Putting the wrong oil in car refers to having motor oil whose properties don’t match the engine’s requirements. The different types of engine oil are suitable for different cars because of their unique characteristics in relation to oil viscosity and oil additives.
Choosing the right oil can be tiresome because there are a variety of them on the shelves. It is advisable for you to read the directions on the oil’s container before picking one off the shelves.
Oil characteristics and function levels are unique for each engine. For example, lubrication levels, protection and viscosity levels.
Common engine problems caused by using the wrong oil.
The best oil for petrol cars won’t be the same as the oil for diesel cars. Hence the need to check your owners manual before adding oil to your engine during car maintenance.
It is important to know the oil viscosity grade for the oil that you use in your engine. For example, 5W-30, 15W-40, 10W-30 amongst others. Some oil grades are suitable for cold weather while others function better in hot climates.
Therefore, when you use the wrong oil, you should expect the following consequences.
a]. Oil leakage.
Older engines made in earlier years should not use synthetic oil. Instead, they should use conventional oil. This also applies to car engines that have a high mileage.
Because the synthetic oil viscosity is light and this allows it to pass through tighter engine parts connections. However, the conventional oil is slightly less viscous hence it will function better.
Substituting conventional oil with synthetic oil in such occasions may not cause damage. However, you will notice oil puddles under your car whenever you park it.
Further, a burning stench of oil will occasionally ooze into the cabin while you drive. In such a case you will perform some investigations as to the cause of oil leakage to ensure there are no underlying issues.
Pay extra attention to the oil levels when you’re facing an oil leak. Ensure you undertake regular oil refills to avoid engine problems caused by low oil levels.
b]. Burning smell.
If the oil you have used is unable to perform its lubrication function, then there will be an increase in friction. This friction will lead to a burning smell in the vehicle.
High viscosity oil doesn’t perform well in cold weather while low viscosity oil performs poorly in hot climate. Therefore using the wrong oil in either of the weather conditions will reduce the lubrication. Additionally, it will cause the oil’s properties to brake down. Hence preventing proper oil functions.
Further, the wrong oil in car could ooze through parts like the seals and pipes. If this oil falls onto hot engine parts, it will burn and produce a bad smell.
c]. Poor fuel economy.
The right oil helps the engine to perform the power output function as per the driver’s expectations. However, using the wrong oil will cause the engine to struggle.
Though they will be protected, moving engine parts like the pistons will struggle. Especially when you use oil with low viscosity. Therefore you will notice that you’re refilling the fuel tank more times than usual.
d]. Engine noises.
Engine noises can be heard due to a heightened level of friction between the moving engine parts. This happens when you use oil that is poor at coating and lubricating those parts.
This issue is noticeable when you start the engine as it is warming up. The oil slowly flows over the car engine parts and then the noise reduces and disappears after a while.
e]. Vehicle doesn’t start in cold weather.
Car engine oil viscosity is depicted by the number which follows the letter W for Winter. The lower the number, the higher the viscosity during cold weather.
If the oil has a thick viscosity, for example 20W, it will cause the oil pump to struggle during a cold engine start. This cause the engine to have resistance when you try to start it under cold weather.
How to choose the right motor oil for your car.
There are a few precautions that you can take in order to ensure that you choose the right type of oil for your vehicle.
- Check the owner’s manual. It contains the manufacturer’s recommended oil type and viscosity. This will prevent oil wear.
- Go for reputable oil brands. The best oil brands produce oil which meets the set quality standards.
- Consider your driving habits. This will also include the atmospheric conditions under which you live. It will determine whether you go for high or low viscosity oils.
- Consider the age of your vehicle’s engine. Older engines need oil which is less viscous because of these engines require a unique oil flow. Further, there are oils that are specifically made for high mileage engines.
- Oil viscosity rating. Read the oil container to see the marking that have a letter W in order to know the oil’s viscosity. Whereby the lesser the number in front of the W, the higher the oil flow capacity and the higher the number, the lower the viscosity.
The importance of regular oil changes.
Changing the oil involves removing the existing oil in the oil pan through an oil drain plug. You don’t have to wait for extreme oil contamination levels before you undertake an oil change. Additionally, a change of the oil filter should also be done during an oil change.
The following are some of the reasons why it’s important to perform regular oil changes.
a]. Engine protection and lubrication.
The engine needs oil for the purpose of lubricating the moving parts. This reduces friction and prevents costly engine damage. Further, the oil forms a protective coat over the engine parts for protection against dirt and metallic particles. These particle are carried away by the oil to the oil filter in order to clean the engine.
b]. Fuel efficiency.
A well oiled engine will pose less resistance during functionality. This will help to improve fuel efficiency because the engine will not struggle to produce power. It is one of the ways of reducing fuel consumption.
Further, the oil change will prevent leakage into the combustion chamber. This will ensure that there is less pollution by reducing emissions that result from poorly burnt fuel.
c]. Better engine performance.
Better engine performance as a result of engine oil is seen whereby the engine moving parts like pistons will face less resistance when the engine is running. Further, fresh oil reduces friction hence preventing chances of an overheated engine.
d]. Hinderance of unforeseen problems.
Undertaking regular engine oil changes will help to identify areas that had trouble before something bad happens. For example it can fix broken seals, removal of clogged oil filters and repair of broken valves.
Engine oil life span.
The engine oil lifespan varies depending on various factors that we are going to list below. Conventional oil has properties that can sustain functionality for 3000 miles to 5000 miles. However, synthetic oil maintains its properties for up to 15000 miles depending on the type of oil brand.
Some of the factors affecting engine oil lifespan are inclusive of;
a]. Type of oil.
There are a number different oils. For example, conventional oil, semi-synthetic oil and full-synthetic oil. Their oil analysis indicates that they all have varying properties and oil additives. This is what makes the difference amongst them and how long they last.
b]. Driving conditions.
These are the atmospheric conditions under which the driver is driving. Because extreme temperatures interfere with the engine oil’s chemical properties. Some oil properties will degrade under certain conditions. Hence reducing the oil’s lifespan.
c]. Engine age.
Some engines that have high mileage will require more frequent oil changes. Because these high mileage engines have worn out parts which cause engine oil leakage. Further, these old engines tend to have more oil contaminants than the low mileage engines.
d]. Manufacturer’s recommended time range.
When you refer to the owner’s manual, you will notice that the vehicle manufacturer has recommended the number of miles after which you change oil. Further, manufacturers know the type of oil the engine will use up to a specific number of miles.