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Motor Oil and Engine Oil: Are They the Same? Questions Answered

  • Things To Know
  • Silas Smith
  • 4 minutes

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Two words that usually confuse the reader are motor oil and engine oil. Are they the same? Especially for new car owners or those not well-versed in car terminology, confusion is possible. We will try to answer this common question along with some information about the different types of oils. 

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Are motor oil and engine oil the same thing? 


Yes. Even though these are two different words, both are the same in the context of the oil change. Both these products are sold under different labels in the market but do the same function. The functions of a motor or engine oil include: 

Lubrication: The engine has a lot of moving parts which, when working for a long time, are subjected to damage. The physical damage to these parts may include wear and tear, which finally results in more serious issues like the car breaking down. In addition, proper lubrication of the engine facilitates efficiency, which means more mileage.  

Dissipation: Apart from preventing engine failure due to damage, motor or engine oil plays a vital role in cooling the engine. The engine produces a lot of heat, and the oil will carry this heat at high temperatures to prevent the engine from overheating. Overheating is yet another reason that can lead to the car breaking down. 

Also Read: At What Oil Life Percentage Should Oil Be Changed?

Frequently Asked Questions 

Are engine and motor the same thing? 


In the context of automobiles, the motor and engine are two different things. Both of these produce mechanical energy as output. The basic difference is that an engine needs combustion to produce this energy, while a motor requires electricity. 

Is an engine oil change the same as an oil change service? 

Simply put, an oil change at the majority of auto repair shops and quick oil-lube locations involves draining and replacing the oil. It is frequently a less expensive process compared to an oil change service. So basically, an oil change means removing the used motor oil from the engine that is contaminated and replacing it with fresh and clean oil. 


However, the oil change service includes more than just replacing oil with a new one. It also includes a detailed inspection of the cabin filter, tires, brake pads, oil filter, fluids, and other items. A typical oil change service will cost more because of this inspection, value, and documentation. 

Also Read: What Oil Does My Car Take?

Are gear oil and engine oil interchangeable? 

Any base oil mixed with additives to improve viscosity, anti-wear characteristics, heat dispersion, and detergency is an engine or motor oil. Engine oil passes through the oil filter and lubricates different parts of the engine as you pour it through to the top of the engine until it reaches the sump. 


As the name suggests, Gear oil does the job of engine oil for the transmission system. Used in gearboxes, gear oils help in preventing wear and tear of components in the gear systems. Just like motor oil, it also has additives to prevent corrosion and scouring in transmission, differentials, and more. 

Can motor oil be used instead of engine oil? 

Since both of them are the same, you can use motor oil as engine oil. Make sure what oil your car uses first. To understand how to find the oil your car uses, read this.

What are two types of motor oil? 

Motor oil or engine oil can be divided into four basic types. 

  • Synthetic oil 
  • Synthetic blend oil 
  • High mileage oil 
  • Conventional oil/mineral oil 

Also Read: How Much Do Oil Filters Cost?

What is the difference between regular engine oil and synthetic oil? 

Regular engine oil, commonly known as conventional oil or mineral oil, is made from petroleum. However, synthetic oil is created in laboratories. Despite both of these being later mixed with performance additives, the synthetic motor oil stands head and shoulders over the other. 


Engine or motor oil is considered synthetic if Group III, IV, or V base oils are combined. Synthetic oils have molecules of the same size, which aids them in moving with less friction, unlike mineral motor oil. It can also last longer in lower and higher temperatures and can reduce engine wear in the long run. Also, there are different types of synthetic engine oil, like 100% synthetic oil and Full synthetic oil.

Here’s more info on top-rated airport parkingthe best parking spots in your city, affordable auto insurance, easy auto refinance, and high-quality car washes near you.


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