What Type Of Engine Oil Is Good For Your Car

What type of engine oil is good for your car? As a car owner or potential car owner, this question should bother you. Yesterday, I changed my car’s oil for the first time since I got it. For someone who was always visiting the mechanic when I got my first car, I took the oil change seriously as the choice of oil is very important to maintain the efficiency of your engine. How then do you make a good choice of Engine oil for your car? Pay attention!!

Here is the Gist!!

When you buy a Tokunbo car, the engine runs like brand new, even though it’s likely over 10 years old. If you buy a 2006 Toyota Camry today, the engine inside it is already 15 years old, but still running fine, no issues. But three years in Nigeria, you begin to notice that the car smokes for a few seconds when you turn it on in the morning, then you just think it’s normal because the car don dey old. Car wey no old for the 15 years wey dem drive am for Yankee.

Here is the mistake most car owners make

Thing is, the first maintenance mistake many car owners make in Nigeria is choosing the right fluids for their car. I know a lot of people that kept complaining about the gearbox of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles, but they didn’t even know what type of gearbox their car uses. Many Nissan and Infiniti vehicles use Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), it drives like an automatic transmission but it isn’t the same.

But a lot of Nissan Murano owners were pouring Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) into their gearboxes, instead of the Nissan recommended CVT fluid.

Na so problem take start that year.

Now a very common mistake we are all making is thinking “oil na oil”, this is a fallacy.

What type of engine oil is good for your car?

The recommended engine oil for most cars driven in Nigeria is fully synthetic oil, only difference is the recommended viscosity. Your car manufacturer may recommend 5W-30 fully synthetic oil for your car, while another manufacturer will recommend 5W-20 for their own car. So are you using the right oil for your car engine? For starters, almost every oil you can get off the counter in Nigeria is bad for your car.

The oil you buy to service your car and use the remaining for your generator, that’s mineral oil, not full synthetic. The viscosity is 20W50, very far from what the manufacturer likely recommends for your car. If you do not know the type of oil your car manufacturer recommended, you can check your car manual.

Oil is not Oil…

Mineral oil leaves residues inside your car engine, these residues lead to sludge, the black substance that occupies the internals of your car engine.

The sludge build up over time, that’s why it can take over 3-4 years before you start noticing the signs from your engine. Synthetic oil on the other hand is manufactured in the factory to prevent the build up of sludge, it is lighter and cleans after itself as it contains detergents.

The tokunbo car you drive arrived with a clean engine because it was serviced with synthetic oil, not because they washed the engine before shipping to Nigeria.

If you loose out the car’s engine today, will it be clean enough to sell as “tokunbo engine” to someone else? That’s your clue.

I know people whose car engine can be resold as tokunbo and people will buy even when they know it ain’t tokunbo, because the engine is properly maintained.

So if you just bought a new car or you plan to buy a new car, now may be the time to start making the decision to service with a fully synthetic oil.

I’ve been using “fully synthetic” because there’s “semi synthetic” oil, a mixture of mineral and synthetic oil, that isn’t what I’m talking about.

What type of engine oil is good for your car?

It’s very easy to know the recommended oil for your car’s engine, it’s written inside the owner’s manual and sometimes at the top of your engine oil cap (image attached). In the image attached, you will see that the manufacturer recommended 5W-30 for this car.

The viscosity of an engine oil signifies the weight of that oil. The lower number is the oil’s cold start performance weight and the number after W describes how thick (weight) the oil is at the engine’s normal operating temperature. It has nothing to do with outside temperature or the environmental temperature as many belief. 5W30 does not mean it should be used in places with temperature ranging from 5°C to 30°C. No, it means that the viscosity of the engine oil at cold start is 5 and at the normal operating temperature of the engine it is 30. Viscosity means the state of being thick, sticky, and semi-fluid in consistency, due to internal friction of an engine. So using an oil with a rating of 20w50 is bad for your saloon cars like corolla and Honda as it is a heavy type of oil.

Some manufacturers go further to recommend a specific brand.

A general brand of fully synthetic oil you can stick to is “Mobil 1”, just get the recommended viscosity for car, whether it’s 0W-20, 5W-20 or 5W-30.

You can find Mobil 1 in many Mobil stations and top automobile shops, costs around 27k-32k per gallon last time I checked. If you cannot get Mobile 1, get any other good brand but make sure it is full synthetic 5W-30

Mobile One. Full Synthetic Oil
Hardex. A good alternative to mobile 1

Now there’s likely one question in your mind, “I’ve been using mineral oil in my car engine for a long time, can I switch to synthetic oil now?”

Please, stick to your mineral oil, but perform your oil changes in shorter intervals to reduce the rate at which sludge builds up. Remember I said synthetic oil contains detergents? If you use it in your engine that is filled with sludge, the synthetic oil will wash all that sludge into delicate parts of your engine, and your engine will KNOCK!

Had to write it in caps for emphasis.

Again, if you’ve been using mineral oil for a long time, do NOT change to synthetic oil now, it will damage your engine. But if you recently bought a new car, or you bought a new engine, then please only service your engine with the recommended fully synthetic oil.

Do you love this, you can read some of my thoughts here

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