Engine Oil Grades: Understanding which engine oil is the best for your car

How can you identify the correct engine oil grades?

Many times you must have come across engine oil grades like 15w50 and 20w40 .Basically, they are not just numbers or words and there is a science behind the naming. These are the grading scales given by the SAE whose full form is society of automotive engineers and they decide the grade of the oil and the name give to them and they provide new products or modify existing ones. A high viscous fluid will be thick whereas a low viscosity oil will be thin.

And with all the above definitions we can come to know that when the engine oil is cold inside the engine its highly adhesive and is very thick. And when you are driving the car and when it is in use it becomes less viscous and become thin. The moment you start your car the engine oil is very dense and once its started and running, it becomes fine as the friction induced heat.
Newer cars use lighter engine oil since the tolerances are so tight but you should still look it up and change it with the specific engine oil weight. If you go to Mobil’s website they have a great data base that you can use to see what’s the recommended oil for your car.

Know more about engine oil grades :

15W50, 5W30, 20W40, 10W30” – Let’s break it down and have a look at it.

As we all know, engine oil is graded keeping viscosity in purview which is notated with the familiar “XW-XX.” For instance, let’s take a closer look at 20W50.
Here 20 stands for the rating of the oil at 0-degree Fahrenheit (imperial) or – 17.8 degrees Celsius in metric. It means that the oil must have a specific maximum viscosity/flow at low temperature/ The “W” following the number stands for Winter (not weight).

The lower the “W” number, the better the oil’s cold temperature/cold start performance. The 50 in a 20W50 means that the oil must fall within certain viscosity limits at 100°C type high temperatures. Once again the lower the number, the thinner the engine oil: like a 30 oil is thinner than a 50 oil at 100°C etc. You may have also seen API scribed on to the bottle, which stands for American Petroleum Institute, the API rating of an engine oil covers the performance rating of the oil (e.g. SM for petrol, CF for diesel).
Similarly, ACEA is a European industry body up of European vehicle manufacturers. The ACEA rating of oil covers the performance rating of the oil (e.g. A3/B3, C3). JASO or Japanese Automotive Standards Organization is the grading system designed specifically for Motorcycle Engine Oil.

Types of engine oil grades :

  • Mineral engine oil
  • Semi-synthetic engine oil
  • Full synthetic engine oil

Mineral engine oil :

Mineral oils are directly derived from refined crude petroleum oil. During the process, natural contaminants and unwanted hydrocarbons are removed. However, mineral oils are thicker and flow through the engine circuit slowly, resulting in increased fuel consumption. This type of oil has been around as long as cars have been around, and it’s less expensive than synthetic engine oil.

It’s also more stable at higher and lower temperatures than mineral oil. Mineral oils are thicker and move more slowly (higher viscosity), and as such don’t provide as much protection as synthetic engine oil. Compared with mineral oil, synthetic oils also contains less impurities like hydrocarbons or contaminants.

Semi-synthetic engine oil :

Semi-Synthetic oil is a mixture of fully synthetic oil and conventional mineral oil. Semi-synthetic oil is more wallet-friendly than fully synthetic oil as it comes at a reduced cost whilst still giving you some of the benefits of full synthetic oil. And you can mix conventional oil with semi-synthetic oil. There’s no danger mixing synthetic and conventional motor oil. 

However, conventional oil will detract from the superior performance of synthetic oil and reduce its benefits. The most expensive synthetic brands can go up to 10,000 miles. With a semi-synthetic brand the figures are less impressive, however, the average change interval is in the vicinity of 3,000 – 5,000 miles. The thumbs down with semi-synthetic is that they do not offer the superior level of protection that a full synthetic does.


Fully synthetic engine oil :

Fully Synthetic engine Oils are made by engineering Mineral Oils at a molecular level. This rids the Engine Oil of impurities and makes the molecules more uniform in structure, which allows Fully Synthetic Oils to be used in the most challenging conditions, Motorsports and extreme climatic condition. synthetic oil is better for your engine than conventional oil. 

Although conventional oil (i.e., mineral oil) can provide adequate lubrication performance, it can’t compete with the overall engine performance and protection provided by synthetics. Conventional motor oil is refined from crude oil, while synthetic motor oil is man-made using chemical compounds designed to feature the best aspects of crude oil. As a result, synthetic oil features fewer contaminants, which leads to a lower risk of engine sludge and buildup. The fact is, every car can use synthetic oil. Synthetic oil ensures that internal parts are not operating under more friction than they should. 

Longevity: Synthetics are more resistant to breaking down than conventional motor oil or synthetic blends, resulting in longer protection for your engine’s moving parts. The science behind manufacturing synthetic motor oil is an expensive and painstaking one, which makes synthetic oil significantly costly which is its only drawback.

Which oil is good for your car?

A lower number is better before the W for cold-weather performance, so a 5W oil is typically what’s recommended for winter use. However, synthetic oils can be formulated to flow even more easily when cold, so they are able to pass tests that meet the 0W rating. And there is a synthetic blend oil which have a dose of synthetic oil mixed with
organic oil and are formulated to provide protection for somewhat heavier engine loads and high temperatures. This generally means they are less volatile, so they evaporate far less, which reduces oil loss and increases fuel economy. 

These oils are popular with drivers of pickups or SUVs who want extra protection for activities that put more stress on the engine, such as hauling heavy loads. They’re also much less expensive than full synthetics—sometimes just pennies more than a premium conventional oil. In practice, this means that each oil is just as viscous at lower temperatures and will remain viscous at -30°C, however 5w40 oil outperforms 5w30 oils at higher temperatures, being effective up to ambient temperatures of
50°C, as opposed to 30°C.

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