Lack of knowledge, not cash…

Posted on June 21st, 2012 by Rob Marshall

Lack of knowledge, not cash…According to research that was conducted by Mobil 1 UK, 75% of the 1,000 UK motorists polled did not know how to check their engine oil and half of all motorists do not know why engine lubricant is used in the first place. With the lack of understanding comes a general ignorance of why engine oil needs to be changed periodically, which may explain why some owners do not understand why it is a vital element of a service schedule.

This evidence is particularly worrying, considering that engine lubricants are becoming ever more specialised, even manufacturer specific in some cases, and not only allowing the level to run low but also to fill up with the incorrect type can cause extensive and expensive damage.

Almost everyone surveyed did not realise that using the correct oil and changing it on time can not only prolong the life of the car’s engine (and ancillary components, such as turbochargers) but also reduce fuel consumption. In my experience, I agree totally with Mobil 1’s research findings, which concludes that scrimping on servicing, for whatever reason, is a false economy. GEM Motoring Assist has also argued that it affects both reliability and safety adversely.

So, to help clarify the issue, GEM Motoring Assist will be publishing a guide to engine oil on its Technical Advice pages very soon. Although the subject is very technical, the basic precepts remain the same for every car.

1.   Engine oil provides a protective film that prevents metal-to-metal contact between the working surfaces within an engine. Without oil, an engine would last for approximately 5-minutes before either seizing or exploding.

2.   Engine oil also transfers heat away from the hottest parts of the engine. Low oil levels can cause the engine oil to overheat and cause metal-to-metal contact, often without the driver being aware.

3.   Engine oil also holds combustion deposits, such as acids and soots, in suspension, which are drained out at the time of an oil change.

4.   The oil filter traps larger particles from the oil and should be replaced with any lubricant change.

5.   Engine oil has a specific thickness, indicated by a W letter between two numbers. Never use oil that is either too thin or thick. Each engine needs oil that has to comply with certain standards, which is often indicated by the ACEA number on the oil can.  


Demonstrate YOUR knowledge! GEM are running a summer competition to win a collection of Autoglym products. There’s runners up prizes too. All you have to do is identify the dashboard warning lights in our quiz. Follow this link to play… Good luck!

Click here for the Autoglym Competition (which plays on Facebook)