Changing you own oil is quite easy and can save you a lot of money, but choosing the right oil for your vehicle is really important.
You need to get the type of oil and the letters and numbers on the bottle right. The best place to start is by checking the manufacturer’s specifications for your vehicle. But it helps if you know what the stuff actually does.
The main purpose of motor oil is to stop metal parts from actually contacting one another. When they do, you get friction and wear. The friction generates heat, which can warp and distort parts.
Motor oil acts to:
- Reduce friction
- Allow for easy starting
- Cool moving parts by dispersing heat
- Keep engine surfaces clean
- Prevent rust and corrosion.
- A key characteristic of how oil does its job is viscosity – the thicker the oil, the higher the viscosity.
Thinner is oils move around components more easily, especially at start up. Thicker oils provide better protection at high temperatures, but because the engine has to work harder to move oil around the components, there’s a cost in higher fuel consumption.
Multigrade oil works at both ends of the scale, giving you better overall protection than a single grade oil.
This is where we come to the letters and numbers.
For example, SAE 10W30:
- SAE – a standard rating determined by the Society of Automotive Engineers. There are also other standards that are becoming common.
- Number before the ‘W’ – refers to the viscosity of the oil in colder conditions
- Number after the ‘W’ – viscosity at normal operating temperature, approximately 100 degrees centigrade
Types of Oil: There are mineral based oils, synthetic oils and a mixture of the two. Synthetics are better because they handle demanding conditions for longer without breaking down.
Additives: There will be a range of additives in the oil. They do various jobs like suspending contaminants, keeping parts clean and inhibiting corrosion.
Whatever type of oil you use, you WILL need to change it. They all pick up contaminants, break down over time and consequently not protecting your engine.
How often you change your oil depends on your vehicle, so check the manufacturer’s recommendation, and also the type of driving you do. If you drive under severe conditions, you might need to change your oil more often.
Severe conditions are when:
- Cars generally travel less than 12km per journey
- When oil is not regularly topped up
- When the car operates under stop start conditions
- When you’re pulling heavy loads such as caravans
- If the engine is heavily modified, see’s regular track days or drag strip outings
- For most people, normal city driving would actually qualify as severe – which means you do need good quality oil.
Supercheap Auto stocks just about every type of oil in existence and every tool you need to do the job.
Visit your local Supercheap Auto oil section today to save some money and your engine.
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