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 trucks and commercial vehicles, mixed car pools, marine, 2-stroke motorcycles, 4-stroke motorcycles 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

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. Thanks to optimised operating times, it now takes longer for engine oils to be refilled, changed and disposed of.

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 due to optimised flash point and pour point
  • 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.

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. 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 like HTHS oils and Low SAPS 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 1%-6%. 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.

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 15,000 kilometres) when driving gently. The oil change intervals then move between 30,000 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.

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.


Mayka Nehrkorn

Product Manager Automotives

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