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ADDINOL engine oils - Which engine oil is the right one?

High-performance engine oils from ADDINOL offer reliable wear protection and an excellent start-up and warm-up behaviour due to optimum low temperature properties and a low viscosity character. Besides engine oils for cars and vans (even modern era and classic cars) the product range also contains engine oils for commercial vehicles and stationary systems, mixed car pools, ships and rail vehicles and motorcycles (2 and 4-stroke) and tractors.

If you are wondering which engine oil is the right one for your car, we can help you quickly. Simply use our Oil-Finder. With the help of your vehicle registration document or by searching for your vehicle (manufacturer/model series/year of construction/PS) we recommend the suitable ADDINOL high-performance engine oil for your vehicle.

In case of doubt, use the excellent and personal service of our application technology. We will be happy to advise you.

Engine oil by viscosity

The operating manual of your vehicle is decisive for the selection of the correct engine oil. The manufacturer provides information on viscosity or SAE class, approvals and specifications (ACEA, API). You will also find these on our labels of the respective products. Below we have summarized our products according to the most important viscosity classes.

Engine oil by OEM

Our quality engine oils provide more than 150 named approvals and also exceed the minimum requirements of national and international car manufacturers. They include, for example, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Ford and Volkswagen Group.

Refilling a car engine with motor oil
Every car needs the right engine oil to make the most of its performance

Manufacture of engine oil

Engine oils are obtained from crude oil and extracted using a complex refinery process. Processes such as distillation, refining, cracking or synthesis produce various base oils which are used in the production of engine oil. A distinction is made between mineral oils and synthetic oils. Synthetic oil is usually used for engine oil because it is very stable to ageing and has better lubricating properties at high and low temperatures.

Engine oil additives

The base oils alone are not sufficient to adequately protect the system in order to withstand the constant load of an engine during operation. Additives must be added to the base oil to work effectively. The proportion of additives in the base oil can be up to 20%. Additives are oil-soluble additives that give the base oil additional properties that it did not have before. This ensures that the engine oil remains operational under maximum load for as long as possible.

Two laboratory workers create engine oil
The correct mixing ratio between base oil and additives is designed in the laboratory

Additives for engine oils can be divided into groups:

Group Additive Property
Effective on the surface Anti-wear additive Protects friction partners from contact and wear
Effective on the surface Corrosion protection additive Protects metals from corrosion through water-repellent coating
Effective on the surface Detergent/Dispersant Binds deposits/dirt and carries them to the filter
Oil protecting Antioxidant additive Protects oil from oxygen storage and slows decomposition
Oil protecting Metal deactivator Protects oil from catalytic processes by abrasion of metals
Oil protecting Antifoam additive Reduces foam formation in the oil and oxygen input
Oil improving Viscosity improver Optimizes viscosity in the range of limit temperatures (cold, heat)
Oil improving Pourpoint improver Provides good lubricating properties at low temperatures
Oil improving Elastomer swellers Protects engine components from decomposition with elastomers

Properties of engine oils

Engine oils lubricate the mechanical components in engines and separate the moving parts from each other. This reduces wear in the engine and ensures a long service life. The efficiency of the engine increases, which in turn reduces fuel consumption. Modern engine oils thus also make an active contribution to reducing emissions and protecting the environment.

Functions of engine oil at a glance:

  • Excellent engine cleanliness through outstanding cleaning abilities
  • Reliable protection against wear and corrosion for long engine lifetime
  • Excellent start-up and warm-up behaviour with a low-viscosity character
  • Reduced pollutant emission
  • Stable lubrication film under all operating conditions
  • Improved friction properties for low fuel consumption
  • Low oil consumption through reduced evaporation losses
  • Excellent all-round protection for catalytic converters and additional exhaust gas treatment systems*

*Please observe the regulations of your vehicle manufacturer

Engine oil designations and standards

Engine oils are classified by various institutes. Therefore, there are various approvals and classes for engine oils, which may seem somewhat confusing at first glance when selecting a lubricant. First of all, we will deal with the important viscosity classes. In a separate guide you can find out more about further specifications and OEM approvals for engine oils.

Viscosity classes of engine oils according to SAE

The viscosity describes the flow behaviour of the oil. It is, so to speak, the resistance of an oil to its deformation. The viscosity depends on the temperature. The oil is rather viscous at low temperatures and thin at high temperatures. Engine oils are divided into SAE classes (Society of Automotive Engineers). The SAE classes are not performance requirements, but merely serve to classify viscosity. Previously, low-viscosity oils such as SAE 10 or SAE 20 were used in winter. In the summer, a change was made to a higher viscous oil. These oils are referred to as monograde oils. Modern multigrade oils such as ADDINOL Giga Light MV 0530 LL (SAE 5W-30) are all-season oils. They lubricate reliably in a wide temperature range. The viscosity index (VI) of an engine oil is decisive here. The higher the value, the wider is the temperature range in which an oil is effective. For example, monograde oils have a VI of 100, multigrade oils have a VI of up to 150.

Monograde oils vs. multigrade oils

Type Asset Drawback Application
Monograde oil Oil viscosity remains stable for a long time, slow oil ageing Strong temperature dependence of viscosity, does not allow good lubrication in a wide temperature range For racing, vintage cars and motor vehicles in areas with constant temperatures throughout the year
Multigrade oil Low temperature dependence of viscosity, good lubrication in a wide temperature range Faster oil ageing and loss of original viscosity For modern motor vehicles in areas with high temperature fluctuations

The monograde oils are divided into summer and winter oils, depending on the temperature range in which they act. Summer oils are specified in SAE classes 8-60. The flowability of the engine oil at 100 °C is decisive here. SAE 8 is very thin, SAE 60 is thick. The viscosity at 100 °C is given in mm²/s. Winter oils range from viscosity classes 0W (the "W" stands for winter suitability) to 25W. Oils with 0W are comparatively thin, 25W oils rather thick. In this case, the engine oils are classified according to the lowest temperature at which they can still be pumped. As the name suggests, the multigrade oils cover several temperature ranges and combine the strengths of summer and winter oils. They are suitable for both high and low operating temperatures. Viscosity improvers are added as additives. The designations of the SAE classes consist of low temperature viscosity and high temperature viscosity. Example: SAE 5W30 is a combination of SAE 5W and SAE 30.

Overview of common SAE classes
Overview of common SAE classes according to defined parameters

What you need to keep in mind:

The viscosity class required by the engine of a vehicle is specified by the manufacturer. You should only fill the engine with oil of the viscosity class for which it has been approved. Otherwise the required oil pressure cannot be built up in the engine. Overpressure can overload and damage the motor seals. The engine could leak and oil could escape. Too little pressure results in inadequate lubrication in the engine compartment, which leads to increased wear.

Engine oil in winter

For the winter, car or motorcycle drivers do not have to fill the engine with special oil. If you already use a multigrade oil with the classification 5W30 or 10W40, your engine is optimally prepared for the cold areas in Central Europe. Engine oils with the dynamic viscosity 5W protect down to -35 °C, oils with 10W protect up to -30 °C. Engine oils with 0W supply the engine with sufficient lubricant even at -40 °C outside temperature. So if you don't intend to venture into the coldest regions of the world, your car should be well prepared for the winter.

However, it is recommended not to drive the car at full speed immediately in extremely cold conditions. The oil is always slightly thicker at cold temperatures and must warm up during operation to reach all lubrication points. However, this happens within a few kilometres. In the first few kilometres the engine speed should not exceed 2.500 rpm. Older passenger cars (classic cars and youngtimers) occasionally still require a seasonal oil change as they do not tolerate multigrade oils. In winter a monograde oil suitable for winter must be filled in.

Engine oils differences and special forms

A large number of private customers mainly require multigrade oil for cars. However, there are several special forms of these oils which we would like to clarify. In addition, engine oils are also required in motorcycles, tractors and vintage cars. These peculiarities are also explained below.

Fuel-efficient oil

Fuel-efficient oils consist of low-viscosity engine oils (synthetic or semi-synthetic) and special additives which improve the lubricating properties. In the engine, they guarantee low mechanical friction losses and thus save fuel. Depending on the driving style, this can lead to savings of 2%-6%. Especially when the engine is still cold and not running at full speed (city traffic), fuel consumption is reduced thanks to fuel-efficient oil. Despite the low viscosity, sufficient lubrication of the motor is ensured even under high loads. Many multigrade oils (especially those with a low temperature viscosity of 0W or 5W) are produced as fuel-efficient oils, as they have to be low viscous even at low temperatures. Whether an engine can tolerate fuel-efficient oil is stated in the manufacturer's specifications. If the engine has a 0W or 5W release, it can be operated with fuel-efficient oil.

Addinol fuel-efficient engine oil 5W30
Fuel-efficient engine oil with specification SAE 5W30 from ADDINOL

Longlife oil

Longlife oil is specially developed for vehicles with longlife service. Their engines are built for extended oil change intervals. It is a synthetic oil with a low friction character, typically in the 0W-30 and 0W-40 range. The oil is particularly resistant to ageing. It can be used longer than oils with standard oil change intervals (e.g. every 20,000 kilometres) when driving gently. The oil change intervals then move between 50,000 and 60,000 kilometers, depending on the vehicle type. Loglife oil is more expensive than regular engine oil, but the costs are amortized by the longer replacement intervals.

The oil change intervals are calculated by a board computer. The computer measures various parameters and uses them to calculate the remaining time, or the remaining kilometres, until the next oil change. The measurements include fuel consumption, oil level, oil temperature, speed, acceleration/braking behaviour and engine speed. Longlife oil must never be mixed with conventional multigrade oils. In this case, the long replacement intervals cannot be observed. The board computer would have to be reprogrammed to fixed change intervals.

Engine oil Addinol Longlife 10w40 MD 1047
Longlife engine oil according to specification SAE 10W40 from ADDINOL

Engine oil for trucks

Engine oils must withstand higher loads in truck engines than in passenger car engines. The viscosities of truck engine oils are usually higher than those of passenger cars. SAE classes in the high temperature range of 40, 50 or 60 are common. It is only with the newer engine generations that low-viscosity oils with SAE 5W30 are being introduced into truck engines. The manufacturer's specifications and the ACEA sequences E4, E6, E7 and E9 apply to the release. There are OEM specifications for trucks, too. The best-known specifications come from Volvo, Scania, Mercedes-Benz, Renault and MAN.

Engine oil for motorcycles

The engine oil of motorcycles must meet different requirements than those of passenger cars. Motorcycles run at higher speeds than cars. In addition, the engines are usually cooled with air and not with water. In addition to the engine, the oil also supplies the gearbox and clutch in one circuit. Due to the gear, the oil is exposed to a higher shearing force than in a passenger car. Motor oils for motorcycles therefore require special additive mixtures in order to withstand the load. High-pressure additives (EP additives) provide a remedy. Motorcycles with oil bath clutches do not tolerate additives to reduce the coefficient of friction as they are present in low-viscosity oils. This increases the risk of the clutch slipping. Therefore, pay attention to the manufacturer approvals before buying oil.

Motorcycles can run on synthetic oil, but not for the first 2,000 kilometres. When retracting a motorcycle, mineral oil should be used to allow the moving parts to adapt to each other. Afterwards, it can be changed to synthetic oil.

Engine oil for tractors

Modern tractors usually have separate oil circuits for the engine, transmission and clutch, which is why the requirements for an engine oil are similar to those for passenger cars. Older tractors with an oil circuit for engine, clutch and transmission require universal oils that are not comparable to conventional car oils. The oils mostly have properties of transmission and hydraulic oils.

Currently the multifunctional oils are classified by the standards UTTO (Univeral Tractor Transmission Oil) and STOU (Super Tractor Oil Universal).

  • Oils with the designation UTTO can be used simultaneously for gearboxes, wet brakes and hydraulics. However, these are not suitable for the engine. Engine oil must be filled separately.
  • Oils with the designation STOU lubricate engine, gearbox, wet brakes and hydraulics simultaneously. They are used in modern tractors.

In contrast to passenger cars, the oil in tractors is not changed after a certain number of kilometres driven, but after operating hours. An oil change every 500 operating hours is common.

Engine oil for vintage cars

Old-timers with H-plates often require special lubricants that cannot be generalized. In this case, let experts from our application technology department advise you so that you do not rely on the wrong oil. In general, vintage cars rarely require the currently used multigrade oils. Oldtimers are usually only driven in summer, do not drive more than 5,000 kilometres a year and have no catalytic converter. Some classic cars do not even have an oil filter. The combustion residues are deposited in the oil pan. If alloyed oils with dispersants and detergents are filled into these engines, the deposits are dissolved and fed into the oil circuit. Increased wear and tear and engine damage are the consequences. Modern oils are too thin for old engines, and additives can also dry out sealing materials such as leather sleeves, cork seals and felt sealing rings. These can then ­no longer trap the lubricant, which in turn causes the oil to leak out of the engine compartment. The choice of the right engine oil is therefore subject to a number of variables.

Newer classic cars that are less than 30 years old usually tolerate modern multigrade oils. However, you should inform yourself about the recommended oil before buying the oil.

Mixing engine oils

Basically engine oils of different manufacturers, no matter if synthetic or mineral oil based, can be mixed with each other. However, this is only recommended in an emergency when the oil level is low and there is a risk of engine damage. The mixing of different oils reduces the quality of the original product in case of doubt. Additivation, for example, can be different, which can cause unpredictable long-term effects. If mineral oil is mixed with synthetic oil, the performance of the synthetic oil decreases, as mineral oil has a much lower viscosity index.

If you need to combine oils from different manufacturers, please pay attention to the following corner points in order to avoid major problems:

  • Both oils must be released by the manufacturer of the vehicle
  • Both oils should be either mineral or synthetic
  • Both oils should have the same viscosity (SAE class)
  • If the engine has clearances for various SAE classes, different oils can also be mixed, e.g. 5W30 and 5W40

ADDINOL does not recommend mixing different oils. You may want to try out different released oils in your engine, but only after a complete change of the used oil. This eliminates unpleasant side effects and you can assess the performance of the new oil in its entirety. If you are forced by an emergency (extremely low oil level) to mix engine oils, perform a complete oil change as soon as possible.

Top up engine oil

Engine oil is nothing more than a wear part. The amount of oil decreases steadily depending on the operating time. This is due to thermal and mechanical effects. The oil evaporates through heat, decomposes through oxidation or ages through wear of the additives. To ensure that the engine is properly lubricated, it is advisable to check the oil level regularly. It is recommended to check every 1,000 kilometres. You should react immediately when the engine light of your car flashes yellow. If the oil level is actually too low, top up the required amount of engine oil that has already been filled. We do not recommend mixing different oils as described above. If you do not change the oil yourself, always ask your trusted workshop for the oil that has been refilled. Of course, you can also specify which engine oil is to be used.

Someone fills motor oil in a motorcycle
If the oil level is too low, top up with oil

Oil dilution - engine oil smells like petrol

When measuring the oil level, it can happen that the oil has a smell of petrol. This only occurs when petrol mixes with engine oil and so-called oil dilution occurs. Oil dilution is an undesirable effect that occurs primarily in petrol engines, but diesel engines are also affected. During a cold start, fuel settles on the cylinder walls and is introduced into the oil via the piston ring. There is a mixture of oil and fuel. Since the oil in the engine usually assumes a temperature of 80-100 °C, the fuel is not completely burned. Parts of the fuel remain in the lubricant and continue to dilute it. This can cause the oil level to rise slowly.

The effect is intensified by driving mainly short distances, especially at cold outside temperatures. The engine is often started cold and rarely reaches the optimum operating temperature. This accumulates a lot of fuel in the oil. So if you have to drive many short distances, it is always advisable to move the vehicle over longer distances and to drive faster. Then the residues of the fuel can burn better. This is because too much fuel in the oil leads to inadequate lubrication. The viscosity of the oil changes and the optimum oil pressure can no longer be built up. In the worst case, the result is engine damage.

Another reason for oil dilution may be a defective thermostat in the radiator. If this cools the engine down too much, too much fuel is also deposited on the cylinder walls.

Representation of an oil dipstick with different filling levels: Empty (left), oil level low (2nd from left), oil level normal (2nd from right), oil level too high (right) could indicate oil dilution

Change engine oil

Since engine oil wears out with continuous service life, it must be changed completely at regular intervals. The deadlines are specified by the vehicle manufacturer. In the long run, pure refilling of the oil is not enough to keep it functional. For example, dirt particles are regularly introduced into the oil, which the oil keeps suspended by additives. If, however, all additives are bound, the dirt settles in the engine and causes wear. Even so, the oil changes its properties through oxygen and water input and can no longer work as intended in the long run. A natural oil aging occurs.

There is no general statement as to when an engine oil must be changed. Pay attention to the manufacturer's instructions. For passenger cars the replacement interval varies between 15,000 and 30,000 kilometres driven, depending on make and year of construction.

If the oil change in the workshop is too expensive for you, you can of course change the oil yourself. To do this, drain the oil from the oil pan of your vehicle. The opening screw is logically located at the lowest point of the oil pan. Always place a shatterproof container under the outlet to collect the used oil and prevent damage to the environment. Then close the oil pan again and fill in the new oil into the engine block.

Changing the oil on a motorcycle
An oil change can also be carried out by yourself on motorcycles or cars

Our tip for an oil change:

If you would like to flush the engine properly and remove all dirt particles before changing the oil, engine cleaning would be the right thing to do. ADDINOL offers the Flushing Oil Super for this purpose. After correct use, the used oil drains off better and leaves less residue in the engine.

Dispose of engine oil

After the oil change only the question remains: Where to put the waste oil? As a general rule, anyone who sells oil is legally obliged to take back and dispose of the same amount of waste oil free of charge. When buying oil, keep the receipt and return the used oil to the dealer. For this purpose, please pour the oil into a shatterproof container. If oil leaks during transport and gets into the groundwater, it can cause enormous environmental damage. In addition, improper disposal of waste oil is subject to heavy fines. If you cannot bring the oil personally to the dealer, shipping by post in a sealed package is also possible. Many municipalities also have waste oil collection points in recycling centres or landfills that accept the oil. However, depending on the quantity delivered, costs may be incurred there. Make sure that the oil is not mixed with foreign substances such as brake fluid or coolant. In this case, the mixture may only be disposed of in hazardous waste facilities. Some petrol stations also offer waste oil disposal. Contact the respective operator to find out how and where this is possible.

Even if it's a bit awkward, for the sake of the environment, take the trouble. The return of the waste oil also has another positive effect. The waste oil can be regenerated by chemical processes and reused. In times of declining oil reserves, large quantities of this valuable raw material can thus be recycled.

Old oil is filled in a canister
Used oil must be disposed of properly