The Essential Guide To Motor Oil - Valvoline

The Essential Guide To Motor Oil - Valvoline



Guide To

Motor Oil

Here's something

your didn't know

about motor oil.


Introduction 2

What does motor oil do in my engine and

why is it important? 3

What is motor oil made up of? 4

Why do I need to change my motor oil? 5

How often should I change

my motor oil? 5

Choosing the right motor oil 6

What are API ratings? 7

What are ACEA ratings? 7

What are ILSAC ratings? 8

What are OEM ratings? 8

What grade of engine oil should I use? 9

Warranty 9

How do I make the right choice?

Good 10

Better 11

Best 12

What is as important to my car’s

performance as changing the oil? 13

Safety information 14

How do I dispose of used oil? 14

For more information 14


For over 140 years, Valvoline ® has served

the needs of car owners with quality motor oils

and automotive products longer than any other

motor oil company. In fact, Valvoline is the

oldest trademark in the entire petroleum industry.

Valvoline ® understands that today's motor oil

market has an increasing assortment of engine

oils needed to cater for the various car makes

and models.

Choosing the motor oil that is right for your

vehicle and budget is a common source of

confusion and frustration. This guide to motor

oil aims to remove confusion and keep motor oil

simple. It has been developed to help you better

understand the basics of motor oil so you can

make an informed choice. The more you know

about motor oil, the better you will be able to

protect your vehicle's engine.

Valvoline ® , a division of Ashland, is a leading

innovator and supplier of quality, high-performing

automotive and industrial products in more than

100 countries. Best known for its lubricants,

Valvoline also markets Eagle One ® appearance

products, SynPower ® performance products, Pyroil ®

automotive chemicals and MaxLife ® products

created for higher-mileage engines.

If you have any further questions or comments

regarding Valvoline ® products, please call our

Technical Hotline 1800 804 658 between

8.30am-4.30pm Monday to Friday AEST.



What does motor oil do

in my engine and why is it


The main purpose of motor oil is to stop metal from

touching metal. An engine contains hundreds of

moving parts that must be kept separate from each

other. If metal surfaces come in contact, wear may

occur and friction will increase. With friction comes

heat, and heat will warp and distort moving engine

parts. Motor oil creates a slick film between metal

parts that lets them glide over each other.

Motor oil also:

- Reduces friction and prevents wear;

- Allows for easy starting;

- Seals tiny gaps between the piston ring

and cylinder walls;

- Cools moving parts by dispersing heat;

- Keeps engine surfaces clean;

- Holds foreign deposits (like by products

of combustion) in suspension away from

engine parts; and

- Prevents rust and corrosion.

What is motor oil

made up of?

Motor oil has changed dramatically since Valvoline

first launched lubricating oils over 140 years ago.

Modern motor oils are made up of the following:

Base stocks +


The base stocks used can be conventional stocks,

man made synthetics or a mixture of conventional

and synthetic stocks.

Conventional base oils are made from crude oil

which has undergone certain extraction processes

and minor chemical restructuring in an oil refinery.

Conventional base oils are a mixture of thousands

of different chemicals.

Synthetics differ from conventional base oils in

that they are synthesized from relatively pure

chemicals for specifically designed performance

characteristics. The raw material for synthetics

could come from many sources. Synthetic base

stocks generally offer superior low temperature flow

properties and enhanced response to certain engine

oil additives.

Regardless of the type of base stocks used, it is

necessary to combine them with additives to meet

the demanding requirements of modern engines

Additives are the “active ingredient” in motor

oils. These additives must be replenished through

regular oil changes. They may include any of the


- Detergents

- Dispersants

- Anti-Wear Agents

- Extreme Pressure Additives

- Oxidation Inhibitors

- Anti-Foaming Agents

- Rust and Corrosion Inhibitors

- Viscosity Index Improvers

- Pour Point Depressants

- Friction Modifiers



Why do I need to change my

motor oil?

After a period of use, motor oil deteriorates and

becomes unable to do an efficient job lubricating

and cooling engine parts. The two main reasons

for this are:

Accumulation of contaminants

During the normal operation of an engine,

contaminants begin to accumulate in the engine

oil. The engine oil is designed to lock away and

neutralise by-products of combustion such as soot,

carbon and acids. As contaminant levels build-up

over time, critical properties of the engine oil such

as viscosity can be affected.

Depletion of oil additives

Additives are consumed as they perform their

vital role. If the additives are depleted, corrosion,

oxidation and accelerated engine wear can occur.

For this reason, engine manufacturers recommend

that the oil be changed at certain time or distance

intervals to ensure protection of your equipment

is not compromised.

How often should I change

my motor oil?

Some types of car operations are more severe

than others, placing greater demands on the

motor oil and calling for more frequent oil

changes. For this reason, car manufacturers

give two recommendations for oil changes in

their owner's manuals.

Standard Service

Standard conditions are generally where

a vehicle drives more than 15,000km per year

on bitumen, with little stop start driving and

few periods of long idling.

These service conditions can be met with a

high performance mineral oil from one of the

products in Valvoline’s XLD range.

Severe Service

If you drive in city traffic, do lots of short trips,

drive off the bitumen, or tow any sort of load,

you are driving in severe conditions.

These service conditions can be met with either a

full synthetic, such as SynPower or a synthetic blend

such as DuraBlend or SynGard.

Choosing the right motor oil

The first step in choosing motor oil is to check

the owner's manual for the recommended SAE

(Society of Automotive Engineers) viscosity grade

for your vehicle.

There are two common types of SAE classifications:

monograde and multigrade. A monograde such as

SAE 30 has certain cold weather limitations. In very

cold weather, it may not flow adequately to protect

the engine during the time the engine takes to reach

operating temperature.

Multigrade oils, such as SAE 10W-30, can be used

across a broad range of temperatures. These are

widely used because they allow for easy starting

and pumping at low temperatures; yet they are thick

enough at high temperatures to lubricate effectively.

S A E 1 0 W - 3 0

S A E 1 0 W - 3 0

S A E 1 0 W - 3 0

The W stands for “winter” and indicates that the

oil meets certain viscosity requirements for low

temperature or winter operation.

S A E 1 0 W - 3 0

S A E 1 0 W - 3 0

S A E 1 0 W - 3 0

The number in front of the W indicates the low

temperature viscosity. The number refers to

the viscosity of the oil when the engine is cold

and indicates the oils performance when the

engine is starting up. The thinner the oil when

cold the quicker it moves around the engine and

the faster it protects vital engine components.

S A E 1 0 W - 3 0

S A E 1 0 W - 3 0

S A E 1 0 W - 3 0

The high-temperature viscosity (the second number,

30 in a 10W-30) indicates thickness at operating

temperature. Thicker oils make it easier to maintain

oil pressure and reduce the tendency for oil

consumption, particularly in worn engines. Thick

oils trade off fuel efficiency to achieve this as the

engine has to work harder to move the oil around.

When comparing viscosity numbers, a higher

number will not flow as easily as a low number.



What are API ratings?

The American Petroleum Institute (API)

classification system provides information

about the engine oil.

The letter “S” followed by another letter

(for example “SM”) indicates that the oil

is appropriate for petrol engines. SM oils

are superior to SL oils in many

performance criteria including enhanced

fuel efficiency whilst also meeting the

“energy conserving” classification and

enhanced emissions systems protection.

The letter “C” followed by another letter

and/or number (for example CI-4) indicates

that the oil is appropriate for diesel engines.

The second letter in both the “S” and the

“C” categories is assigned alphabetically.

Generally the further along we move in

the alphabet indicates the latest technology

and quality enhancements in motor oil.

What are ACEA ratings?

ACEA stands for the Association des Constructeurs

Europeens d’Automobiles and represents a large

group of European engine manufacturers. ACEA

has established four performance categories:

the A category for petrol engines; the B category

for passenger car diesel engines; the C category

represents catalyst compatible oils; the E category

for heavy duty diesel engines.

A Category (petrol engines)

A1 and A2 oils represent the base performance

level with A1 being used for lower viscosity fuel

efficient oils and A2 for higher viscosity oils. A3

and A5 oils are the highest performing ACEA

gasoline engine oils with the A3 being used for

the higher performance oils and A5 for the high

performance lower viscosity fuel efficient oils.

The A4 classification is reserved for a future

specification for direct injection gasoline engines.

B Category (passenger car diesel engines)

The B category is similarly divided with the

exception that the B4 classification for direct

injection passenger diesel engines has been

established and that the B5 classification combines

the performance requirements of B3 and B4 in a

lower viscosity fuel efficient oil.

C Category (catalyst compatible engines)

The C category is intended for use with vehicles

fitted with diesel particulate filters and three

way catalysts in petrol applications. C1 and C2

classifications are based on ACEA A5/B5 ratings,

whilst the C3 classification is based on

ACEA A3/B3 ratings.

What are ILSAC ratings?

ILSAC stands for the International Lubricant

Standardisation Advisory Committee. For

lubricants to meet the GF specification, they

must prove to be energy conserving. With the

latest rating being GF-4, it provides better fuel

economy than GF-3. In the Australian market you

may find the following ILSAC ratings:

- ILSAC GF-3 (introduced in 2001)

- ILSAC GF-4 (introduced in 2004)

What are OEM approvals?

Some OEMs specify that engine oils must meet a

range of stringent requirements before it can be

used and warranted in their engines. To minimise

misapplication, Valvoline have noted whether

these requirements have been met by noting OEM

performance specifications on pack; the most

common approvals in Australia being the following:

- BMW: LL98 and LL01

- Ford: M2C-915A, M2C 153E/F

and M2C-153G

- General Motors: GM6094M

- Mercedes Benz: MB229.1, MB229.3

and MB229.5

- Volkswagen: VW502.00, VW503.01,

VW504.00, VW505.00

and VW507.00



So, what grade of engine oil

should I use?

There are a number of ways to determine what

engine oil is suited to your vehicle. The best

way to find the correct lubricant grade and

recommendation is to refer to your vehicle owner’s

manual. In here you should be able to locate:

- Viscosity or SAE rating

- API, ACEA, ILSAC and OEM approval

If you are unable to access

your vehicle owner’s manual

most auto part stockists will

have a Valvoline lubrication

recommendation guide.

Here you can look up the

make and model of your

vehicle and match to it the

Valvoline engine oil best

suited to your vehicle.

You can also obtain this information online at

You will be presented with an engine oil

recommendation that also includes suitable

transmission and power steering fluids for your

vehicle. The lubricant guide will also advise how

many litres you will require to perform the oil



Valvoline’s range of engine oils either meet or

exceed the ratings printed on pack. Providing that

you select the correct lubricant for your vehicle,

Valvoline guarantees the engine oil used will not

void new car warranty.

How do I make the

right choice?


Valvoline’s range of conventional mineral based

oils are suitable for the everyday driver.

Standard service conditions can be met with

the following products:

XLD Lo-Vis 10W-30

- Meets latest engine


- Premium base stocks

- Enhanced fuel efficiency


XLD Plus 20W-50

- For conventional and

multi valve engines

- Premium mineral base



XLD Premium 20W-50

- For conventional and

multi valve engines

- Premium mineral base



XLD Classic 20W-50

- Offers protection for cars

manufactured before 1993


XLD HiVis 20W-60

- Developed to protect and

extend the life of older

technology and worn



Diesel Formula 15W-40

- For turbo and non turbo

diesel engines

- API CG-4



How do I make the

right choice?


Sometimes you need a Better oil to cope with your

driving conditions. Severe service conditions can be

met with the following products.

DuraBlend 5W-30, 10W-30,

10W-40 and 15W-50

- specially formulated for

tough driving conditions,

stop-go driving, extended

idling, short trips & towing

SynGard 10W-40

- Provides engine protection

from start up to shut down

- SynGard with Advanced

Chemaloy ® Shield reduces

engine wear and improves

engine responsiveness and

ensures high engine


- Provides better deposit

control for a cleaner engine


MaxLife 20W-50

- For high mileage engines

- Suits most 4,6 and 8

cylinder engines

with over 100,000km


XLD Engine Armour 15W-40

- Quality synthetic fortified

for improved

protection over standard

mineral oils


Super Diesel 15W-40

- For turbo and

non turbo engines

- Suits Cummins, Mack and

Caterpillar engines


How do I make the

right choice?


Sometimes only the best will do. Severe and

high performance applications can be met with

Valvoline's SynPower range.

Valvoline’s SynPower motor oil is specially

formulated with 100% synthetic base stocks for

ultimate protection, high performance, long drain

and severe service application.

SynPower 0W-40,

MXL 0W-30, 5W-40

and 10W-50

- Maximum thermal and

oxidation stability

- Fully compatible with all

conventional motor oils

- Offers superior low

temperature and high

temperature properties

- Optimum cold start


- Lowest oil burnoff

- Enhanced wear protection


14 13

What is as important to

my car’s performance as

changing the oil?

Looking after your vehicle is not just a matter of

changing your oil regularly. For maximum engine

protection Valvoline recommends that you change

your oil filter every time you change your oil.

Cleaning and protecting your fuel system is as

important to your car's performance as changing

the oil. For maximum engine performance add fuel

injector cleaner to your fuel every time you change

your oil and every 5000km.

Change Oil

Valvoline offer the choice of a mineral based,

synthetic blend or full synthetic lubricants

– which one you choose is dependent on

your vehicle and driving habits.

Change Oil Filter

When selected correctly and properly

installed, Valvoline filters meet or exceed

OEM requirements. Valvoline guarantees

its filters are completely free of any fault

or defects in both materials and

workmanship. When you buy Valvoline

filters, you can be sure your engine is

well protected.

Add Fuel Injector Cleaner at next fuel fill

Valvoline Fuel Injector and Carby Cleaner

restores power to your engine in one simple

treatment by removing the deposits that plug,

block and affect the performance of fuel

injectors and carburettors. It also cleans

intake valves and removes deposits from

combustion chambers.

How do I dispose of used oil?

Protect our environment. Do not pollute drains,

soil or water with used engine oil. Please dispose

of used oil in accordance with state waste

management authority requirements.

Improperly disposed motor oil can contaminate

drinking water and poison wildlife. In fact, the

used motor oil generated from one oil change can

contaminate more than one million litres of water.

For more information on used oil recycling visit

For your safety

Be careful when handling used oil. Avoid skin

contact with used engine oil. Wear suitable gloves.

After contact with skin, wash immediately with soap

and water. Prolonged and repeated contact with

used engine oil from petrol engines may cause skin

cancer. Always ensure the bottle is stored upright

and the cap is tight.

For more information

For more information please contact the Valvoline

Technical Hotline on 1800 804 658 between 8.30am-

4.30pm Monday to Friday AEST.

15 14

For more information

contact the Valvoline

Technical Hotline on

1800 804 658

® Registered Trademark, Ashland.

Valvoline (Australia) Pty Ltd


NSW 2164

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