Continuing digitization has brought the businesses of many companies into the world of the Internet. The biggest problem the German car industry currently faces is the transition from the expiring combustion engine to the electric drive with digitized equipment. The classic product of the “vehicle” is transforming along with the Industry 4.0 slowly into an online service that encompasses the entire transport system. This change not only affects the major car brands such as Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW, Audi or Porsche, but also the suppliers to the automotive sector such as Schaeffler, Continental, Leoni or Dürr. In the future, German car manufacturers are likely to be obliged not only to implement the technological change, but also to implement a change in the scope of services, and especially in the expansion of online services. In doing so, the country, which is famous for its mechanical engineering industry, faces the challenge of successfully advancing into the online world of digitization. Currently, investors on the German stock exchange do not seem to believe in the success of such a change, so that almost all German mechanical engineering stocks listed in the German leading index DAX had to suffer heavy losses in the course of the current year.
This report will deal with the crucial question of how such a potential transition would be possible for Volkswagen and German companies in general. It will take all threats, effects and opportunities in account, and offer a solution concept for the entire German automotive industry. Thereby the Chinese industry will serve as a reference example, where future technologies are easier to implement, and a sound infrastructure for future technologies has already been widely established. In particular, the German car manufacturer Volkswagen is used to draw up a solution, as it operates in both countries, and has already taken various steps in the e-commerce sector.
Volkswagen itself has an extremely ambitious goal for the future. By the year 2025, the Volkswagen group wants to become the world market leader for electric cars. The project is called “Roadmap E” for the e-car offensive. In the coming years, at least one variant with electric drive will be developed and launched on the market for the approximately 300 Group models. However, the “E” in “Roadmap E” does not only stand for the electric motor, but also for the online trade, that is, e-commerce. Customers should be able to put together their vehicle in the network and also complete the purchase there. So far, it lacks the latter: “The majority of the purchase decision is now taking place online, but for a complete shopping experience missing the test drive with the vehicle.
The Porsche Fuhrmann Engine (Type 547) was named after its inventor Ernst Fuhrmann, and built from 1953 to 1964. The Type 547, also called “drawer engine”, is an air-cooled four-cylinder boxer engine with four overhead camshafts that are powered by four vertical shafts. The crankcase, cylinder and cylinder heads of the engine are made of aluminum alloy. The special feature of this engine is its small size and low weight, which is achieved by the materials used and the clever construction.
The 4MATIC was named after the automatically switchable axle drives, which, in contrast to conventional all-wheel drives, are only activated when needed. To control the drives different driving situations are evaluated electronically. With its performance-oriented fully variable torque distribution it combines the advantages of four-wheel drive with those of a rear-wheel drive. This means traction and driving safety combined with a high level of driving pleasure.
☞ The designation 4MATIC was protected as a trademark of Daimler AG until the end of 2014.
A vehicle with 4MATIC is capable of drifting, since the fully variable torque distribution also allows for pure rear-wheel drive. Many vehicles were also equipped with a drift mode specifically for the racetrack. And in the opposite case, it leaves nothing to be desired. For increased driving safety, the adjustable multi-disc clutch, especially on snow and ice, guarantees maximum traction on all four wheels.
Porsche has always been known for its outstanding transmission units. This is no different with the Porsche Tiptronic, the predecessor of the Porsche dual-clutch transmission (PDK). The Tiptronic, which can also be operated automatically or manually as needed, is a good combination of both worlds.
The development of the Porsche Tiptronic transmission was based on the Porsche dual-clutch transmission (PDK) used in 1984 in the Porsche 962 racing car. For the first time in 1990, Porsche used the term ‘Tiptronic’ for the four-speed automatic transmission available with the Porsche 964 Carrera 2. Previously, there was the semi-automatic “Sportomatic” from 1968 to 1980. In 2008, the street version of the Porsche PDK dual-clutch transmission replaced the Tiptronic in most of the sports car models.
☞ Although the brand name ‘Tiptronic’ belongs to Porsche, it has also been used by Volkswagen and Audi.
With the version Tiptronic S, which was first used in the 1995 model of the Porsche 993, shift paddles werde added to the steering wheel. The function of the manual shifting was thereby transferred from the shift knob additionally to the steering wheel, which was not usual at the time. After the introduction of the PDK, the Tiptronic S was mainly used on the Porsche Cayenne.
Among sporty Porsche drivers, for whom driving pleasure plays an important role, Tiptronic is not very popular. It does not meet the requirements of many enthusiasts with its switching times and the switching behavior. In contrast to the PDK transmission, which is pretty successful with its excellent shifting times, many buyers prefer the traditional manual transmission instead of the Tiptronic. Nevertheless it’s a good transmission, and on this point one should not forget that Porsche purists are generally skeptical of any kind of vehicle component with the terrible additional designation ‘Automatic’.
For every Porsche fan, the three letters ‘PDK’ carry a magical meaning. This could be partly because they abbreviate a complicated German term like ‘Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe’. On the other hand, it is due to the seven speed dual clutch transmission technology behind it.
Porsche PDK Dual-Clutch Transmission
The PDK dual-clutch transmission is in principle an automated gearbox, which enables automatic gear changes without power interruption thanks to two sub-transmissions. The gears are either sorted automatically or selected by the driver via the shift paddles on the steering wheel or by tapping the gear lever. In contrast to conventional automatic transmissions with hydraulic torque converter, the transmission of the torque takes place via one of two clutches which connect two partial transmissions to the drive. While the driving force is transmitted to the wheels via a clutch and the first partial transmission, the next gear is engaged in the second partial transmission. When changing gear, one clutch is opened, the other closed simultaneously. While one of the partial transmissions carries the even gears, the other takes the odd ones. The gears are already engaged when shifting, so that the traction is not interrupted when changing gear. This principle allows, like in an automatic transmission with hydraulic torque converter, a gear change in milliseconds.
The first six gears of the PDK have a sporty gear ratio, which means that the maximum speed is reached in sixth gear. In seventh gear, the long gear ratio lowers the engine speed, which optimizes fuel consumption.
The operation of the Porsche PDK largely corresponds to the handling of other fully automatic transmissions. The intervention of the driver is only required when driving off, reversing and parking. On request, the driver can also change the gears manually by using the shift paddles on the steering wheel or by tapping the gear knob.
In the 1980s, Porsche introduced the dual-clutch transmission for racing. The Porsche 956/962 was the first to be equipped with the PDK transmission, and thus achieved great success. With its 54 victories, the 962 is still one of the most successful racing sports cars Porsche has ever built. Since the technology and the computer capacities were still very limited, the serial development was not pursued at that time. In 2008, the PDK dual-clutch technology was transferred to the streets, and replaced in the Porsche 911 the previous automatic transmission ‘Tiptronic S’. At the time of its introduction, the PDK was up to 60 percent faster at shifting gears compared to other automatic transmissions. Following the Porsche Carrera, which was the first to get the new dual-clutch transmission in 2008, a year later the transmission was also offered with the Boxster and Cayman models.
One of the popular features of the Porsche PDK is the launch control. It enables optimal acceleration during start-up, preventing the tires from spinning through ideal power transmission. The engine speed is leveled for maximum drive without loss of traction.
☞ In 2011, the Porsche 911 991 introduced a 7-speed manual transmission based on the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The top speed is achieved as in the PDK in sixth gear, after which the seventh gear is used to save fuel.
The PDK transmission of the Porsche 911 GT3
In 2013, the PDK was improved in its speed and performance, and installed in its new version in the Porsche 911 GT3. In addition to lighter gears and wheelsets, which make the transmission about two kilograms lighter, it has shorter gear ratios. Unlike the usual PDK, where the seventh gear is used to save fuel, the GT3 reaches the top speed in seventh gear. The later model of the popular sports car was also offered on request of many enthusiasts with a newly developed 6-speed manual transmission. Although the PDK with launch control accelerates the GT3 by 0.5 seconds faster than the manual transmission to 100km/h, has shorter shift times, and is offered at the same price, many still choose the ‘slower’ manual variant. The good old manual transmission is not so easily beaten. With intermediate accelerations from low speeds on the circuit, in many cases it proves to be at least as fast as the PDK.
Porsche PDK vs Manual Transmission
An important question Porsche buyers often face is whether they should buy their car with PDK or manual transmission. For the hardcore purists nothing can replace the mechanical feeling you experience when changing the gears with a traditional shift knob. For others, the small bit of additional performance that the PDK offers is in the foreground. When it comes to launching, the manual can’t match the precision of PDK’s clutch control. Many do not care, because in this case you can not use your driving skills. However, you can’t go wrong with the precise PDK, which can also be operated manually in a certain way.
In the case of a used car purchase, the PDK can serve the buyer as an assurance for a durable gearbox. With a manual transmission there is always the risk that the teeth on the transmission cogs were worn out due to faulty gear changes.
It should be appreciated, however, that Porsche (still) offers its sports cars with a manual transmission. Maybe these are the last of their kind. Many other sports car manufacturers like Ferrari or Lamborghini have already discontinued these gearboxes, and only install dual-clutch drivetrains. This is partly because their clientele hardly chooses the manual option. Thus, the Porsche enthusiasts are the last of their kind who can still proudly carry out the gear change themselves.
☞ If you want to know how to pronounce ‘Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe’ in German, you can watch it here:
VANOS stands for variable camshaft control (German:Variable Nockenwellen Steuerung), and is a trademark of BMW AG. It represents a device for influencing the valve timing of the engine by controlling the camshaft. This regulation of the valve opening times allows an increase in the efficiency of the engine, depending on the respective load behavior, which can be used to increase performance and torque and to save fuel. In camshaft drives without such an adjustment, the rotational movement of the crankshaft is transmitted in a certain ratio to the camshaft via a geometrically fixed connection.
The VANOS unit was introduced by BMW in the early 1990s, and is located between the camshaft and the drive gear. While in a conventional valve train, the relative angular position of the camshaft to the crankshaft is always constant, regardless of the engine load, the VANOS makes it possible to set the position of the camshaft in relation to the drive gear, depending on engine speed, load and engine oil temperature. Thereby the relative timing between inlet and exhaust valves is changed.
The first generation: Single VANOS
In a single VANOS, only the intake camshaft is adjusted, which serves primarily to set the inlet closing of the valves, which can optimize torque and performance. Depending on the cam contour, the maximum torque or maximum power can be positively influenced. A back flow of the gases from the combustion chamber into the intake passage can be avoided by the speed adjustment of the closing timing of the intake valve.
The adjustment of the intake camshaft is used in the lower speed range for internal exhaust gas recirculation and increasing the torque. At higher speeds, the aim of the adjustment is an improved power output.
The second generation: Double VANOS
With a Double VANOS, both the intake and exhaust camshafts are adjusted. The variable displacement mainly controls the amount of residual gas. This allows an improved fuel consumption, because with increasing residual gas content, the engine throttling and the charge exchange losses decrease. In addition, the process temperature drops, which leads to lower nitrogen oxide formation.
Another advantage of the VANOS on the exhaust side is the possibility to improve the exhaust dynamics in the lower speed range and thus to increase the torque. The adjustment of the exhaust camshaft thus serves the optimum idling quality or to achieve maximum exhaust gas recirculation rates.
Similar systems are also used by other car manufacturers, such as:
Ti-VCT – Ford
VarioCam – Porsche
Neo VVL – Nissan
Some early VANOS systems are prone to problems with the inner seal rings on high mileage engines. In this case, the factory-installed O-rings made of nitrile rubber are affected because they tend to wear, which leads to problems in the adjustment of the camshaft. A repair is not complicated, but time consuming.
It can be quite worrisome to see the “Check Engine” light flashing in the dash. One panics and hopes that the car has no major defect. In such a case, it is advantageous to have a motor code reader / scanner to perform a quick diagnosis. It can help you decide whether to continue driving or park the car. After all, early diagnosis of a small defect can prevent more damage. An engine code reader might not always tell you exactly what’s wrong with your car, and in many cases you have to go to an auto repair shop. But you usually get good first clues about the problem during a critical situation. Anyway, that’s more helpful than looking clueless under the bonnet and wondering where to start screwing things up. For the operation of such a diagnostic tool you do not necessarily have to be a proffessional vehicle mechanic.
OBD1 & OBD2
Since their introduction, the devices have been constantly evolving. The first generation (OBD1) was only able to signal simple error messages. With the second generation (OBD2), introduced in 1996, one can read detailed values and states of many mechanisms on the vehicle. For example, you can read out the emission values or the current state of the airbags in graphic format. Most OBD2 diagnostic devices are updatable and can even enable a deep diagnosis. In some cases, even a manufacturer-specific diagnosis is provided. Meanwhile, the devices have become so cheap that car owners can buy a decent one for little money.
The most popular diagnostic devices usually have a high quality display and are compatible with a variety of automobiles. In addition, attention is paid to the ability to update, because newer vehicles may require software changes in the future.
The operation of an engine code reader is based on a simple and highly efficient sequence of processes whose aim is to check the functionality of the technical system a vehicle for possible errors and to evaluate them using technical error codes. Engine management systems control the injection of fuel, thereby ensuring maximum engine performance while at the same time saving fuel. When an error occurs, caused for example by external influences or corrosion, it is immediately stored in the error memory. An engine code reader is a simple car diagnostic tool that connects to the vehicle’s computer unit and reads out the error codes. If an error is measured during vehicle diagnostics, the device recognizes the type of error and the associated product-specific error codes. These are indicated after the conclusion of the examination depending on the motor code reader as error codes or in the form of a text.
An OBD device is easy to stow in the glove box, and is almost the basic equipment for every vehicle. In important situations it can be very useful and save you a lot of trouble. Therefore, it is advisable to keep a motor code reader / scanner in the car for problem situations. The device can also be used to control the work of a car repair shop.
☞ If you regularly read the error memory, you can detect malfunctions before they cause major damage.
What to Consider
An engine code reader executes only the pre-installed test processes and thus can only detect those errors which can be determined by the given test routine. If, for example, a device is specifically programmed for the electrical or engine technology of a particular vehicle, only the respective area can be checked and measured. The errors from other areas are therefore not visible in the test results. Therefore, it is advisable to note when purchasing which vehicle models are compatible with the respective device and which areas of the vehicle can be analyzed with it. For private use, universal code readers are recommended, which are designed for most common vehicle models.
Compatibility issues may arise with older vehicles as the onboard diagnostic (OBD) standard was first introduced in the US in the late 1980s. It was not until the middle of the 90s that it was common practice to install control bodies that were able to indicate the faults on the vehicle.
Diesel exhaust fluid (also AdBlue) is a standardized urea solution consisting of a urea-water mixture. It is used to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions in diesel engines, which is achieved by a cathalytic reduction. Actually, you need ammonia, which is not easy to use in its pure form. Therefore, harmless urea is used, which is converted into ammonia only when needed.
Since diesel vehicles have to comply with certain emission standards, they must not drive without the diesel exhaust fluid according to the legislature or only with lowered torque. The vehicles are therefore designed by the manufacturers so that they do not start the engine in such cases, or allow normal operation until the diesel exhaust fluid is refilled. For this reason it’s important to take the warnings in the dashboard seriously.
Storage of Diesel Exhaust Fluid
According to the current safety data, no special measures are required for the storage of DEF. It is chemically stable and does not cause any irritation on the skin or in the eyes. The freezing point of the urea solution is 12.2°F (- 11°C). Frozen DEF can be thawed and used as it does not affect its functional properties. Based on current knowledge, the product also has no harmful effect on the human body. Nevertheless, for safety’s sake, it is recommended to avoid contact with the skin.
Various filter systems are performing many different functions in cars. In addition to the air filter and the oil filter, there are other filter systems such as fuel filters and cabin filters.
Fuel can contain various impurities which, among other things, reach the tank during filling. These are often, for example, pieces of paint or dirt. But also rust, which can be formed by the moisture in the steel tanks, can get into the fuel. Internal combustion engines require fuel filters that clean the fuel before it enters the combustion chamber. This is important because otherwise dirt particles and other substances would significantly increase engine wear. Furthermore, unfiltered fuel can mess up the gas mixture preparation and clog the small nozzles.
If the engine oil is not adequately filtered, foreign matter and dirt in the oil can be hazardous to the engine. In this case, unclean oil can lead to heavy wear on the pistons, liners and bearings, which can directly affect the performance of the vehicle. With qualitative oil filters and regular oil changes these things can be avoided.
For the combustion process, combustion engines require a lot of oxygen, which is absorbed from the environment. The air filters clean this air, thereby enabling a smooth burning process. Dirt particles are trapped either by inertia, diffusion, electrostatic or sieving before they can get to the engine.
A cabin filter ensures that the air that enters the interior of the vehicle through the ventilation and the air conditioning system is cleaned. Dust, pollen and other particles are filtered out, which is particularly beneficial for people with allergies. The filters must be able to fulfill their task even under extreme weather and environmental conditions, thus enabling a comfortable driving experience. In case of excessive use of the vehicle in places with bad air conditions, such as the heavy traffic of the city center, it is advisable to change the cabin filter from time to time.
This article will help you choose the best engine oil for your car, and provide you with all the important information on what to look for. In addition, we have made lists of the best engine oil brands and oil filters to prepare you ideally for the next oil change.
Choosing the right engine oil for your car may not seem very important at first, but it is of great importance to the vehicle. Quality is definitely beneficial for the lubrication of an engine, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. The viscosity alone does not say much about the actual quality of an engine oil. Even inexpensive engine oils perform well in practice, and can easily meet the requirements for the preservation and longevity of the engine. For many, this can be very confusing. To make things even more difficult, there are countless types of motor oils on the market, which are offered at different price categories, and have different properties. So, how do you choose the best engine oil for your car?
The Best Engine Oil Brands
Before we go deeper into the functions and properties of modern motor oils, here is a list of selected brands with our recommendations for you.
☞ We took a close look at all the products and added only trusted engine oils to the list. If you have experienced any problem with one of the listed engine oils, feel free to let us know so that we can improve our recommendations. The list was last updated in 2018.
The Purpose of Engine Oil
The oil supply in the engine is used to reduce the friction of sliding and rolling engine parts. This includes the friction between the bearings, the camshafts with the valves, the crankshaft with the connecting rods and the piston rings along the cylinder wall. In addition, lubricants can be used for heat dissipation, cooling or protection against corrosion. While one often thinks of air and water in engine cooling, engine oil performs this task in the interior of the engine. In some cases, the oil used can even serve to dampen noise. But the primary task of motor oils is the lubrication of mechanical components in the engine. For this purpose, they are manufactured engine-specific and vehicle-specific, and must be designed for the required temperatures and pressures. With the development of technology, the demands on lubricating oils have evolved and specialized. While older engines required better lubrication, modern engines with filter systems require residue-free burning oils. Certain oils are also specially designed for vehicles with high mileage.
Oil filters keep the engine free of debris, soot, and the remnants of unburned fuel taken up by the engine oil. Thus, the cooperation of engine oil and oil filter prevents engine damage, and contributes to the performance of the engine. To maintain engine performance, it is therefore important that the engine oil remains clean and free of debris. As a result of increasing engine power and longer oil change intervals, the requirements for oil filters are also increasing.
The way an oil filter operates is relatively simple. The oil pump lets the engine oil flow through the outer holes into the filter. A gasket ring provides a constant seal of the filter to the engine. Inside the oil filter is the filter paper, which is folded for reasons of space, and thus can be installed as compact as possible. The paper is internally stabilized by a cylindrical plate. The bypass valve allows for pressure relief and enables the oil to get to the engine in case of contamination or clogging of the oil filter.
The use of the vehicle contaminates the engine oil, which over time causes it to fail to adequately perform its important functions. For example, frequent cold starts can result in engine oil being diluted by unburned gasoline residues. At the same time, the additives which improve the friction characteristic of the engine oil are degraded over time. The engine parts, that are exposed to friction, have indeed generally hardened surfaces. However, once this hardened layer has rubbed off, further wear occurs very fast. Regular oil changes can prevent engine damage over the long term and extend the lifespan of the engine. At what intervals the engine oil has to be changed depends on various factors. Here, the general condition of the engine, and the accuracy of processes such as injection and ignition play an important role. As an indicator for a low oil pressure, the driver is informed about the warning light in the dashboard. This can be due to a low oil level or caused by a defective oil pump.
☞ As a common guideline it is recommended to change the engine oil every 10.000 to 20.000 miles. This is usually the case every one to two years. Depending on the engine, it may also be due after 50.000 miles. In addition, you should always check the oil level after 1.000 miles.
If drops of water form on the dipstick, this usually indicates that cooling water has entered the oil. In that case, you should check the cooling water next. If oil is visible in it, it indicates a defective cylinder head gasket. Alternatively, it can also be just condensation.
Changing the Engine Oil by Yourself
A simple oil change can always be carried out in any car workshop. But in a few steps, you can also do the the whole process by yourself. All you need is the right tool for opening the drain plug and a container for the old oil. Before performing the oil change, you should run the engine for about 3 minutes so that the existing oil in the engine absorbs the deposited dirt particles. Then you open the oil cap on the engine and lift the car to get better access to the bottom of the vehicle. Now you should put a container under the car, and open the oil drain plug of the oil tank. Since the oil is still hot, you should be careful. After all the oil has drained into the container, wipe the bottom of the vehicle and close the oil drain plug again. Now you can fill in the new engine oil. In doing so, you should pay attention to the amount of oil specified by the manufacturer and measure the oil level in between.
☞ It is advisable to record the date and the mileage for the oil change made.
Engine Oil Flush
There are many different opinions on engine oil flushing. While some are convinced of the positive effects, others consider it completely redundant and sometimes even harmful to the car. In contrast to conventional engine cleaning, where you clean the outer part of the engine unit, an engine flush cleans the inner parts. For this purpose, special additives with a cleaning effect are added to the engine oil, which are distributed within a few minutes with the oil circuit throughout the engine. In order for the additives to develop their cleaning effect, the engine must be idling for a few minutes. During the cleaning process, the dirt in the engine is loosened and at the same time prevented from settling back on other areas of the engine. Afterwards, the old oil with the cleaning additive and the removed dirt is drained from the engine, and new oil can be topped up.
Modern engine oils contain small amounts of cleansing additives, so an engine oil flush is rarely needed. In older cars, it may make sense, since older engine oils can not remove some residues that accumulate in the engine over time.
How to Change the Oil Filter
For every oil change, it is also recommended to replace the oil filter. For different cars, the oil filter can be mounted in different places. To change the filter you need next to the conventional utensils for an oil change hardly additional tools. In some cases, it may be beneficial to use a suitable wrench head for unscrewing the oil filter housing.
Before you get to work you should let the engine run for a while so that the oil resumes the accumulated dirt particles. After about 3 minutes, the oil should have flowed through the engine well and be ready. Then you turn off the engine, open the lid for the oil filling and lift the car with a jack, or drive it on a lift. After putting a suitable container under the vehicle you can open the oil drain plug and let the worn out oil flow out. Only after the entire oil has run out of the engine can you remove the old oil filter. It should be noted that this is also filled with engine oil, so you should put a container under it before the removal. Use a suitable tool and loosen the filter together with the sealing ring. So that no further oil gets into the environment you can put the old parts in a plastic bag.
Now you should fill the new oil filter partly with oil, so that the oil supply is ready immediately at the next engine start. With a brush you can also lubricate some fresh oil onto the gasket of the new filter before mounting it to the car. After you have installed it together with the gasket ring onto its place you can refill the oil level. Now you should let the engine run again briefly, and if necessary correct the oil level again.
Not every car can handle any oil. Therefore, it is important in the first place to follow the recommendations of the manufacturers, which can be found in the owners manual of the vehicle. In general, the approvals of the vehicle manufacturers can be also found on the engine oil tank in addition to the European and American standards. Especially with newer cars motorists should always pay attention to whether the label of the engine oil contains a release for the respective car. The specifications of many car manufacturers are also similar, so that many high-quality oils can be used simultaneously in several different vehicle brands. It is important to know that engine damage caused by the use of incorrect oil is not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and is also rejected by car insurance companies.
Above we looked at some of the best engine oils available on the market and worked out our list for you. Keep in mind, however, that the listed products cover only certain classes, and our recommendations are therefore more focused on common usage. In general, 5W30 engine oils have the most demanded viscosity grade among car oils. Ultimately, there is no universally best engine oil in the world, and different oils can therefore be better suited for a specific engine or special conditions of use.
☞ You should be careful with unknown brands that are offered on the Internet, as often questionable oils are offered with false manufacturer releases. The oils listed by us are therefore all from renowned manufacturers who are known for their quality.
For customers in America the starburst icon a trustful sign to choose from. It indicates that the oil was tested and meets the requirements of the American Petroleum Institute (API). The institute subdivides the types of oil according to engine type and performance level.
The ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association) divides engine oils into four classes A, B, C and E.
A – gasoline engines in passenger cars
B – diesel engines in passenger cars and light commercial vehicles
C – diesel engines with particle filter
E – diesel engines in commercial vehicles and trucks
In Asia, the associations ILSAC, JASO and JAMA are in the foreground.
☞ Engine oil basically consists of two components: base oil and additives.
Engine Oil for Diesel
The right engine oil depends primarily on whether you have a gasoline or diesel engine. A diesel engine requires a different engine oil than a gasoline engine because, among many other aspects, the combustion temperature is different. In diesel engines, combustion produces significantly more soot particles that accumulate on the engine. These are absorbed by the oil. As a result, the color of the engine oil changes faster in diesel engines than in gasoline engines. A dark color of the oil is therefore not necessarily a sign of a due oil change in diesel engines.
Engine oil for diesel with particulate filter
Diesel particulate filters retain harmful carcinogenic soot particles from the diesel exhaust gases. In addition to soot, remnants of burned engine oil also remain in the filter, which can be a problem there. The residues are mainly formed by the additives that are added to the oils to optimize performance. Unfortunately they sometimes end up in the combustion chamber, and become ashes after their combustion. Since a part of the engine oil always enters the combustion chamber of the engine, the formation of these ashes can not be prevented. The solution to this is provided by specially designed additives that burn with little residue and form as little ash as possible. It is ensured that they have low levels of sulfate ash, phosphorus and sulfur to prevent the particulate filter from clogging.
Engine Oil for Motorcycles
An engine oil for motorcycles differs in principle hardly from conventional oils for cars. However, many motorcycles have a single oil circuit for the transmission and the engine, so the oil is subject to other requirements. Since the same oil, which is responsible for the engine lubrication, must withstand the high pressures in the transmission, it is equipped with additional additives. These allow the oil to fulfill both tasks simultaneously, and to withstand the load on the gear wheels.
Wet clutches are widely used in motorcycles and dirst bikes, and run with the lubrication of engine oil. This is not the case with a dry clutch. However, wet clutches do not tolerate the additives contained in engine oils intended for cars. While the additives in cars provide for a more economical fuel consumption, they reduce the coefficient of friction for the motorcycle clutch.
Viscosity refers to the flow resistance of a liquid, which is an important feature of motor oils. Low viscosity oils spread faster in the foreseen areas of the engine, reaching all corners. In contrast, engine oils with high viscosity can apply a thicker oil film. Different engines prefer one or the other, depending on the concept. Especially for high-performance engines, it is important that the lubricating film does not break at high speeds and temperatures. The viscosity of the oil also changes with rising temperature, which is why multi-grade synthetic engine oils have been developed.
☞ The ‘W’ in the viscosity designation stands for winter oil. The indication ranges from 0 to 25, and indicates up to which temperature the engine oil remains liquid.
0W – to minus 30 ° C 5W – to minus 25 ° C 15W – to minus 10 ° C 25W – to minus 5 ° C
☞ The number behind the W, on the other hand, is an indicator of heat suitability.
Popular Viscosity Grades for Car Engine Oils
The 5w-30 covers a wide temperature range and is recommended by many manufacturers. The oil is thin and keeps consumption low. It has gentle properties for cold starts, and can be used up to high temperatures. Synthetic 5w30 engine oils are considered to be especially pure and of good quality.
The oil is more viscous than the 5W30 and has a more stable consistency. This oil variant ensures less wear on the engine and generally has higher operational safety. This leads to a slightly higher resistance in the engine, which results in slightly higher fuel consumption.
This grade of engine oil has a low viscosity and can result in more efficient fuel consumption because it reduces friction in the engine. At the same time it’s the best engine oil to protect the engine in a cold weather environment. It can contribute to the longevity of the engine by protecting it against the negative effects of frequent cold starts.
Longlife engine oils are fully synthetic low-viscosity oils used in vehicles with computer-calculated longlife service. A 5w30 longlife lasts longer than a normal 5w30 engine oil, and has therefore longer service intervals . Due to the warranty conditions, among other things, they must not be supplemented or filled with other motor oils. A vehicle designed for Longlife service can also be run on standard engine oil. For this, the changeover in the engine control unit must also be set. The disadvantage of longlife engine oils is that, due to their longer maintenance intervals, the oil filters are changed less frequently.
Mineral Oil vs Synthetic Engine Oil
Both mineral oil and synthetic oil are derived from petroleum. The production of mineral oil is cheaper, which is reflected in the lower price. Synthetic engine oils are chemically improved in their properties, and designed for specific needs. In principle, they are therefore used in high-performance engines. Due to their improved quality, synthetic engine oils can also last longer between oil change intervals. For moderate driving on the road, the use of mineral oil is usually sufficient.
The advantages of synthetic engine oils are:
– better cold start of the engine at low temperatures
– the lubricating property can withstand higher load and temperatures
– less wear due to faster lubrication
– under certain circumstances lower fuel consumption
☞ The use of old oils with simpler compositions may cause problems in newer vehicles. Conversely, the engines of vintage cars can sometimes not handle modern synthetic engine oils.
Best Engine Oil for the Winter
In winter, engine oil is of particular importance. As the temperature decreases, oil becomes increasingly viscous. Modern cars prefer synthetic oil, which, while having better winter properties than normal mineral oil, is nevertheless compromised under cold weather conditions. That’s why you should still be careful with modern engines after the cold start, and try not to burden the engine on the first few miles. Only after the engine oil has warmed up, higher engine speeds can no longer have any negative influence on engine performance.
High quality synthetic engine oils are able to retain their viscosity even at low temperatures, allowing them to be pumped quickly through the engine and to all potential friction points. It used to be customary to use different engine oil depending on the season. In winter, for example, you would have switched to something like 10W-30 oil or vice versa in the summer to 10W-40. Today, with the development of multi-grade synthetic motor oils with polymers, it is possible to use the same level of viscosity throughout the year. These synthetic oils are based on low-viscosity oils and contain special additives that ensure that their viscosity only slightly decreases at higher temperatures. For example, engine oil with the 0W-40 viscosity class can be used without problems in the cold winter at minus 30 degrees, and also in summer. This was previously not possible with the single-grade engine oils that were used by the broad masses until the 1970s.
☞ The exact temperature ranges of the individual viscosity classes can be found a little further up under ‘Viscosity’.
High Oil Consumption
It is initially normal for a car to consume engine oil. The normal oil consumption is usually due to the fact that some of the engine oil gets into the combustion chamber and burns there. In older engines, the oil consumption can generally be slightly higher. However, it becomes problematic if the oil consumption is too high, which not only causes additional costs, but also pollutes the environment. If you notice a low oil level, it is advisable to top up the engine oil immediately. It is not recommended to drive the car with low oil. The reasons for increased oil consumption can be anything from normal wear to serious technical problems.
Engines with turbochargers consume more oil than naturally aspirated engines due to the lubrication of the supercharger turbines. At the same time, turbochargers can also be the reason for a further increased oil consumption if the bearings are not tight. In this case, the engine oil can be sucked through the turbine and conveyed with the charge air to the combustion chamber.
Wear on the cylinder, the cylinder heads, the piston rings or valve stem seals also increases oil consumption because (as in almost every case) the engine oil gets into the combustion chamber.
The driving style also has an effect on the oil consumption, since more heavily loaded engines are exposed to higher pressures. In addition, the engine temperature causes a lower viscosity of the oil, which in turn allows more engine oil to pass through the seals into the combustion chamber.
Oil Consumption of Diesel Engines
In diesel vehicles, the oil consumption is usually slightly higher than in cars with comparable gasoline engines. This is normal and should not cause any concern as long as it is below the manufacturer’s limit. The cause of excessive oil consumption in a diesel engine could, for example, occur due to the seals or the injection pump. Even the combustion process can lead to an increased oil consumption. With a regular and professional maintenance you can usually prevent these types of problems.
Engine Oil Stop Leak
An Engine Oil Stop Leak is an additive that is added to the oil to aid the seals in the engine and reduce oil consumption. It can usually be used with all commercial motor oils in gasoline and diesel engines, and develops its sealing effect after about 600-700 Kilometers (around 400 miles). If oil loss occurs due to time-hardened gaskets, it can be effectively remedied by using Engine Oil Stop Leak. The oil loss at unnoticeable small leaks is prevented, and the engine seals made of rubber or plastic such as shaft seals or valve stem seals are regenerated. The rubber parts are lubricated and remain elastic, which also extends their life. In addition, existing engine noise caused by oil loss is reduced, and oil stains on the underside of the vehicle which harm the environment are prevented. Modern products are neutral to catalysts and have no negative impact on oil quality or viscosity.
☞ An Engine Oil Stop Leak does not repair any mechanical damage, but can be very helpful in case of oil loss. The regeneration process of the seals takes about 8-14 days, or up to 400 miles depending on how the vehicle is used. If there is still no improvement, then the cause of the oil loss is probably due to a mechanical defect.
The Best Engine Oil Additives
In addition to the additives already used by the manufacturers, additional additives can be added to the engine oil. These are designed for different functions and load requirements of the engine, and change the properties of the engine oil accordingly. About their effect, and whether it makes sense to use them, there are different opinions. On the part of engine oil manufacturers, most additives are declared superfluous. Even many automakers advise against mixing additional products into the oil. Nevertheless, there are many users who are convinced of their positive results.
Our opinion is that in some cases the use of additives makes sense, as it can improve the properties of the engine oil to a specific function. For a specific fault on the vehicle, which is not covered by the commercial mass products, this can definitely be helpful. Nevertheless, you should inform yourself in advance about the respective additive in order to avoid possible side effects.
☞ The disadvantage of subsequently added oil additives is that you can not say exactly how the effect will unfold with the particular engine oil. For this reason, we unfortunately have no list of the best engine oil additives for you. A popular additive is, for example, the ‘engine oil stop leak’. Its positive effect against oil loss has been proven in many tests.
Mixing Engine Oils
Actually engine oils should not be mixed together. If the manufacturer prescribes a specific engine oil for your vehicle, you should not add any other oil to it, otherwise it will affect the warranty in case of an engine failure. However, it is in principle possible to mix oils that are designed for one and the same engine type. For example, you can easily mix a 5w30 with a 5w40 engine oil, as long as you stick to the engine approvals. But you should avoid mixing the oil for a diesel engine with that of a gasoline engine, because that would affect the engine-specific properties. Engine oil should also never be mixed with gear oil or other oils. Also, mixing mineral oil with synthetic or semi-synthetic oil might alter the properties of the engine oil. Technically, oils can not form a harmful composition for the engine by their mixture. Nevertheless, it is not recommended in some cases.
☞It is better to give the engine a mixed oil than to drive it with too little oil.
Storage of Engine Oil
To ensure that your engine oil remains usable for as long as possible and retains all of its intended properties, proper storage is important. Synthetic engine oil tends to age more slowly than mineral oil because it has a beneficial composition of oil molecules in addition to the additives it contains. The molecules of synthetic oil are more uniform on the surface of the oil, so that oxygen has less impact on it. But even the best engine oil can lose its favorable properties due to external influences and cause damage to the engine. Synthetic engine oils, for example, separate the antioxidant additives and lose their properties over time. In order not to accelerate the aging process, you should therefore make sure that the container is well sealed, and no dirt or moisture can get into the oil. One should also consider that already opened engine oil is not as durable as sealed. Therefore, already opened container should not be stored for more than half a year. Likewise, leakage of engine oil is one of the key points that should be avoided during storage. An oil puddle in the garage or in the basement can significantly increase the risk of fire. Old and expired engine oil can usually be disposed of at gas stations.
A gasoline or diesel engine consists of many hundreds of moving parts, all of which have precisely defined tasks and characteristics. Many of these components press and rub against each other. That would quickly lead to great damage without proper lubrication.
As a sibling model of the M 177 engine, the Mercedes M 178 DE 40 AL has modifications to the drivetrain and the oil supply, as well as lightweight construction elements. The powerful 4.0-liter V8 twin-turbo with direct injection is installed as a front mid-engine on the front axle of the AMG GT (C190), and comes with Getrag’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, which is mounted on the rear axle in transaxle design.
The 510hp (375kW) strong version of the AMG GT S catapults the 1645kg car in just 3.8 seconds to 100km/h. The engine transfers 650 Newton meters between 1,750-4,750 rpm to the crankshaft. With its acceleration, the GT S is 0.2 seconds faster than the base model GT with ‘only’ 462hp. The top speed is electrically sealed at 310 km/h.
Some details of the Mercedes M178
The crankcase is made of an aluminum sand casting and the closed deck-construction provides high stiffness with low weight. The cylinders of the supercharged V8 petrol engine are angled at 90 °, while the cylinder heads are finished with a temperature-resistant zirconium alloy. Four overhead, fully variable camshafts allow direct response and improved fuel economy. The valve train is friction-optimized, and piezo injectors ensure precise direct injection, resulting in optimized fuel efficiency.
AMG is responsible for the high-performance vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. The brand is known for its high-performance V8 engines, each marked with a plaque signed by the fitter. With the M 178, the Affalterbacher deliver a powerful V8 biturbo engine for the Mercedes AMG GT (C190).
The biturbo of the Mercedes M 178 boosts the cylinders with a maximum pressure of 1.2 bar at a maximum speed of 186,000 rpm. It supplies the engine with 2.3 times as much oxygen as a naturally aspirated engine. For a narrower overall design, the two turbochargers are not located as usual on the outer cylinder banks, but are mounted in the inner V of the cylinder. This promises, in addition to the lower mounting position, a more optimized fresh air guidance, since the turbochargers are more centrally in the air flow. Two charge air coolers ensure that the charge air heated by the turbochargers is cooled to a maximum of 25 ° C above ambient temperature before entering the combustion chambers.
Dry sump lubrication does not require a conventional oil pan and enables a low installation position of the engine with low center of gravity. It allows for an active oil distribution by the suction pumps that are located under the engine. They transport the oil to the outside tank, and from there back into the cylinder heads. This setup is advantageous for the oil supply of vehicles with high lateral acceleration due to the direct extraction of oil from the crankcases.
With a fuel consumption of 128hp per liter of fuel and an average fuel consumption of less than 10 liters per 100km, the M178 is powerful and efficient at the same time.
In the current political environment, the future of big engines is uncertain. In the course of downsizing and the drive revolution with electromobility, increasingly smaller combustion engines are installed. The V8 engines are a tradition at AMG, and hopefully will stay with us for a while longer with their powerful engine sound.