Engine Oil 101-Information Here

Engine Oil 101-Information Here

vm&r.com logoWhat is the best engine oil for your car?

The function of Engine Oil in car engines is primarily, lubrication and to assist with the cooling of the car engine, engine oil acts as an anti-friction film between two metal surfaces preventing accelerated wear.

Oil is oil, I hear folks say, NO NO NO !!!, it is most certainly not.

Bulk Engine Oil

It is like saying all cars are the same, that Humans have no individuality, Engine Oils are very different when it comes to what year model your car was manufactured in. According to the regulatory body API oils have evolved over the years.

More on Car Engine Oils Here

The API (American Petroleum Institute)

The American Petroleum Institute (API) is the only national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry.

There are more than 625 corporate members, from the largest major oil company to the smallest of independents, come from all segments of the industry.

They are producers, refiners, suppliers, marketers, pipeline operators and marine transporters, as well as service and supply companies that support all segments of the industry.

Although their focus is primarily domestic, in recent years their work has expanded to include a growing international dimension, and today API is recognized around the world for its broad range of programs:

API’s mission is to promote safety across the industry globally and to influence public policy in support of a strong, viable U.S. oil and natural gas industry.

Oil Chart
Engine Oil Service Classifications

They speak for the oil and natural gas industry to the public, Congress and the Executive Branch, state governments and the media.

Good Oil
Max Life Motor Oils


They negotiate with regulatory agencies, represent the industry in legal proceedings, participate in coalitions and work in partnership with other associations to achieve their members’ public policy goals.

API conducts or sponsors research ranging from economic analyses to toxicological testing. And collect, maintain and publish statistics and data on all aspects of U.S. industry operations, including supply and demand for various products, imports and exports, drilling activities and costs, and well completions.

This data provides timely indicators of industry trends. API’s Weekly Statistical Bulletin is the most recognized publication, widely reported by the media.

Advances in Technology

Advances in modern technology allow for the formulation of new grades and quality of oils to keep up with the advances in car engine design and technology.

What A Beaut

Car engines are now high-performance machines, producing high heat and stress due to increased friction and pressure, which causes increased wear, hence advanced oil formulation to reduce these factors and offer better protection against engine failure.

Engine Oil also assists with cooling as it is pumped throughout the engine

Oil Viscosity

Engine Oils are given numbers which pertain to its Viscosity (thickness) Eg. 10w 40 this simply means that when the oil is cold (10w – Winter) it is thinner than when it heats up (40), higher number thicker – lower number, thinner.

Engine Synthetic Oils are best
Synthetic Oils

Viscosities are important to consider when using the oils in different engine types and year models, Older Vehicles usually have thicker oils as the engines were designed with larger oil clearances (20w 50). Modern Vehicles has smaller oil clearances hence lower viscosities (5w 40).

Engine Oil LevelsClean Engine Oil

When there is insufficient oil in an engine, there is just simply, not enough oil in the engine to efficiently lubricate the vital components.

The pressure at which oil is pumped throughout the engine reduces as air is mixed with the oil due to a low oil level. Air, unlike liquid, compresses.

When air is trapped in the oil system, its pressure increases with heat and becomes greater than the oil pressure, preventing the oil from circulating efficiently.

 Great Prices on Car Engine Oils Now

Synthetic or Non-Synthetic Engine Oil

Non-Synthetic (Mineral Oils) are less refined and have a lower performance rating than synthetic oils, and are usually recommended for older car models.

2 types
Different Oils

Synthetic Oils are more refined oils to perform at higher standards as conventional, less refined mineral oils, and is much more costly to purchase.

Both Non-Synthetic (Mineral) oils and Synthetic oils are refined from Crude Oil. 

Semi-Synthetic oils, however,  are a combination of the two, which has an intermediate rating and can be used in both older and newer cars.

 API Ratings

Oil Rating according to API
API Oil Rating Chart

The API rating on modern cars, say from 2001 is SL and ending in SN for 2017, ratings are based on the increasing letters of the alphabet, A, B, C, D, E. etc, Preceded by the letter S. 

A starting in the 1930s and N in today’s modern times, up to 2017, hence (SA-1930 / SN – 2017) (See above API rating chart)

Non Synthetic oils, although cheaper, can seldom be used in very late model cars which require a Semi or Full Synthetic oil.

The best way to determine which grade or type of engine

How do YOU choose the engine oil for your car?

In most cases the choice between Synthetic and Non-Synthetic oil is a personal one, if you do not change your vehicle’s oil regularly, you probably will have to go for Synthetic because it is more durable, although it does offer better protection. – Is it worth the higher cost?. oil your car needs is by consulting your car’s owner manual, it is usually recorded in the specifications section under lubricants, it provides the capacities too.

Failing that, it is best to check with knowledgeable Auto Parts Store employees, as to the API rating recommended for your particular car’s year of manufacture.

5w40 oil
5w40 Synthetic Oil

In this case, it is API SN/CF, ACEA A4/B4  and would be used in very late model cars (2010 – 2017)

There is so much more I can say about oils but at the risk of being boring, I will close right here.


My intention with this article is to clear up some oil myths and better inform you of your choice of oil to use, I hope I succeeded. 

Ask a question or leave a comment 


Until Next Time “Safe Motoring”


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About Me


Gary De La Cruz

I have been 30+ years in the motor industry, still hands on, and have great passion for my chosen profession, I learn new things each day and believe that "if you enjoy your work, you never have to work a day in your life"I believe in honesty, integrity and helping where help is needed.

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