Engine oil is critical in our car’s daily operation. These lubricants are what make our engines perform smoothly and in a clean manner. Yet there are many of us who are still unaware of what makes a good engine oil and what we should do to keep our engines properly lubricated. That’s why Arai Katsuya, Managing Director of R&D from Motul, is here to make us understand the common concerns on engine oil.
First and foremost, why does a car need oil? Engines are built with are certain level of tight tolerances. Without oil, the moving parts of an engine, such as the crankshaft and the pistons will grind against each other. Not only will this sound unpleasant, but the lack of any form of lubrication is a surefire way to destroy your car’s engine.
There are also three types of oil viscosity to take note of. First is Kinematic Viscosity, which is related to oil pressure. The higher the viscosity, the higher the oil pressures it can sustain. There’s also High-temperature high-sheer-rate (HTHS) viscosity, which is meant for oil film thickness, and then the last one is the viscosity for oil being pumped under cold climates. While the last item probably won’t be that important in the Philippines, cars in colder climates need to have engine oil that won’t solidify in low temperatures.
One of the most common questions regarding engine oil is what’s the difference between a mineral, semi-synthetic, and fully-synthetic engine oil? While the three types of oils are also being marketed from low- to high-tier engine oils, fully-synthetic oil’s inherent advantage is that it’s been developed in such a way that every single element that could accelerate oxidation has been eliminated. Katsuya-san also adds that with Motul 300V and its ESTERcore technology, its oil film thickness is maintained whilst maximizing power output without compromising on reliability.
If you’re finally in the market for new engine oil, what should be your basis on what fits your car (or motorbike)? The common standard for good engine oil is that it should have the American Petroleum Institute (API) mark, which certifies that engine oil is of good quality and reliability. All Motul oils are API certified, but if you’re using your car or motorbike for racing, Motul 300V is recommended due to these oils being able to sustain heavy throttle inputs and hard accelerations. For the most part, however, any engine oil with the API certification is good enough for general use.
With most of Asia being humid, it’s better if your car isn’t stored in a garage for long periods of time. Humid air can condense into liquid water when the engine becomes very cold, and this can lead to contamination of the engine oil. Another severe condition that a car’s engine is subjected to in Asia is when vehicles are subjected to heavy loads or when towing heavy cargo. Thus, if your vehicle is subjected to such heavy loads, oil changes should be more frequent. For most car owners, however, the oil change will depend on the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Now, as we head into electrification, there’s an interesting concern that’s been raised by one of the media participants. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) have an electric motor that lets the car run on pure electric mode for certain distances, but since the combustion engine doesn’t run as much compared to a non-electrified vehicle, the oils of these engines are at higher risk of oxidation and sludge formation. Motul, however, has developed a range of engine oils specific to hybrids.
And these are pretty much what you need to know when it comes to engine oils. Remember that for an engine to function efficiently and smoothly, it also needs a good engine oil that offers optimum performance even under the harshest conditions.