Amongst the many aspects involving a healthy life for your vehicle, the most important factor will always be the engine oil. The engine oil is responsible for the lubrication of various moving and non-moving parts of the engine. It ensures the smooth and frictionless running of all the components which results in lower engine temperatures and lesser wear and tears also significantly lowering the chance of an engine failure.
Most vehicle owners have adapted to some not-so-relevant myths about the use and knowledge of engine oils. It’s time we busted some of the more common myths about engine oils.
Myth #1 The “W” in ‘10W30’ stands for weight.
Engine oils come in different grades and temperature ratings for different vehicles and conditions. The numbers in the more common multigrade oil rating indicate the viscosity a.k.a the thickness of the oil. Higher the number, the thicker the oil. The correct grade oil will neither be too thick like sludge nor too thin like water. The “W” in the grade stands for the winter and the “10W” denotes the winter rating of the given oil.
Myth #2 Oil should be changed every 5000 KMS.
Although this used to be true for older vehicles using older grade oils, this is no longer the case. With time and a lot of science, engines and engine oils have improved significantly. Vehicle manufacturers require owners to now change their oil at much longer intervals. The new average interval is between 10000 – 25000 km. The most reliable way to check for your vehicle is to look at your vehicle’s maintenance manuals.
Myth #3 Synthetic oils can wear down seals and cause leaks.
When synthetic oils were first introduced they weren’t perfect and sometimes caused the gasket to wear down thus causing engine leaks. With improved technology and better oil quality, the newer synthetic oils are engineered to reduce friction and improve the life of the engine components, much more than earlier used “mineral oils”.
Myth #4 My engine will benefit from supplemental additives.
Most synthetic engine oils are engineered with supplemental additives that improve engine life and improve engine performance. Adding additives are not only unnecessary but may also dilute the additives present in the oils and may hamper the viscosity of the oil. Usually unlikely, it is always safe to check your owner manual if any additives do need to be added.
Myth #5 Once you use synthetic oil, you can’t switch back to conventional oil.
Switching between conventional mineral oil and synthetic oil will not damage the engine of your vehicle as long as the oil grade matches the grade mentioned in the owner’s manual. In fact, some semi-synthetic oils are a blend of synthetic and conventional mineral oils.
A lot of the above-mentioned myths are passed on information from mechanics or owners of older vehicles and most certainly don’t apply to new vehicles or engines that use synthetic oils. It is also a good practice to read up on the various oils that apply to your vehicle and when in doubt it is safest to check with the manufacturer of the vehicle.