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Iceni Magazine | August 6, 2020

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Not so slick! Quarter of Brits clueless about engine oil

Not so slick! Quarter of Brits clueless about engine oil

  • A quarter of car owners don’t know the purpose of engine oil (25%)
  • The importance of the right engine oil explained
  • The best engine oils for the five most popular cars in Britain after half of Brits confess ignorance (49%)

You know not to put petrol in a diesel car, but did you know using the wrong engine oil can cause irreversible damage to your car? A quarter of British car owners (25%) confess they don’t know the purpose of engine oil or what it does, according to new research by Euro Car Parts. In fact a staggering 49% don’t know what oil their car needs without checking their car’s handbook, and nearly two fifths (38%) also aren’t sure how often to check their car’s oil.

The split between the genders is even more revealing; a third of women aren’t sure what role engine oil plays compared to 13% of men and nearly two thirds of women (59%) don’t know what type of oil they need (compared to 34% of men).

To help, the experts at Euro Car Parts explain exactly why engine oil is so important, the role it plays and what types of oil are available to you.

What is engine oil and why is it important?

Maintaining clean engine oil is one of the most important parts of car maintenance. Moving engine parts rub against each other when working, which creates friction, and therefore heat. Engine oil helps to lubricate the parts and absorb this heat, ensuring the engine can work without overheating.

How often you should change your oil will vary depending on vehicle age, type of oil and how you drive. With modern oils today, engines have recommended oil change intervals of 5,000 to 7,500 miles. However, it may be more or less – always follow the factory maintenance schedule for oil in this instance. [1]

Which engine oil do I need?

For many motorists, just knowing what engine oil to use can be tricky – particularly if driving a used car. While it can be tempting to stick any oil in, doing so can cause damage to your car – particularly when driving in extreme weather conditions and varying temperatures as this changes the viscosity.

There are three types of engine oil:

  1. Mineral oil (better for regular drivers and simple cars)
  2. Synthetic oil (tend to perform better at extreme temperatures, high or low)
  3. Semi-synthetic oil (added oxidation and low temperature resistance)

Most oils are multi-grade (multi-viscosity) which mean they are different thicknesses depending on the temperature while still providing immediate and adequate lubrication. [2] This is particularly important for when a car is started from cold, in cold weather. You can see the viscosity of multi-viscosity oils by the two numbers on the label e.g. 10W40, which indicates the oil thickness at low (10W) and high (40) temperatures. [3]

Using the wrong oil in your car won’t be immediately catastrophic. However, using the wrong oil can see your engine suffer from corrosion, poor fuel efficiency,  heat damage, difficulty moving and poor function, which is worrying considering half of Brits (49%) don’t know which oil their car needs.

Find the right engine oil for your car using your registration plate here:

Statistics unless otherwise stated are provided by a survey of 2,000 British car owners, by TLF for Euro Car Parts in October 2018.


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