In the digital age, finding information can be easy. However, finding the right information can be relatively tricky. Here we have put together the 19 engine oil myths and facts you need to know about motor oil, so you now have the right information.
19 Myths About Engine Oil
1. Thicker Oil Is Better:
It can be perfect on old cars. In recent model vehicles, it is recommended to follow the specific indications established for each engine.
2. The Oils Are All The Same:
A good way to demystify the oils is to know that they are not all the same and that putting just any oil is not the same. Broadly speaking, we can differentiate oils by their bases (mineral, synthetic or semi-synthetic), by their viscosities (5W-30, 10W-40, 15W-40, etc.), by their standards and approvals (API, ACEA, specific manufacturers, etc.), due to its sulfated ash content (low/high SAPS), among other categories. Each oil can be classified in each of these fields, with fundamental differences in performance.
3. Synthetic oil washes the engine:
This well-known myth is also false. We must remember that the difference between a synthetic and a mineral is the base used in the formulation. The additives added to the base may differ in each case, but they always contain detergent additives, whose function is to clean and keep the engine clean.
The synthetic base does not have more excellent solvency than the mineral one, so it is not a precursor of a “wash”. On the other hand, detergents present in both types of oils do not work abruptly but progressively.
It is essential to mention that synthetic oils tend to have a lower viscosity than minerals, which must be taken into account when selecting a product. If we change the oil, for example, from mineral 15W-40 to synthetic 5W-30, and then we notice an increase in oil consumption, it is clear that it is due to the lower viscosity and not a loss of compression due to a supposed wash.
It is recommended to respect the viscosity suggested by the user manual.
4. The New Oil Is Not Good When Checking The Car:
It is not harmful to check the car with new oil. However, it is recommended to change it a couple of weeks in advance to allow the engine to adjust to the fluid and start burning.
5. It Is Not Necessary To Change The Oil, Just Completing The Level Is Fine:
It is always necessary to change the oil within the interval proposed by the vehicle manufacturer. While it is true that filling the crankcase level partly refreshes the oil and improves its properties, it is not enough to avoid the tendency to degradation.
Sooner or later, the oil reaches damning values where it can no longer ensure proper protection due to acidity, oxidation, high content of wear metals, or fuel dilution, among other factors. This is precisely what the limit proposed in the user manual tries to reflect.
6. It Is Convenient To Use Additional Additives For Shell Helix Oil:
Shell has spent many years and resources dedicated to researching current formulations, optimizing each of their parameters. We do not recommend adding external additives to Shell Helix oils to avoid unbalanced formulations and keep engine manufacturer approvals or current standards.
7. Synthetic Oils Affect The Seals And Generate Leaks:
Oil manufacturers have for years been successful in reformulating synthetic oils so that no spillage or dripping occurs. At the same time, it can indeed happen in very old cars that always used conventional oils.
8. Synthetic Oils Are Only For High-End Cars:
This myth is quickly dispelled by looking at user manuals. Even for base models, vehicle manufacturers recommend synthetic oils, generally in viscosity 5W-30. This has to do with the new small engines incorporating high technology to reduce consumption and emissions. The concept is called downsizing, that is, low-displacement, high-power engines.
9. Synthetic Oils Are Not Compatible With Old Vehicles.
Conversely, oils of this type increase lubrication and lower engine temperature, making them ideal for older cars or trucks.
10. Synthetic Oil Should Not Be Used When The Engine Is Using Mineral Because It Can Be Cut:
This myth differs from the previous one because it emphasizes the compatibility between the oils beyond the performance of each one. Mineral and synthetic motor oils are perfectly compatible. The most evident fact that proves it is semi-synthetic oils that mix mineral and synthetic bases from the factory.
The recommendation not to mix different types of oils in the crankcase is valid in the sense of trying to maintain a homogeneous crankcase to make the most of the benefits of each oil, with the appropriate standards and in the appropriate viscosity.
However, in the event of having to top up the level with another type of oil, for example, in an emergency,
11. Engines With More Than 150,000 Km Must Use High Viscosity Oils:
As a general answer, we can say that it is not necessary to increase the oil’s viscosity just because an engine has 150,000 km of run.
There are cases where these kilometers are widely exceeded, with the same viscosity recommended by the factory and without any inconvenience. To reach these conditions, proper maintenance is necessary, sustained throughout the life of the vehicle, in addition to its proper use.
Only in cases of excessive oil consumption, be it due to high mileage, extremely demanding use and wear, it may be advisable to use higher viscosity oils.
We must remember in no way this solves the mechanical wear but only reduces the symptom, that is, the oil consumption.
12. When Changing The Oil, It Is Not Necessary To Replace The Filters.
It is recommended to change them because this prevents the oil from being contaminated with dirt particles trapped in the filter.
13. Diesel And Gasoline Trucks Use The Same Type Of Oil.
Diesel engines generally have a higher viscosity compared to gasoline engines. In cold climates, it is more difficult for the gasoline engine to pump the thicker oil properly. In addition to this, diesel oils have a higher concentration of additives that affect the parts of gasoline engines.
14. Synthetic Oil Should Not Be Used If The Car Has A Catalytic Converter.
On the contrary, if this type of oil is used, the catalytic converter will last longer and work more efficiently. Due to its low volatility, less oil reaches the combustion chambers via the crankcase ventilation. This reduces the risk of burning oil ash deactivating the catalyst matrix.
15. Most Of The Vehicles Do Not Drive In Severe Conditions:
Some studies in Europe show that 75% of car trips are carried out on less than 10 km. At the national level, these values may differ due to the geographical extension of Argentina, but there is undoubtedly a large flow of vehicles in short urban driving conditions. These trips generally include frequent braking and acceleration, along with stopping at traffic lights and traffic jams. These conditions are severe since they do not achieve running stability. Therefore they favor phenomena such as dilution with fuel and greater engine wear.
16. No Matter How Old The Oil Is, It Should Only Be Changed At 10,000 Km:
Urban vehicles frequently reach this situation, in which over a year they do not reach the recommended oil change mileage, generally of 10,000 or 15,000 km. In these cases, the manuals usually suggest making a change by time per year. This is beneficial as it eliminates the potential for degradation, for example, caused by condensation in the crankcase.
17. It Does Not Matter To Exceed The Maximum Oil Level.
When measuring the oil level with the dipstick, it is vital to keep the level between the minimum and maximum marks without exceeding these recommended values. The minimum is clear, and there may be a lack of lubricant and a lubrication failure. The maximum, however, must not be passed either. By exceeding the maximum level, we can considerably increase emissions, generate problems in seals, air entry and foam in the oil.
18. If Synthetic Oil Is Used, It Can No Longer Be Changed To Another.
The truth is that you can freely switch from synthetic to conventional oil without risk to the engine. There is even no problem if they are mixed.
19. The Engine Will Respond Better If Additives Are Added To The Oil.
It is unnecessary because a quality oil includes in its formula the necessary additive for optimal engine performance.