By Filum Ho, CEO of Autoboys
Major changes have swept across South Africa’s automotive industry from the start of this month as the Competition Commission’s guidelines on right to repair have been enacted.
The automotive sector has been gearing up for this moment, and new car owners are finally able to service or repair their motor vehicles at an independent provider of their choice without necessarily voiding their warranties.
While this will boost competition and result in better pricing, it will also put more power and responsibility in the hands of workshops and car owners.
With more independent workshops servicing newer cars, these providers will be carrying out a basic yet crucial activity each time: changing engine oil. The wrong oil can damage an engine and result in an OEM voiding warranty agreements.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of all workshops to replace vehicle engine oils with the correct types and brands.
Below is some crucial information that both car owners and workshops must be aware of.
Using the correct oil
When it comes to replacing engine oil, viscosity is the most important aspect to consider.
Viscosity is all about how oil flows through the engine and adjusts at different temperatures. Many years ago, most car engines ran on a limited number of oils or even monograde oils, making this decision easier. But today, multigrade oils have come to dominate the market as engines have evolved to become smaller in size yet more powerful.
To determine the viscosity that an engine requires, this can be done by opening the bonnet, where this information is typically displayed, or inspecting the service manual.
The viscosity of the engine is marked by the ‘W’ naming convention, with W standing for ‘winter’. The first number in this convention refers to the colder temperature viscosity, especially when starting the engine. The lower this number is, the less viscous your oil will be at low temperatures. For instance, a 5W motor oil will flow better at lower temperatures than a 15W motor oil. The higher number, following the “W”, refers to hot or warmer temperatures when the engine is in its operational state. The higher this number, the thicker the oil at a specified temperature.
Taking this into consideration, engine oils can be mineral based (these typically include 15W40 and 20W50 oils), semi-synthetic oils (such as 10W40) and then fully synthetic oils which are the 5Ws (5W30, 5W40 and so on). Synthetic oils further have additives which are intended to boost the quality of the product.
In addition, many vehicle manufacturers will have their own standards and specifications on what brand and type of oil you must use — it’s very important to note this.
The oil you use should also comply with either the American Petroleum Institute (API) standards or those of the European Automotive Manufacturer’ Association (ACEA).
This is all important to note, especially as more quality engine oil brands, such as Petronas, have entered the South African market this year, and are available via all Autoboys outlets in the country. Petronas is a partner to Mercedes Benz F1 and brings all of its F1 technology into the every day. This gives SA car owners significantly greater choice.
With all of this in mind, you will have more options, but you will have to ensure it complies with your requirements.
At Autoboys, we can assist you with this - whether you’re a workshop or a new car owner.