Low viscosity engine oils 

In simple terms, the word viscosity relates to a fluid’s resistance to flow. Most later engines are designed to use low viscosity engine oils to reduce internal drag. This takes less power from your engine, reduces fuel use, lowers exhaust emissions, and improves engine responsiveness. 

However, producing oils with a low viscosity that provide the necessary engine protection and minimal oil consumption levels presents certain technical difficulties, and required the development of unique standards and service classifications for them. 

These include: 

  • ACEA (Association des Constructeurs Europeens dAutomobiles) and 
  • ILSAC (International Lubricant Standardisation and Approval Committee) 

Choosing the right oil for your engine

Modern engines are designed to operate with low viscosity oils.  Older engines aren’t, so it’s important to always follow the manufacturer’s oil recommendations.

The wrong oil can:

  • Cause extensive engine damage 
  • Increase oil consumption
  • Increase fuel consumption and emissions
  • Reduce power 
  • Damage emission control systems
The vehicle owner’s handbook should always be consulted to determine the correct oil specifications for the vehicle. Major lubricant makers technical help-desks and web sites are helpful also.

For an explanation of oil viscosity and service ratings see Understanding Engine Oil Designations

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