Pick the right oil for the right engine
Oil is one of the most important ‘parts’ of an engine.
It reduces friction and wear, helps manage engine heat and protects against the effects of high temperatures and damaging contaminants. However, in the UK and across the European countries there is a trend towards downsized engines. These modern engines are placing greater demand on lubricants since they operate at higher pressures and temperatures, resulting in in increased friction and a requirement to keep the engine lubricated.
Why use synthetic oils?
Oil suppliers addressed the importance of keeping downsized engines lubricated by developing fully-synthetic oils. Synthetic oils help the engine deliver fuel efficiency with optimum levels of protection and performance – many engines must now use this type of oil to provide proper lubrication. Synthetic oils do not have the impurities found in mineral oils, which can cause the oil to break down at higher temperatures and can create a build-up of sludge in the engine. Mineral oils degrade more quickly than synthetic oils, making them unable to cope with extended drain intervals.
Synthetic oils provide protection to the engine across a far wider range of temperatures, up to the? engine’s maximum temperature and beyond. The lower viscosity helps to improve fuel efficiency (saving the consumer money when fuel prices are generally increasing) whilst offering greater protection. Additives in the oil, such as detergents, stop deposits forming in the engine and dispersants assist by stopping sludge build-up. The manufacturing process allows synthetic oils to be specifically designed to provide consistent, superior performance.
10W40 has taken a tumble (low viscosity oils are on the up)
Low viscosity oils have become standard for modern engines in recent years – 5W30 and 0W20 are currently among the most popular for new cars. The viscosity is an indicator of the basic differences between oil formulations - the lower the first number (5W), the thinner the oil will be when cold and the better the oil will flow around an engine. The greater the second number (30), the thicker the oil will be at higher temperatures in order to protect critical engine parts. Manufacturers are moving away from 10W40, instead recommending lower viscosities, such as 5W30 and 0W30. According to car manufacturers, the majority (55%) of the current UK car parc requires either 5W30 (36%) or 5W40 (19%). Only 24% of cars require 10W40 oil.*
Right oil, right car
It is important that workshops use the right oil for the right car. Oils that have gone through a manufacturer’s testing process and are marked as ‘approved’ will ensure the manufacturer’s warranty remains intact. Many car manufacturers have their own oil specifications, it is therefore important that workshops use the oils that meet manufacturers’ approval. Results from a YouGov survey commissioned by Castrol in 2011** found that 60% of UK drivers visiting a workshop consider their car manufacturer’s recommendation as one of their first criteria when it comes to selecting a brand of oil. Castrol ensures that all of its oils are fully ‘approved’ by car manufacturers, where other oils may say ‘meets specifications’ or that they are merely ‘suitable for use’. More car manufacturers recommend Castrol as the brand to go for.
* Source: Automotive Parts & Care, GFK Retail & Technology Ltd & DVLA, October 2012
** Source: YouGov Omnibus commissioned by Castrol, March 2011