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A Beginner’s Guide to Motor Oil

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Motor oil, also known as engine oil, is a crucial factor in your engine’s performance and longevity. And while it may seem like just another fluid for your vehicle, it's a rather complex and interesting entity. We thought you might find it as fascinating as we do!

What is it and what does it do?

Motor oil is a lubricant made up of base oils and additives. It prevents the metal parts of your car from damage or wear and tear. Without it, your engine will heat itself up and be destroyed in no time. So the purpose of motor oil then is to minimise the friction between a vehicle's components helping them perform better and last longer.

But that’s not all.

The many functions of motor oil

Apart from being a lubricant, motor oil is a highly specialised product developed by engineers and chemists to perform many essential automotive functions. 

  1. Lubricates – All moving parts need lubrication to keep them from grinding or rubbing against each other and in good working condition.
  2. Cleans – The lubricants suspend contaminants in the oil and by doing so prevent dirt and debris from adhering to the components.
  3. Minimise friction – By reducing contact between components, it minimises friction and wear helping your engine run better and last longer.
  4. Cools – By reducing friction between moving metal parts, the oil helps to minimise the heat buildup. Additionally, it also absorbs heat from contact surface areas and transports it to a safer location.
  5. Protect against corrosion and minimises oxidation – A lubricant prevents or minimises internal component corrosion in two ways:
    1. by chemically neutralising corrosive products
    2. by forming a barrier between the components and the corrosive material, not allowing contact with oxygen.
  6. Dampens mechanical shock – A lubricant film can dampen the blow of mechanical shock and disperses it over a broader area. This minimises wear and tear and extends the component's lifespan.
  7. Reduces combustion byproducts – Fuel byproducts including COx (Carbon Oxides), NOx (Nitrogen Oxides), SOx (Sulphur Oxides) and others are prevented from being deposited on the cylinder walls.

Oil grading – Which oil is best for my car?

The million dollar question. There are so many types of engine oils: mineral, synthetic blend, and fully synthetic, all have somewhat different characteristics and come in different grades. Unless you're studying chemistry there's no need for you to be confused by the technical details. Car manufacturers have you covered. Simply consult your car owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the right oil to use for your vehicle.

Remember that oil wears out, so apart from simply topping up, it’s necessary to change motor oil at regular service intervals.


Motor oil plays a vital role in your engine’s longevity and performance. If the engine is the heart of your vehicle, you could say motor oil is the lifeblood. So it pays to use a high quality brand in the long run.

Supa Quick’s Minor Services are available at selected stores and are approved by the RMI. Locate a Supa Quick branch to book your appointment.

Also read:

4 Important Things to Know About Engine Oil

Minor vs. Major Services – What's the Difference?

Disclaimer: This information is for educational, or entertainment purposes only. It must not be construed as advice, legal, financial, or otherwise. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information.

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