What happens if cheap oil is poured into the engine in winter?

What is Winter?

In Russia, this year began with crazy frosts – in the north it was minus 60 ºС. And this is real winter.

And the southern winter is when the green grass is a little powdered with snow, while the thermometer drops to zero.

Agree: the weather conditions are completely different. This means that the approach to car maintenance, the choice of consumables and fluids will also be different.

No car manufacturer requires the use of engine oil produced with a specific technology. It only indicates the operating category (SL, SM, SN) and the SAE designation (0W, 5W, 10W).

We look at the temperature

Today, the instructions increasingly contain a single oil for each climate, for example 0W-20. For cars of considerable age, more viscous oils were previously recommended, for example 10W-40.

Military always take into account the real condition of the serviced engine and pour more viscous oils into worn engines.

It turns out that you can take oil on any basis – even mineral, even synthetic? But here lies the trick. Mineral oils with the first number in the designation 0 or 5 do not exist!

Namely, the first digit that comes before W (winter, winter) characterizes the minimum negative temperature at which the motor pump can supply oil.

For example, if zero is paramount, then crankshaft rotation is guaranteed at temperatures up to -35 ºС, and oil pumpability – up to -40 ºС. More precisely, the oil manufacturer guarantees that at the specified temperatures, the viscosity of its product will not exceed the values ​​​​defined by the SAE classification.

Existing mineral oils start at 10W – this is their limit. We look at the table: it specifies the maximum start-up temperature at -25°C. If there are no severe frosts in your region, you can fill such mineral water.

SAE Low Temperature Viscosity Requirements for Engine Oils

SAE class

Maximum viscosity, mPa×Of

cranking up



6200 at -35 °C

60,000 at -40 °C


6600 at -30 °C

60,000 at -35 °C


7000 at -25 °C

60,000 at -30 °C


7000 at -20 °C

60,000 at -25 °C


9500 at -15 °C

60,000 at -20 °C


13,000 at -10 °C

60,000 at -15 °C

Choose by quality

This is not all the trouble for mineral water apologists. The exploitation category (quality level) of mineral oils does not exceed the SL grade.

By today’s standards, this is an age-old requirement. He was successively replaced by SM, SN, SN+. And finally, SP is the quality ceiling for today.

So if your car’s manufacturer requires oils of a higher category than SL, forget about mineral water.

Oil is bad too.

The temperatures indicated in the table only refer to fresh engine oil. This is often forgotten not only by car owners, but even by military personnel.

After several thousand kilometers, the oil parameters begin to “sink”. Resins and slag enter it, which deteriorate the starting properties of oils, causing the stated starting temperature to rise by 5–6 °C.

Therefore, instead of the promised “minus 25”, in practice there will only be “minus 19-20”.

Today, both synthetic and mineral motor oils are available for sale. However, remember that if synthetics exist in almost any guise, mineral water only covers the SAE range from 10W and above, and in the business category they do not rise above SL.

Today, both synthetic and mineral motor oils are available for purchase. However, remember that if synthetics exist in almost any guise, mineral water only covers the SAE range from 10W and above, and in the business category they do not rise above SL.

Conclusion: don’t look for mineral oil – especially for winter use. The engine may not start and the economy comes out sideways.

Commentary from Avtodom Group of Companies Technical Support Service

“Switching from synthetic to a more budget mineral engine oil is acceptable when driving a high mileage car with a naturally aspirated engine. Including provided that the consumption of engine oil exceeds the normalized indicators and the annual mileage of the car does not exceed 10 thousand km on average.

A less viscous synthetic lubricant will cause oil to leak through oil seals and gaskets in a worn engine. This risk is reduced when using mineral oil. However, you will have to update the mineral lubricant about twice as often (after 7,000 kilometers) to protect the engine, unlike synthetic.

Because of this, the use of mineral oil will not save the motorist. If it is necessary to use a mineral lubricant, it is important to remember that when changing the oil, the old lubricant must be completely removed from the engine and then the engine must be flushed.

Source: Z R


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