What happens when you choose the wrong engine oil - and how to fix it

Date: 16th August 2019
Author: Graham Henwood

What happens when you choose the wrong engine oil - and how to fix it

Engine oil is often said to be the lifeblood of your car; it flows through the whole engine and makes sure all the different components can work in harmony, so it’s easy to see why it’s important to use the right one. If you put the wrong one in by mistake, what can happen? Lets a take a look at the symptoms and solution for using the wrong oil for your car.

What does engine oil do?

Engine oil keeps your car going in a number of ways. It lubricates engine parts so they can move together with ease, stopping heat and friction. It also acts as a pump, and as it moves around the oil draws heat away from the combustion cycle, which is the process the engine parts go through to keep your car moving.

Over time your oil will break down with regular use and become thinner and contaminated with dirt in your engine, which will hinder its ability to lubricate well and affect your car’s performance, so you must replace it regularly either at a service or if you notice any of the issues below.

What oil should I use?

In order to check which oil is recommended for your car, check the manufacturer handbook, or you can call a local garage and ask an expert. Different types of oil have different properties so you need to ensure you use the right one for your car. Oils vary in weight and thickness (known as viscosity), and you need the optimum viscosity to flow well through your engine.

Signs you’ve used the wrong oil

If you have used the wrong oil you might find the engine seems louder or makes a ticking noise after starting, because the parts are having to work harder to get going. This can also be an issue in cold weather if the oil is too thick and cannot get around your engine as easily as it should, which makes starting the car harder to do.

You might notice a few oil spot in your garage or under your car because using the wrong oil can lead to leaks, or you might become aware of a burning smell while driving. If the oil isn’t working as it should engine parts might not be lubricated well enough and cause friction, which can burn the oil. This is definitely a warning sign and should be addressed quickly.

You might also feel like you’re filling up the car more often, and this could be down to oil too. If the oil you’ve used is too heavy and thick to work well it means your engine has to work harder to keep going and will burn fuel more quickly.

What to do about it

Your car will still run with the wrong type of oil in your engine, and sometimes you can run it through until your next service, but we wouldn’t recommend it. If you realise you used the wrong product by mistake or you start seeing any of the symptoms we’ve talked about you should get your car checked and replace the oil to avoid any long term damage.

If you want advice on this or any other car-related issue, our experts are always on hand to help, so don’t hesitate! Give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help get you motoring again. Take a look at some great feedback we’ve had from our customers.