Change engine oil,
H. Kishie Singh
is a common word in the auto world today. It refers to the
battery, the car itself and also the engine oil. All of this is
partially true. A maintenance-free battery does need
maintenance. The car needs an overall inspection periodically,
and the oil—be it engine, gear box or differential—does need
special care. Whereas the gear-box and differential oils will
last up to 50,000 km, the engine oil, which is the lifeline of
the car, needs extra care.
Oils today can
be petroleum-based, para-synthetic or fully synthetic. The main
job of oils is to lubricate, reduce friction and wear and tear
on moving parts. It also helps in sealing microscopic
irregularities in between the cylinder walls and rings to
The oil also
has a detergent action. It collects all the dirt and other
unwanted particles and deposits them in the filter.
this in mind, if you want a long life for your engine, change
engine oil and filter frequently.
There is a term
‘severe service’. It means frequent stops and long idling
periods. It also includes long idling periods at red lights.
Delhi traffic is an excellent example. It includes trips of 10
km or less when the air temperature is below 10?C. This will
happen in Chandigarh in the next five months. Sustained
high-speed driving in hot weather is also ‘severe service’.
This will happen from April to August when the air temperatures
can soar to almost 50?C on your way to Jaipur. Also, driving in
dusty conditions, we have this all over north India, and this is
also an example of ‘severe service’.
As a principle
car owners should use a good petroleum-based engine oil and
change the oil and filter every 5,000 km, irrespective of what
manufacturers say. It promises the long life of your engine and
ensures peace of mind.
popular belief, smaller engines—800 cc up to 1600 cc—which
are four-cylinder, run faster (engine rpm) and hotter on leaner
fuel mixtures (to give better fuel average) than a bigger V-8
engine. Surveys have shown that the increased rpm of a
four-cylinder engine means it would have nearly twice the
movement of its engine parts as compared to a V-8 engine if both
ran at the same speed. Smaller engines plus higher rpm means
more heat and shorter engine life.
applies to turbo-charged and diesel engines. The diesel in our
country is not of the best quality. As a result of the much
higher compression ratio of a diesel engine, the deposits of
soot, carbon, condensed moisture and possibly microscopic metal
particles, diesel engines require a special oil. The designation
CD on the oil is what is best for your car, SUV or RV.
Incidentally, never change oil without changing the oil filter.
A lot of people tell me: "I change my oil every 5,000 km
and filter every 10,000 km." Doesn’t make sense. The oil
filter is bound to be partially clogged. It won’t work
efficiently and it will also recirculate the muck from the old
oil with the fresh oil.
Did you know
that the rotor on the turbo-charger on your car runs at 100,000
rpm? So if you come home, do not switch off the engine
immediately. Wait at least 30-40 seconds. This allows the oil to
circulate through the inter cooler and cool down. Now you know
what the inter cooler does.
There is no
argument that the fully synthetic oils last longer due to lack
of acid build-up and better viscosity retention at below zero
temperatures. They leave the engine cleaner. Due to lesser
friction it improves the fuel consumption, leaves cleaner spark
plugs and results in less smoke emissions.
But here is the
other side of the coin. A good petroleum oil like Castrol GTX or
Elf Sporty costs about Rs 180 per litre and the drain period
will be 5,000 km. Mobil One costs Rs 900 per litre and the drain
period will be 20,000 km. However, you may be obliged to change
the filter every 5,000 km. A filter will not last 20,000 km, and
every time you change the filter you’ll have to add 250 ml of
oil, which is worth Rs 175, and that is the price of one litre
of Castrol GTX.
Think about it.
The choice is yours.