What is motor oil used for and what are its benefits?
Machines require lubricants in order to run properly, making engine oil an essential element for any engine, whether they’re part of a vehicle or power machinery. It can be a little confusing for drivers and fleet operators to know which is best for their needs, so what is the purpose of oil and what are the benefits of using the correct lubricants?
What is motor oil for?
Motor oil plays many roles in allowing an engine to run properly over time. Here are the most important:
The main role of motor oil is to lubricate the engine parts, which are constantly subject to friction – the main cause of wear on engine parts. Lubricants reduce friction and wear, in turn reducing maintenance costs.
During combustion, escaping heat energy and the friction between mechanical parts causes engine temperatures to rise. Lubrication provided by the motor oil helps to release this heat through the lubrication circuit, supplementing the engine coolant, which can only cool certain parts of the engine.
While less known, the cleaning power of motor oil is fundamental. Microscopic deposits build up in the engine and remain in suspension. They can consist of dust or combustion residue. Without motor oil, the residue would clog the engine and decrease its performance. The flow of motor oil continuously carries these impurities to the oil filter, where they are trapped.
Protection against corrosion
Fuel combustion generates corrosive acids that can damage metal engine parts. With the additives within modern motor oils, corrosion is slowed down. Nevertheless, when in contact with oxygen, over time motor oil may oxidise and no longer play its corrosion inhibiting role. That’s why motor oil must be changed regularly.
Motor oil also enhances engine sealing, specifically the sealing of pistons and cylinders. A protective layer is deposited between the various parts, sealing any clearances that may arise.
Always check and change your engine oil
For motor oil to truly serve its purpose, its level must be checked regularly in order to change the oil at the right time. Oil becomes less effect over time, which can be detrimental to the general condition of the engine and its parts.
What are the main benefits of motor oil?
For vehicle owners and fleet operators, motor oil primarily avoids costly repairs – without lubrication, engines can become seriously damaged – but this is just one of a host of other benefits.
Ensures a longer engine lifespan
By reducing friction between parts and by cleaning the entire engine, motor oil prevents the engine from clogging and becoming damaged. Mechanical parts last longer and corrode less, helping the engine perform better and have an increased lifespan.
Decreases fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
If a motor oil is overused, or if its level is too low, the resulting friction alters the engine’s energy efficiency, in turn increasing fuel consumption, making correct lubrication imperative. What’s more, high-performance oils also reduce emissions of gases and particulates.
Choose the right motor oil to ensure optimum efficiency
Not all motor oils are alike. It is important to choose an oil that is suited to your vehicle and local climate conditions to enjoy all its benefits. There are three types of oil:
· Mineral motor oils
· Semi-synthetic motor oils
· Synthetic motor oils
In addition to the type of oil, there are various parameters such as viscosity, which is expressed in two grades marked on the oil container, for example ‘5w30’: the grade when cold, and the grade when hot. These grades indicate oil fluidity according to high or low temperatures. Depending on engine design, the oil should be more or less fluid or more or less viscous. To choose the right oil, see your vehicle owner’s handbook or get advice from a professional.