MOVING FROM THIN TO THICK ENGINE OIL
Saat Tepat Beralih Dari Oli Encer Ke Kental
As car manufacturing develops, the materials used and the production system have also changed and become more precise over time. As the result, car manufacturers today are able to produce cars with less clearance between car components. Slight piston-to-wall clearance, for instance, allows for better compression in the combustion chamber and prevent fuel from leaking to a car’s lubrication system.
At the same time, less clearance means modern engines also require thinner oils. In the 1980’s, the recommended engine oils were those with viscosity grade of SAE 20W-50. This changed in 1990’s, where the recommended viscosity grade was SAE 10W-40.
In early 2000’s, several car manufacturers began to recommend SAE 10W-30 and, in line with today’s trend and engine technology advancement, engine oils with SAE 0W-20 viscosity grade have started gain popularity. The latter’s low viscosity level allows engines to perform efficiently without losing the oil’s protective ability over the engines’ moving parts.
For new cars, using oils with low viscosity as recommended by car manufacturers is suitable. However, after being on the road for more than four years, a car’s engine may need viscosity adjustment.
The reason is wear condition that car engines experience due to the friction in an engine’s metal parts. Regardless of how an engine once appears – tight components, sophisticated metals, and high manufacturing precision – it will experience wear over time.
Therefore, car owners need to consider moving to thicker oils. Aside from a car’s age and the distance traveled, evaporation is another signal for viscosity change, i.e. when we start to notice a drastic reduction in of our oil volume.
Take for example a new car with less than four years on the road. Typically, oil level is monitored by using a dipstick regularly every 5,000 km traveled. With the dipstick, we can see that the oil level may decrease by only ½ of the MAX marker. With a car over four years old, the oil level may go more than ½ of the MAX marker and this is when we want to change our oils with a product that has higher viscosity.
When viscosity level is high, the oil will not evaporate as easily thus preventing significant oil volume reduction. Thicker oils also mean that the gaps between engine parts are smoothly filled, hence better protection against engine wear.