How To Choose The Right Engine Oil: Understanding The Label

The golden rule for selecting a compatible lubricant is to always check and comply with the manufacturer’s recommendations which are specified in the owner’s manual. It will include a viscosity grade list, the oil capacity and specification, and sometimes a list of recommended manufacturers.

Other factors to consider include the age of the vehicle, the climate, and the driving conditions. There are also several types of lubricants, including conventional crude oil, fully synthetic products, and semi-synthetic blends, which all vary in terms of quality.


Understanding the labels and ratings

● The viscosity

You will see something like this on the label: 10W-60. The “10W” represents the oil’s viscosity at low temperatures. The lower this number is, the easier it will flow in cold conditions. The second number indicates its thickness at hot or normal operating temperatures.

● Oil certifications

The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Association of Certified European Automakers (ACEA) have both developed standards and specifications for motor oil manufacturers. Here is a short guide to help you decipher the codes:


API codes consist of two letters, e.g. SN

The first letter refers to the type of engine.

S – Petrol

C – Diesel

The second letter indicates the oil quality. According to the scale (A-Z), “A” represents the lowest quality rating and “Z” would be the highest possible rating.


There are several categories:

A/B – Used for Gasoline and light duty diesel engines

C – Compatible with engines fitted with catalysts or particulate filters

E – Suitable for heavy-duty diesel vehicles (e.g. commercial vehicles)

These codes also include numbers that indicate the quality and applications of the product (A3/B3, A3/B4, A5/B5, C1-C5, & E4-E9).

Expert recommendations: The top 3 motor oils

Our top 3 recommendations

1) Mannol Energy Formula PD is a synthetic product that has been developed specifically for modern diesel and petrol motors. It is compatible with turbocharged engines and those with direct fuel injection systems. The formula has premium low-temperature properties and contains powerful antioxidants.


2) TOTAL Quartz 9000 is specially formulated to provide a high level of protection against wear and to improve the engine’s performance. Its anti-corrosion properties allow for long drain intervals.


3) Advanced formula of Castrol EDGE Turbo Diesel contains titanium, allowing it to change its structure in response to extreme pressures to reduce friction. It is designed to provide lasting protection against wear.



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