What is motor oil?
Oil is a lubricant with principal aim to keep apart moving components by a mechanical transmission. Without lubricant the motor would seize up with all the consequences. A lubricant is composed of a combination of base oil and additives. Base oil is the principal ingredient of the motor oil. It takes care of the viscosity (fluidity : see later). Additives are materials who are added to the base oil. They act as follows : they improve the lubricating capacity of the base oil, they extend the life of the base oil and guarantee the quality of the lubricant.
In the course of time the active part of additives is getting continuously greater. This evolution is the result of continuously higher requirements imposed on the motors.
What does motor oil do?
It reduces friction and prevents wear by putting a lubricant film between the moving components. It prevents the deposit of sludge on the surface of the motor by keeping these unwanted products finely dispersed in the oil. It cools off the moving components of the motor and removes the excess heat. The motor oil plays an important part in the functioning and life of the engine. From a good quality oil the consumer can expect an optimum lubrication whatever the circumstances. A quality oil equals at least the requirements for modern gasoline and diesel motors. The manufacturer of quality oil will do the best he can to offer the most complete selection of motor oils. This way the consumer will easily find the appropriate motor oil for his type of engine.
How did motor oil develop?
The technical improvements of the motors ask better performances of the motor oil. These improvements have led to different motor types : high speed diesel engines ; direct-injection engines ; turbo-motors. Through development of different types of motors and consequently high requirements of the manufacturers the composition of the motor oil has upgraded. At present, better, more and other additives are added to the base oil with result that the life span of the motor oil is extended whilst keeping optimum performance. This allows longer drain intervals. Further more, a larger proportion of detergent-additives in these oils provide a better cleaning result. The emission of harmful gases decreases substantially with the latest generation of motor oil. The introduction of ecological fuel (unleaded gas and low sulphur diesel) has accelerate this evolution. Look out! When one talks about longer drain intervals, this in only applicable for the latest generation of cars. Therefore is it always useful to read the maintenance schedule provided by the constructor .
What is the difference between mineral and synthetic oil?
Mineral oil is coming from the distillation of crude oil. Synthetic oil is the result of a petrochemical process. Mineral oil is an excellent oil for normal, general use in vehicles under certain conditions and circumstances.
The advantages of synthetic oil can be summarized as follows :
- They guarantee an optimum lubrication, even in extreme conditions.
- They improve the cold start of the engine by a better fluidity at low ambient temperatures.
- They have a are better resistance against high temperatures in the engine.
- They keep their properties much longer than mineral oils, what makes them ideal to obtain longer drain intervals.
- There are two classes of synthetic oils : semi-synthetic and full synthetic oils
Can a mineral oil be mixed with a synthetic oil?
Yes. It can happen that different oils are mixed together. Unintentionally, without noticing. Or by necessity when the chosen oil is not available at that moment. However, there is absolutely no danger for damage when a mineral oil is mixed with a synthetic oil, provided that the quality is the same. The reason for this is that the different components of these oils are compatible with each other. Also, motor oils of different viscosities can be mixed.
However it is still preferable not to mix mineral and synthetic oil. The same applies for motor oils of different viscosities. Such mixtures can have a bad influence on the performances of the engine
What is the link between viscosity and quality of the oil?
The viscosity and quality are indicated on each label. These are the two most important elements. The letters SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) come in front of the indication of viscosity. The quality is mainly indicated by API and/or ACEA. API means American Petroleum Institute and ACEA means Association des Constructeurs Europeens Automobile. The SAE indication is composed of a number, a W and a number. Example : SAE 15W40. The W stands for winter. The number before the W indicates the fluidity of the oil at cold starting. The number after the W indicates the fluidity at working temperature. How lower the number, how more fluid the oil. How higher the number, how thicker the oil. How more fluid the oil, how quicker all parts of the motor get lubricated. The result of this is that all inner parts of the motor are protected instantanuousely. The API quality indication is composed by two groups of letters. Example : SM/CF. The first group of characters always starts with an S. This S stands for gasoline motors. The C from the second group of characters stands for diesel motors. The second letter indicates in both cases the quality standard according to the technological evolution. The most recent specifications are SM and CI-4. How further the letter in the alphabet Ð after the S or the C Ð the higher the quality of the product. The properties are always progressive. A lower classified oil can never replace a higher classified oil, well the other way round.
What type of oil can I use for the motor?
It is advised to consult the maintenance booklet of the constructor. The recommended quality and viscosity are prescribed by the constructor. The choice of the viscosity is established by the outside working temperatures and to a lesser degree by the utilization. Example :
- 5W40 for temperatures above-25°C
- 10W40 for temperatures above -20°C
- 15W40 for temperatures above -15°C
- SAE 40 for temperatures above 30°C
What is the difference between oil for a car and oil for a motorbike?
There is an essential difference between oil for a car and oil for a motorbike. Through the mechanical differences between car and motorbike on the level of the clutch it is essential to use other oil formulations. This has to do with the additives who prevent the slipping of the clutch.
Do synthetic oils give more performances to the motor?
A lot of people underestimate the importance of the lubrication of the smallest parts of the inside of the motor. How quicker the oil gets in these smallest and inaccessible parts, how better the lubrication and as a result how better the protection of the engine. Tiny damage occurs shortly after starting up, when all the oil is still in the crankcase. It takes a few rotations before the oil circulates well in the motor block. Wear is the result of the accumulation of these small wear particles. The small damages which occur at starting up must absolutely be reduced to the minimum. How more liquid the oil, how quicker the lubrication gets in all parts of the engine.It is now precisely the synthetic oil, which through its high fluidity capacity arrives quickly into the smallest and not accessible parts of the motor block. Synthetic oils provide far a better protection of the engine. Look out ! This principle is only applicable for the most modern engine types.
Is it reality that I will use less fuel with synthetic motor oils?
Yes. By the lower viscosity at cold starting, the friction in the motor is considerably less. The smaller friction gives a saving effect on the fuel.
What kind of additives are there on the market?
There are three kinds of preventive additives : motor oil additives, fuel additives and maintenance additives. All these products are developed for a better performance and longer life span of the motor.
What is an additive for motor oil?
The word explains itself ; a motor oil additive is a product added to the motor oil. These additives can be added two ways. When they are added during production, they are part of the original formulation of the oil. The motorist himself can also add extra additives. We insist however that a good motor oil, by normal use and regular required oil drains, needs in fact no extra oil additives. In specific cases it can be useful to deviate from this rule.
What does a motor oil additive do?
Motor oil additives not only improve the performance of the motor. They have also other favorable results. As first example we take a product that prevents oil leaks. This product stops oil leaks of the motor block without disassembling. It restores the elasticity of the packing and extends the life span of the packing. Besides there also exists inner cleaning products for the motor. They all have their specific action. So, a product for single cleaning exists. This cleaning product is added to the motor oil just before the replacement of the oil. It takes care of a complete cleaning of the motor and the crankcase. Through this, it increases the power of the motor and reduces the fuel consumption. These products are known as motor flush.
What is a fuel additive?
Fuel additives are additions which generate an optimum combustion. They provide for : cleaning, lubrication and protection of the injection system ; reduction of deposits on the valves and cylinder heads ; reduction of smoke emanation ; they reduce fuel consumption. Through this an optimum performance of the motor is achieved. With direct injection the contamination of the injectors is greater. A cleaning through a fuel additive is then necessary.
How are fuel additive classified?
The fuel additives are classified following the type of fuel.
A gasoline-additive cleans, lubricates and protects the injectors, the valves and cylinder heads of the gasoline engine. The product increases the performance and extends the life span of the motor. It lowers the fuel consumption and reduces the noxious exhaust gases. This product is known as multi-cleaner. The diesel version cleans, lubricates and protects the injectors, the valves and cylinder heads. This product raises the performance and the life span of the diesel motor. The cleaning product for diesel motors is also known as diesel multi cleaner. The anti-smoke product has been specially developed for diesel motors. It reduces the smoke emission considerably. It protects the engine. It has also an effect on the environmental protection. It reduces the diesel consumption.
What are maintenance additives?
Maintenance additives are additions that perform elsewhere as in the motor oil and in the fuel. Example : – Maintenance products for cooling system.
What does a maintenance additive do?
The cooling system of a motor uses coolant to cool the motor. The coolant has however other functions : it lubricates the water system, prevents freezing and helps transport the heat of the motor.
To function in the optimum way, it is not only the coolant which has to be changed regularly ; also the radiator needs a regular cleaning. By adding special maintenance products (often described as ‘radiator flush’) the whole cooling system will be kept in optimum condition. Moreover, this product neutralizes any rust and other impurities that are present.Special products against leakage of the radiator exist. These products are also added to the coolant. They stop every leak in the cooling and are known as ‘radiator leak stop’.
What happens when you go beyond the oil drain periods?
The additives are less or not active anymore. The contamination of the oil is now too important so that the oil can’t control it and no optimum lubrication takes place. The dirty particles can’t be kept in suspension anymore. They are deposited in the engine. The viscosity increases, in cold as well as in operating temperature. Oil consumption may occur. Oxidation increases and the risk for corrosion gets higher. All these factors affect the protection and the life span of the motor in a negative way.
What is the importance of the price in relation with the quality?
A parallel is only possible by identical API/ACEA norms, type of oil (mineral, semi-synthetic, synthetic), viscosity and constructor standards. With this information the consumer decides on the ratio for best price/quality.
How do I protect the motor of my vehicle optimally?
People sometimes invest a lot of money in transportation equiped with the necessary options. When it comes to maintenance, how peculiar it sounds, the cheapest and nearly always the worst solution is choosen. These false savings lead often to higher costs. A cheap buy is seldom a good one !
The next six tips help to protect the investment :
- Don’t save on the oil drain periods.
- Choose the right oil for your vehicle.
- Follow the regular car services.
- The price of a few liters oil have no importance compared to the price of an engine.
- Check the oil gauge regularly.
- Change the coolant and the brake fluid every two years
Where can I get the advice I need?
Good and reliable advice is mostly given by the specialized trader who is supported by the manufacturer/supplier. Under specialized trader, following enterprises are understood : autoparts shops, garages, retail business, do-it-yourself business. It is obvious that the brands produced by Alpha Oils™ are easily accessible for technical support from the manufacturer.