1How does one differentiate between a petrol and diesel engine oil specification?
An engine oil container label will have printed on it an API (American Petroleum Institute) specification which will have either a ‘S’ reference or ‘C’ reference or both. The ‘S’ reference indicates ‘spark’ i.e. petrol engine and ‘C’ reference indicates ‘compression’ i.e. diesel engine. An engine oil carrying both references is currently widely used.
2Does the use of unleaded fuel necessitate the use of a special engine oil?
The answer is NO. You do not need to change your oil type when you start using unleaded fuel. Current oils produced by approved manufactures work perfectly in vehicles using leaded or unleaded fuel.
3What makes a gear oil different to an engine oil?
The base oil used in blending gear oils is exactly the same as for engine oils. Gear oils however, are blended with specialized extreme pressure additives to enhance their viscosity (thickness) and their ability to handle load. Remember, a gear box undergoes a far higher load capacity than a normal engine sump. In order for this oil to handle the increase load it is necessary for it to be ‘thicker’ than engine oil.
4Do I only use Antifreeze in my car’s radiator in winter or all year round?
The answer is, all year round. The important thing to remember about antifreeze is that it not only prevents water in your radiator from freezing by lowering the freezing point, but has other additional benefits, namely; Antifreeze stops over heating. Believe it or not Antifreeze is designed to increase the boiling temperature of your radiator water, thus keeping your car from overheating. Antifreeze prevents rust. A major benefit of using Antifreeze is to slow down the build up of rust in your radiator. The absence of Antifreeze will lead to rapid corrosion, producing pin hole leaks and eventually destroying the cooling system.
5What is a Multigrade Oil?
A multigrade engine or gear oil is an oil that meets the requirements of more than one SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) viscosity grade classification and that can be used over a wider temperature range than a single or Mono grade oil.A Multigrade oil has a higher Viscosity Index (VI) which is an indication of the variation of viscosity with temperature change.Higher Viscosity Index oils display less variation in viscosity over temperature change than low viscosity index oils or Mono grade oils.
6What are synthetic based oils and are they better than mineral based oils?
The answer is YES, but we need to understand the difference in the make up of these two base oils. People often think that synthetics are developed through a chemical process, this is however not true, it is through an extended refining process. Oil refining is a distillation process. Crude Oil is boiled at high temperature, which allows lighter products, i.e. Gas and Petrol to be drawn off towards the top end and the heavier type product i.e. Diesel and Base Oil to be drawn off towards the bottom end.Base Oil drawn off after a SINGLE refining process is known as ‘mineral’ base oil. Oil companies then add additives to enhance the performance of this oil. Synthetics are also obtained from refining crude oil, but the refinement process is far more involved compared with the above mentioned mineral oils thus creating ‘synthetic’ base oil. A key difference between synthetic based oil and mineral based oils is its molecular structure. Mineral based oils have an uneven molecular makeup causing lower performance levels. Synthetic based oils, due to their rigorous more involved refined process have an even molecular structure and even in size which enhances performance.
7Are there re-refined oil products available in South Africa and do Independent Oil Companies use re-refined oil in the blending of their products?
No. All used oil is collected on behalf of the Rose Foundation which ensures the correct disposal or approved usage thereof. There are no longer re-refining plants in South Africa .