What is motor oil used for and what are its benefits?
Role and benefits of engine oil?
Every engine needs oil to run properly. In fact, oil is an essential element for an engine. Whether synthetic, semi-synthetic or mineral, motor engine oil plays many roles. What are its purposes and benefits?
What is engine oil used for?
Engine oil plays many roles in allowing an engine to run properly over time. Here are the most important benefits of engine oil:
The main role of engine oil is to lubricate the engine parts, which are constantly in friction. Oil lubrication thus reduces the friction which tends to increase part wear.
The energy lost through combustion and the friction between mechanical parts causes the engine temperature to rise. Part lubrication provided by the engine oil helps to release the heat through the lubrication circuit. It supplements the coolant, which can only cool certain parts of the engine.
While lesser known, the cleaning power of an engine oil is fundamental. Microscopic deposits build up in the engine and remain in suspension. They can consist of dust or combustion residue. Without engine oil, the residue would clog the engine and decrease its performance. The flow of engine oil continuously carries these impurities to the oil filter, where they are trapped.
- Protection against corrosion
Fuel combustion generates corrosive acid that can damage the metal parts in the engine. With the additives added to modern engine oils, corrosion is slowed down. Nonetheless, over time, and in contact with oxygen, engine oil may oxidise and no longer play its corrosion inhibiting role. That’s why, engine oil must be changed regularly.
Engine oil also enhances engine sealing, and more specifically the sealing of pistons and cylinders. A protective layer is deposited between the various parts that seals any clearances that may arise.
Good to know
For an engine oil to truly serve all its purposes, the level must be checked regularly in order to change the oil at the right time. Overused oil no longer plays its role, which is detrimental to the general condition of the engine and its parts.
What are the main benefits of engine oil?
For vehicle owners, engine oil firstly avoids costly repairs. Without an engine lubricant, the engine would quickly be seriously damaged. In strict terms, this is what a quality motor engine oil offers.
- Ensures a longer engine lifespan
By reducing friction between the parts and by cleaning the entire engine, engine oil prevents the engine from clogging and becoming damaged. Engine oil allows mechanical parts to last longer and corode less. The engine therefore performs greater and its lifespan is increased.
- Ensures proper running of the engine
An oiled engine runs better. Good lubrication is in fact essential to avoid serious mechanical damage. In addition to the engine performance, the cost of maintenance is also affected.
- Decreases fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
If an engine oil is overused, or if it’s level is too low, the resulting friction alters the engine’s energy efficiency, which in turn increases fuel consumption. A high-performance oil also reduces polluting discharges in the atmosphere.
Choose the right engine oil to ensure optimum efficiency
Not all engine oils are the same. It is important to choose an engine oil that is suited to your vehicle and local climate conditions to enjoy all its benefits. There are three types of oil:
- Mineral motor engine oils
- Semi-synthetic motor engine oils
- Synthetic motor engine oils
In addition to the type of oil, there are various parameters such as viscosity, which is expressed in two grades that are marked on the oil container (for example “5w30”): the grade in low temperature, and the grade in high temperature. These grades indicate oil fluidity according to temperature (high or low). Depending on the engine design, the engine oil should be more or less fluid or more or less viscous. To choose the right engine oil, see your vehicle owner’s handbook or get advice from a professional.