YOU’RE USING THE WRONG ENGINE OIL

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EHSANUR RAZA RONNY

A typical car in the US, UK and other similar countries run beyond the 250k km mark. In Bangladesh, we are usually looking at an engine replacement or rebuild just beyond the look mark.

Engine Oil
Engine Oil

How does my car engine die in Bangladesh?
Most of our rides run on CNG which wreaks havoc on seals, valves and injectors. CNG burns very clean without leaving any residue. Petrol, on the other, hand leaves carbon deposits. But CNG is a gas that does not have the cooling properties of liquid. As a result, certain parts that would otherwise be lubricated by petrol end up running hotter and failing earlier. That coupled with constant stop-start driving and the fact we are using the wrong oils most of the time lead to an early death.

What am I doing wrong?
If we go to a petrol pump or garage and ask for an oil change, we are invariably given oil rated 20w-50. That is not the right oil for every car. For anyone not a car geek, that number describes a ‘weight’ of oil. It denotes the viscosity, which is the fluid’s resistance to flow. Simply put, a 10W-30 oil will flow easier than a 20W-50 as temperature changes.

Lower temperatures, like in Canada, require thinner oils like a 5w because those flow better. Thicker oils cause an engine to be harder to start.

So far, so good. Right?
Now it gets more complicated. Synthetic oils can be even thinner rated at 0W. It will feel thinner from day one and many people might even think it is no longer working well as an oil.

So how do I pick an oil?
You go for the oil recommended for your car unless you imported it from Alaska. Most Japanese, Indian, Thai cars imported here are designed for similar running conditions and follow the similar oil categories. Many modern cars have the oil grade stamped on the oil cap or on the sticker under the hood. Can’t find the stickers because they were painted over? Simple: Google.

The engine in most Premios, Corollas, ISTs all require either 5W-30 or 1OW-30 oil. Thicker 20W-50 oils cause harder cold starts. I recommend you go for the latter since ours is a warmer climate. Modern engines are more efficient and often more delicate. The wrong oil will end up shortening the lifespan.

So lighter oil is always better?
No. Not if your car is old and packing on the miles. Older cars, especially ones that are already exhibiting leaks and smoking, are better off with thicker oil. Thicker oil will leak less. Hence, your standard 20W-50 will work fine.

But my car runs on CNG. So, CNG oil?

I have searched and searched till my Google finger has bled. CNG engine oils appears to be a marketing gimmick. There is no information available in the difference in formulation for CNG oils. Also, the only grade available is 20W-50. Makes you think it is just a newly printed sticker on the most regular oils.

What is the best oil then?
This is a tricky matter. Most will swear by synthetic oils such as the Mobil 1 as being the most awesome. But you do not necessarily have to go for that. Mobil and other brands have semi synthetics and mineral oils. Just get the correct grade according to your car.

I can find good oils anywhere then?

No. Sadly, many people have come across fakes of popular oils. We have a thriving market of great fake packaging. Look for trusted dealerships while following forums and Facebook groups, like ours.

How do I know when to change?
For mineral oils, stick to a shorter mileage to change. Anywhere from 2500-3500km is a good time for cars that spend all their time in the city traffic. Stop- go driving is the worst kind of hell for engines.

The dipstick is your friend. Check often and check when cold. The engine dipstick will show a lower reading when the engine is hot because a lot of the oil is stuck around inside circulating. You wait till it is cool and the oil has dropped down into the chamber. Check the stick then. Never top up when hot because then you may run the risk of overfilling, which in turn creates undue pressure inside the engine. Kind of like when you eat the choapand beef roll in Farmgate and feel bloated from gas.

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