We invest a lot of money in our automobiles, so maintaining them properly is crucial and ultimately more cost-effective. The most crucial thing you can do to extend the life of your automobile and improve your driving experience and safety, in addition to periodic maintenance, is to choose the proper motor oil during an oil change.
Effectively, motor oil is the lifeblood of your car’s engine; it keeps it running smoothly. Simple enough, motor oil protects your car’s engine by serving as a lubricant and avoiding or lowering heat and friction.
Given the significance of motor oil, it should go without saying that you should replace your oil according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. However, what happens if you use the incorrect motor oil in your engine? We’ll look at the possible harm that using the incorrect engine oil may bring to your automobile in today’s blog.
The car won’t start in cold engine
The “viscosity” of engine oil, indicated by a number and the symbol “W,” describes how freely oil flows at a certain temperature. The oil is thinner the lower the number.
Because it is thinner, motor oil with a lower viscosity, like 5W-20, flows better than oil with a greater viscosity, like 20W-50, which is considerably thicker. This implies that if your vehicle’s engine’s motor oil is too thick, it won’t be able to adequately lubricate the engine’s parts, which will result in more resistance when you start the car.
In other words, if you use motor oil with the incorrect viscosity, your vehicle will likely start slowly or not at all in subfreezing weather. This is obviously quite annoying and might potentially endanger your life in an emergency.
Lower viscosity motor oil begins to degrade in excessively hot weather, similar to how higher viscosity motor oil struggles in cooler climes. It ultimately suffers from a loss of cohesive strength and is unable to adequately lubricate all moving components.
Motor oil “burns” as a consequence of excessive metal-metal contact (which explains the smell). The engine of your automobile might potentially suffer long-term damage from the burning oil, which would be incredibly costly to repair.
Even though synthetic and conventional motor oils have the same viscosity ratios, oil leaks might develop if synthetic oil is used in place of traditional motor oil in an older or higher usage vehicle. This is because synthetic motor oils may “squeeze” through narrow openings more easily than normal motor oils owing to their distinct flow properties. Even while such oil leaks are undoubtedly not harmful, they could make you go to the gas station more often.
Another significant issue arises when using synthetic motor oil in place of traditional motor oil in an older or high mileage vehicle. It may increase the noise level of your automobile, which is often loudest immediately after starting. This is due to the fact that synthetic motor oil slides into engine clearance more rapidly than traditional motor oil, as we indicated previously.
The total fuel economy of your automobile is also decreased when you use motor oil with a greater viscosity (oil that is excessively thick). This is because motor oil has a stronger barrier to damaging essential metal parts like pistons the thicker it is.
What happens when a thicker oil is added to a thinner oil (or the other way around)?
Reiterating earlier, your car’s engine won’t be harmed if you unintentionally mix thicker and thinner motor oil (at least not the first time). It will, however, undoubtedly move you a bit further from the oil viscosity (or thickness) that the automaker advises, and that is not good.
Lowered fuel efficiency
Low viscosity lubricants may cause engine noise and other issues, but too thick oils may cause a variety of issues, including poor performance. A rapid decline in fuel efficiency following an oil change may indicate that the incorrect oil was used, even though the decrease in engine output associated with too-thick motor oil might be difficult to notice.
Engine Life is Reduced
Too much motor oil will prevent it from flowing into places where thinner oil would. When this occurs, the ensuing metal-on-metal contact will begin destroying engine components. Conversely, oil that is excessively thin could not have the necessary shear resistance for your engine. This might result in lower oil pressure and metal-on-metal contact. In conclusion, using the incorrect oil might lead to less lubrication and a shorter engine life.
“Check Oil” Light
When the oil light on your car’s dashboard illuminates, there is likely an issue that has to be fixed right away. Even if you use the proper oil, it may eventually lose its efficiency due to prolonged heat exposure or the presence of pollutants that might be present in the system. This is why it’s crucial to check your oil level periodically and to get your oil changed at regular intervals.
What happens if you combine several oil brands?
While it is not advised to mix different motor oil brands (such as Valvoline, Castrol, Total, or Mobil 1), your engine won’t be harmed. Maintaining the same oil viscosity as advised by the automobile manufacturer is significantly more crucial.
There is virtually nothing to worry about if you mistakenly mix synthetic and traditional motor oil. The only reason you may want to avoid doing this is because synthetic motor oil is pricey, and when you combine the two kinds, you simply aren’t receiving the advantages of the refined, distilled, and purified synthetic oil since the regular oil is undermining those advantages.
Consult your owner’s handbook if you are still unsure about the sort of motor oil you need to use. The finest source of information to choose the optimal motor oil type for your automobile may be the manufacturer of your vehicle.