Oil quality…….how important is it?
Manufacturers have long since been recommending specific oils for their vehicles. In the past these tended to be semi-synthetic 10w40 grade oils that were made to similar specification no matter which make was purchased. In recent years things have changed somewhat, and with tighter tolerances, hotter running engines, extended service intervals and of course the advent of Diesel particulate filters to meet strict emission rules, it is no surprise that manufacturers have only recommended specific oils manufactured to a certain grade.
There are many oils on the market made to the specification that a manufacturer recommends but they are not always approved by the manufacturer. This would mean that any warranty claim would not be authorised should the incorrect oil be used. This has also led to more Diesel Particulate filter problems as incorrect oil can have higher ash content when burnt and prematurely block particulate filters.
To give some examples every manufacturer has their own current codes for these oils and it is worth checking that the oil you are using is approved by them, they are as follows:
VW AUDI SEAT SKODA VW504/507
BMW LL04 (Long Life 4)
All of these oils above are low ash oils but all have different properties in them.
There are only a few actual oil manufacturers in existence but a lot of oil blenders. These blending companies buy oil from manufacturers and mix them to get specific oil. Manufacturer approved oils tend to be from oil manufacturers and not blenders.
We get asked many questions about oils; one common one is, what is the difference between Mobil 1 ESP and Mobil 3000V as they both carry the VW 504/507 approval?
Well Mobil 1 is more expensive but there is a reason for this. There are different levels of oil manufacture. Grade 1 through to 5. Grade 1 is a basic oil, not fit for a car. Cheaper engine oils are a grade 2, sometimes getting to the dizzy heights of a grade 3! Mobil 3000V is a high end grade 3 oil. Mobil 1 ESP is a grade 4 oil, very highly refined and long lasting. Grade 5 oils are very expensive and saved for the realms of formula 1 cars etc. That said they are used in car air conditioning systems. This is known as PAG oil, and this is a grade 5 oil.
So what happens if the wrong oil is used, well because we expect the oil to last a long time as per the service schedule we can see in this photo that the filter will break up if the oil is of low quality or has been left in the engine for too long.
In short oil isn’t just oil and the approvals set by the car manufacturer are there for a reason. Ensuring you have the right oil during a service could save you money in the long run. If a service is cheap there is normally a reason and cheap oil and filters is normally the reason.
Whether we service your car or not, check which oil is being used and whether the filters are quality ones. If a garage can’t give you a convincing answer naming the grade and type of oil they are probably just buying in whatever is cheap so you might want to think twice. Here at Lakeside we are a Mobil service agent and this oil is included in our services. Our oils do cover all of the approvals above and more!
Keep an eye out for the next Tech spot and if you would like further information just give us a call and we will be happy to talk to you!