How do I know which oil my car needs?
It’s as important to a good start as your morning coffee and acts as the lifeblood of your engine; yet the range of engine oils on the shelf can be a daunting sight to even the keenest of motoring enthusiasts. It’s time to get the good oil on engine oils!
Engine oil is essential for a healthy engine. It performs three critical functions to keep your vehicle running in optimal condition by acting as:
- A lubricant – the primary function of engine oil is to lubricate the all-important moving parts of your engine. Lubrication prevents and reduces friction, which allows the metal components of your engine to move freely and operate efficiently.
- A heat pump – as engine oil is pumped around your engine, it carries heat produced by moving parts away to cooler areas, allowing your engine to operate at its optimal temperature.
- A cleaner – engine oil is like a little dust-buster for the inner workings of your vehicle! It collects all kinds of waste material produced by your engine (including dust, scale, rust, oxygen, by-products of combustion, and any other little nasties) and carries these to a filter, where they’re safely deposited away from your engine.
So why would different cars need different oils? Put simply, it’s a matter of horses for courses. Every engine has different clearances between its moving parts (even between different models from the same manufacturer), requiring a slightly different volume and viscosity of oil. Moreover, different fuel types interact with engine oil in different ways and certain engine oils contain additives designed to assist with particular performance standards.
Which engine oil to use in my car?
So, European synthetic motor oil or standard mineral? Full-synthetic, long-life, fast-flowing, high performance or premium? What’s the right oil for my car? Is Volvo oil the same as SAAB oil? Is Peugeot oil that different from Citroen oil? Browsing the engine oil shelf can be as overwhelming as the dairy section in a supermarket, and it’s important to get it right! Choosing the right oil may feel daunting, but here’s a tip: always refer to your vehicle owner’s manual. Your manufacturer will explicitly detail the right oil for your vehicle. Still confused? Give us a call and we’ll help you on your way.
Why do European cars require special oil?
Is there such a thing as ‘European car oil’? All cars have different engine oil requirements, but European cars have their own special needs. The high-specification designs of European engines (for example, the incorporation of emissions control systems) and superior performance standards mean that each vehicle will have different needs. European cars generally require more sophisticated engine oil technology than other vehicles. Audi oil is different from Land Rover oil, which is different from Mercedes oil, which is different again from BMW oil! Again, always check your vehicle owner’s manual or leave it to us and we’ll make sure you get the right oil for your car.
What happens if you use the wrong oil in your car?
Using the wrong oil can have devastating outcomes for the health of your engine. Each of the key functions (lubrication, heat control and cleaning) can be critically compromised if the wrong oil is used. Think of it like you would your own circulatory system – it’s important to know your blood type before having a transfusion! Volkswagen oil needs are different from Renault oil needs, which are different again from Skoda oil needs. If you notice oil stains in your driveway, smoke coming from your engine or exhaust pipe, or can smell burning oil, it’s time to see an expert – you may not have the right oil for your European car!
What happens if you put too thick oil in your car?
Viscosity is an important engine oil variable. Using oil that is too thick dramatically affects lubrication in particular, which can quickly result in overheating of components and will prevent critical parts of your engine from moving freely. Overall this adds load to your vehicle’s engine and reduces fuel efficiency. European engine oil requirements are quite particular with regard to viscosity due to the very narrow clearance between moving parts that comes with efficiently-designed vehicles.
What happens when you put too much oil in your car?
It can be tempting to overfill your oil reservoir; afterall, your engine will simply consume any excess amount, surely? Unfortunately not! An overflow of oil will quickly be whipped into a foam by the crankshaft and may leak into other parts of your engine, causing all kinds of nasty (and expensive!) issues. Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual when refilling your oil and always make sure you check the level with your car parked on a flat surface. If you’ve overfilled your car with oil, it’s important that the excess is drained before you drive the vehicle.
Leave it to the experts
As European and prestige car specialists, we know what kind of oil your car needs. So if your eyes have glazed over at the thought of choosing which specialist oil your European car needs, leave it to us. Our specialist technicians make sure both you and your car receive a premium service experience and we’ll keep an eye on your engine oil health as part of your car’s regular servicing and maintenance program.