as well as if the oil can damage our engine.

What happens if we don’t follow the recommendations and change to another oil?

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Nothing serious has to happen, but we are turning a deaf ear to what the engine manufacturer recommends, so we always run the risk of getting ready. Sometimes we sin suspiciously, thinking that car brands sell us the “friend” oil, but nothing is further from reality, it is the oil that optimizes performance just as the engine works.

As a general rule, if we choose an oil that presents better fluidity at low temperatures, we will facilitate starting except in those cases where the car is many years and kilometers away, for example. Engines with a lot of age have slacks, so we run the risk that the most fluid oil will leak where it should not be consumed (burned), thereby emitting a characteristic blue smoke.

On the contrary, if the car is new and we use oil with too much viscosity, it will take longer to reach all the recesses, and we will not be lubricating the engine so well at the start. Every car, every engine, and every moment have oil that gives an optimum performance, so it is always better to rely on specialists.

What happens if we mix oils?

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In general terms, nothing serious has to happen. What we have to take into account is that the safest thing is that we find ourselves with a non-optimal viscosity. If at any given time we have an emergency: we are running out of oil, and we must refill the tank, it is advisable to try to do it with an oil of the same viscosity characteristics.

If not, the mixture of oils will result in one of the different viscosity. At this point, if we put more oil with better viscosity, the resulting will be somewhat better; if we add lubricant with worse characteristics, it will lower the “average.” What will be safe is not optimal: it will not be the viscosity that the manufacturer of the engine marks, therefore we will never be free of breakdowns.

Conclusion: We must bear in mind that we may need to adapt the viscosity depending on the conditions of use of the vehicle, the environment, and the climatic conditions, but that we cannot decide on our own (at least not in most cases). In these cases, it is advisable to consult with a specialist before doing experiments.