Engine oil: stop before the engine knocks!

I would like to tell you about engine oil (you know, the one you hear about that goes into the engine) and its importance.
In layman’s terms I could define it as the life blood of an engine. Similar to us, Engines tend to get faulty and kick the bucket when it runs short on it, out of it or when it mixes up with another substance.
Still relating in layman’s terms, engine oil like blood requires specific types for different engines. Not many people read the labels on the cans before they pour it in their engines or check with their mechanics to ensure they pour in the right ones.
Some specifications we find on some oil cans are
20w50, etc
But, what do these even mean, and how does it affect my engine? you may ask.
Let me tell you how important these numbers are and why you should look out for them.
The numbers specify the cold and hot working temperatures of the engine oil you intend to use, they vary for different engines and for different temperate regions.
The first number before “w” indicates the viscosity at the initial starting temperature and the number after indicates the viscosity at the engine’s working temperature.
A really low number before “w” say 0, means that the oil would be really light at start up temperature, won’t freeze easily and would easily get around the engine and lube up on time, very good for very cold areas.
A pretty high number before “w” say 20, simply means the oil is going to be thicker and better acclimated to temperate regions where the oil would freeze easy and can quickly get around and lube up during start up.
engine 1
Same principle applies to the numbers after the “w”. Using a light oil in hot areas could seriously damage your engine because it would not be thick enough to prevent friction between moving parts.
On the other hand using an oil that’s too thick/heavy in cold areas could damage your engine because the engine oil would not go around quickly on start up, leaving moving parts unshielded from friction and causing serious wear and tear in the engine.
1) Using the wrong one for your engine could invalidate the warranty,
2) The wrong one would decrease efficiency (summary, you’d spend more on gas)
3) The wrong one could increase emissions
4) It could serious affect the life span of your engine.
You can easily tell which one your engine needs by looking at the manual or the oil cap. And you need to follow it diligently if you drive a car that’s really sensitive to its lubricants, e.g. Honda.
Using your engine over time generates wear and tear, shredding microscopic particles into the engine oil. Factor also the almost negligible amounts of burnt gases that escape through the piston rings into the engine (keyword ALMOST).
With these two things in mind we can for see an inevitable build up of unwanted substances in the engine oil which will eventually render it useless with time, and these particles will also build up in the oil filter too and may eventually block it and cause major problems for the oil pump mechanism and the engine in general.
When this happens the engine starts to wear out its moving parts at an alarming rate, so much so its often irreparable, causing over heating, excessive emissions(smoking) and less efficiency.
Worst case scenario the engine burns itself out and knocks.

Considerations to change your engine oil from the one specified in the owners manual can be done in case the car or equipment was moved from one temperate zone to another, you can ask your auto dealer or ask in the comment section below!

Have a nice day folks

2 thoughts on “Engine oil: stop before the engine knocks!

    1. Most mechanics go for 20W50 because of our hot conditions, the oil has to work under higher temperature conditions so it remains lighter rather than freezing up.

      This generally applies to most cars, but Hondas can be sensitive.

      In other cold regions the 20W50 specification is used for diesel engines.


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