Healthy Oil: All About Your Oil & What You Need To Know
What’s the most important part of your engine? The motor oil. Most people take their oil for granted, not understanding the scope of its function in their engine. The assumption is that oil is just for lubricating, but running your car or truck or boat with this assumption may not be the best thing in the long run. If you really understand what oil does, what it’s designed to do, and why it’s important to take care of it in your vehicle, you can go a long way toward maximizing the life and health of the investment you have in your vehicle or boat.
We’re going to talk about oil from a number of different perspectives, mostly from the perspective of the oil’s health – what keeps it healthy and what happens when the oil loses its ability to do what it’s supposed to do. So let’s get started!
Types of Motor Oil
Reading the types of motor oil can confuse anyone who comes out a bottle of oil with strange jargon on it like SAE, API, 10W-30. These terms don’t turn out to be so confusing once they know what they are.
SAE – This stands for Society of Automotive Engineers and is the group who have established the classifying categories for the viscosity of the different types of motor oil. Having ‘SAE’ on the bottle simply means the oil has been classified according to the industry standard rating scale made by the SAE. Which is pretty much all of the oils on the market.
API – This stands for American Petroleum Institute, cbd oil vancouver which is the group that sets the minimum performance standards for different classes of oil.
SAE-30W oil vs. 10W-30 – This is an example of two types of oil that can be compared for illustrative purposes. The first one is known as a single-grade oil while the second is a multi-grade oil. The W in both instances stands for ‘winter grade’. The 10 and the 30 are weights of oil – measurements of the viscosity of the oil. Smaller numbers mean lower viscosity and lighter weights of oil. An SAE-30W is a 30 weight oil. An oil that is 10W-30 is an oil whose viscosity actually changes between cold and hot temperatures, due to special viscosity modifying additives in its formulation. The most typical viscosity grades given are from 0 to 60, though you won’t find a single-grade winter motor oil above 25.
API SJ – sometimes you will see this kind of designation on the motor oil. This is known as a “service category”. The SJ or other two-letter identifier is a rating class which means the oil is suitable for the needs of a given class of vehicles. For gas-powered cars and light trucks, you can have SN, SM, SL and SJ service categories. Diesel engines have service categories starting with C – like CJ and CI. The easy way to distinguish is that the S means “spark ignition” (gas-powered) and the C stands for “Compression” (diesel).
You may see other acronyms as well, such as ILSAC (International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee or JASO (Japanese Automotive Standards Organization) or ACEA (a European/French acronym). These are additional ratings organizations from around the world which offer their own classifications for types of motor oil.
Given all these kinds of confusing names, which ones do you need to pay attention so? The most important one is the SAE grade of the oil and the API class. Just consult your owner’s manual to find out which grades and classes of oil are recommended for your vehicle.