Understanding car engine oil viscosity


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Knowing what engine oil viscosity is can help you make better choices of oil for your car. Naijauto.com gives you all the needed gist.

Engine oil

Engine oil is a lubricant for car engines, as well as a coolant, cleanser, and general major-domo in the car. It is unlikely that your car would last five minutes without the many beneficial use of oil in the engine and other moving parts.

Engine lubricant typically is comprised of base oil and performance additives in varying percentages, according to the type of car engine it will be used for.


Engine oil is very important to car engines

Engine oil viscosity is a term that is commonly bandied about but not many understand. Naijauto will now explain this in order that you know exactly what your car needs, and so you can make excellent engine oil choices from here on out. Naijauto.com also offers insightful auto maintenance resources to help you manage your vehicles better.

>>> Read here for a comprehensive guide to engine oil prices in Nigeria.

Engine oil viscosity

Viscosity as a physical property, is not limited to oil, but applies to liquids in general. In layman’s language, it basically is concerned with the free flow of liquids, or the liquid’s resistance to flow. The more restricted the flow is the more viscous the liquid is said to be. Generally more viscous liquids tend to be thick and less viscous liquids tend to be thin.

Engine oil is classified into grades depending on their properties, which include viscosity. Multi-grade engine oil is the most common type in use, and is usually represented with a range of numbers and figures, such as 5W-30, to denote its viscous range.


The range of oil thickness to thinness is the viscosity range

To understand this is easy. The figures stand for the lowest and highest operating temperatures for which the engine oil is still acceptably viscous. This means not too thick to function in extreme low temperatures, and not too thin to provide good lubrication at higher temperatures. Oil tends to congeal in cold conditions and melt when heated.

The “W” stands for “winter”, and the “5” before it means even at that temperature, (50) degrees Celsius, the oil is thin enough to “cold-start” an engine. “30” means that at 30 degrees it is still thick enough to lubricate adequately. Older cars usually need thicker oil to function well. For a good list of cars for sale you can visit naijauto’s cars classifieds section.


10w-30 is a popular oil grade in Nigeria 

The most used multi-grade oils in Nigeria are of viscous range:

  • SAE 5w-30
  • SAE 10w-30
  • SAE 10w-40.

You need to check your vehicle’s manual to ascertain the grade of engine oil recommended by the car manufacturer.

>>> Amazing auto safety, and safe driving tips, as well as car sales information is available on naijauto.com. 

Joshua-Philip Okeafor




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