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How To Know What Kind Of Engine Lubricant Is Best For Your Vehicle

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

How To Know What Kind Of Engine Lubricant Is Best For Your Vehicle

Lesley Knowles
December 12, 2012


Many brands and kinds of engine lubricants available in the market today offer equally varying advantages. This is also one of the reasons why a lot of people often get confused what lubricant suits best in lubricating their engine. Unfortunately, a lot of lubricant users do not really understand the basic usage of lubricating grease. Normally, the owner of a vehicle just deliberately passes on and entrusts the affairs of this matter to the mechanics. However it is more practical to learn and understand which type of lubricant fits your engine. So, how exactly do you choose a good engine lubricant?

First, you need to know the specific requirements the maker of your engine has laid out. So get to know your engine and what lubricant to use keeping in mind the recommendations of the manufacturer of your machine. There is a lubricant specifically intended for a gasoline engine or diesel engine. However, there is a type of lubricant that is suitable for both. Lubricants have specification codes such as SG/CD which means the lubricant can be used for diesel engines (CD specifications) and gasoline engines (SG specifications).

Lubricants are crucial in the work ability of an engine both industrial and automotive. The selection and appropriate usage of lubricants will significantly help the smooth operation and durability of a machine. It can be fatal for your machine, should you choose to use the wrong lubricant.

There are two things you need to carefully consider when choosing which lubricant to use: the classification quality lubricant or API Service and the viscosity lubricant or SAE.

The Classification of Quality Lubricant or API Service:

Use the standard American Petroleum Institute Service to measure the standard of quality of the lubricant you intend to use. API is a certified institution in the United States of America that is recognized worldwide. Their job is to categorize engine lubricants.

Gasoline engine lubricants are classified and marked with a letter S, while diesel engine lubricants are marked with a letter C. The classification according to a lubricant's level of ability for petrol engines (starting from the highest) is: SL, SJ, SH, SG, SF, SE, SD, SC, SB, and SA. The classification for diesel engines (starting from the highest) is: Cl-4, CH-4, CF-4, CE, CD, CC, CB, and CA.

Lubricants that meet quality standards are characterized by the phrase "API Service," followed by the specific classification. For example: Penzoil GT Performance Plus, API Service SL. Lubricants with API Service SL are recognized to be with the highest quality.

The maker of the engine will provide the specification in the owner's manual. Making use of a lubricant which specifications are higher than that specified by the maker of the engine is not a problem at all. However, using a lubricant with lower classification than that what the engine maker has specified is not advisable, otherwise, the efficiency level of your machine will dramatically fall.

Rate of Viscosity:

To significantly lessen engine wear and friction, a layer of lubricant between moving surfaces is essential. Direct contact between two moving parts must be avoided. However the lubricant layer must be maintained to a minimum thickness and this depends on the viscosity. The viscosity is a very essential characteristic of lubricants. The higher the viscosity of a lubricant the thicker the layer will be and vice versa.

SAE or the Society of American Engineers are an institute basically measures the level of viscosity of a lubricant.

Lubricant viscosity is known in two levels: Mono Grade (single) and Multi-grade (double) where the former is characterized by one digit such as SAE 20, SAE 30, SAE 40 and so on; and the latter is characterized by two digits such as SAE 20W-60, SAE 30W-70 and so on.

Since mono grade lubricants only have one level of viscosity, they are a very low range of temperature change, as opposed to multi-grade lubricants which have a wide range of temperature range making them flexible in adapting to temperature changes.

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If you want to know a lubricant can remarkably increase the performance level or your engine and prolong its life, visit the website of Armadillo Group, http://armadillogroup.com.au/ .

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