The New Car Owner's Guide Vol. 1: Engine Oil

Published by on . Updated on 11 May 2022
Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1652082257204 What New Car Owners Need Know Engine Oil Featured

(Photo Credit: Pexels)

Finally owning your first car can be as daunting as it is exciting. I mean sure, you've finally got that car you’ve been eyeing since deciding that having four wheels was for you. You should be on cloud 9, but once reality sets in, maintaining one can quickly become a worrisome experience.

Owning a car is a pretty sizeable investment, after all. Therefore, keeping it prim and well-maintained is of utmost importance. But how do you go about doing that exactly?

Motorist Malaysia aims to be your companion at every stage of your car ownership journey, post-purchase included. In this new series, we'll help car newbies find their feet with various articles, covering need-to-knows and some nice-to-knows when it comes to owning a car. First up, we have the golden nectar known as engine oil.

What exactly is it?

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Your car’s engine oil is a mixture of oils and additives that acts as a lubricant agent for your car’s engine, reducing friction and wear throughout the engine when it is running. This is very important as poor quality or insufficient lubrication can rapidly lead to the degradation of your car’s engine, which is the very heart of the vehicle.

How do you choose the right engine oil?

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1652082722163 Different Types Of Engine Oils(Photo Credit: Car Cares)

There are different types of engine oils that are derived from their respective processes. Be it synthetic, semi-synthetic, mineral or for high mileage, each type of engine oil comes with their own set of pros and cons. They also suit different purposes.

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For example, high mileage engine oils are specifically for vehicles that experience high usage and rack up large mileage figures, like taxis and commercial vehicles. These oils have extra additives that can greatly minimise the impact of such punishing usage.

The rule of thumb is to refer to your car manufacturer’s manual for the optimal type, viscosity and grade of engine oil to use.

When should you change your engine oil?

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There are three ways to decide when to get an oil change; namely, every 8,000 kilometres, when the onboard engine service or oil warning lights get activated, or when the colour and consistency of the oil have changed upon visual inspection.

How do you conduct a visual inspection by yourself?

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1652083078735 Check Your Dipstick(Photo Credit: Pexels)

Checking on your engine oil yourself is something that every car owner should know. It's a pretty simple and straightforward five-step process that only takes up about three minutes, so prepare a clean cloth and try it out!

Pull out the dipstick. You can spot the dipstick by looking for a (normally) yellow colour handle on your engine.

Wipe off any oil on the dipstick. The oil reading on the initial pullout is inaccurate as the oil might have splashed higher than its proper level when the car was in motion.

Reinsert the dipstick. This is to get a proper, more accurate reading.

Pull it out again. Observe the oil level, and ensure it’s between the minimum and maximum indicators. Ensure the colour of the oil is of an amber or yellowish-brown shade, and that there's no residue such as dirt and dust causing a more viscuous appearance.

Do not underrate the importance of your engine oil, as engine damage can be extremely costly and complex. There are of course other things you might need to consider and read up on when it comes to engine oil so do your due diligence!

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