Engine oil is your car’s lifeblood. Your car’s engine needs adequate engine oil to allow its moving parts to work freely without any hiccups. But did you know that it needs to be at a certain temperature for it to perform its task well? Ideally, engine oil temperature would be in the middle of the scale, neither too hot nor too cold. So today, in this article, we’ll explore what the normal oil temperature for a car is and how it affects the engine.
What is the normal oil temperature?
Normal oil temperature depends upon the type of fuel used in the vehicle. For gasoline vehicles, this varies from around 230 to 260F (110-126.6°C). However, it is slightly lower for diesel-powered engines, at around 200-230F (93-110°C).
However, it is to be noted that these temperature measures mostly apply to conventional engine oils. Synthetic oils are capable of withstanding much higher temperatures, even up to 450F.
How do I ensure that my engine oil temp is normal?
Checking your oil temperature and ensuring that it is at normal levels is critical for your engine’s optimal performance and longevity. Many modern cars come with a built-in oil temperature sensor- Thermometrics Oil Temperature Sensor (OTS), which triggers a warning light if the temperature is beyond normal. However, if your car doesn’t have it, you can check the engine oil temperature using two methods.
- Using a dipstick with a built-in thermometer: understanding if the engine oil on your car is at a normal temp using this setup can be tough. However, it can give an accurate result as it goes directly inside the oil pan.
- An infrared thermometer: You can check if the oil temp is normal by pointing the thermometer towards the oil pan and checking the reading on the LCD screen. However, this may not be as accurate as the reading on a dipstick with a thermometer.
What temperature is too hot for engine oil?
This depends upon the type of engine oil you use in your car. Conventional engine oils start degrading at temperatures around 280 to 300F (138-149°C). However, synthetic oils can tolerate temperatures as high as 450F (232°C). Again, this depends on its brand and the formula used to manufacture it.
Is hot engine oil harmful to your car?
If you notice that the engine oil temp is way beyond normal, you need to cool it down as soon as possible. Hot engine oil can lead to several risks, including a thermal breakdown which even leads to a chemical reaction that alters the viscosity and efficiency of the engine oil.
An increase in viscosity affects the engine oil flow. This builds friction within the engine components, causing serious damage. Furthermore, this can also lead to a fire if left unattended for longer periods.
Also read: How to Tell If an Engine is Damaged from No Oil?
What happens if the engine oil is too cold?
Cold engine oil is prone to contamination as it does not have the necessary temp to destroy the contaminants. When trapped inside the engine, these contaminants can cause power loss and wear and tear to the engine components like pistons and bearings in the long run.
Summing up: Why is maintaining the engine oil at a normal temperature important?
The engine oil on your car needs to be at a specific temperature for it to work properly. Temperature improves its viscosity, protecting the engine from potential damage. As mentioned above, engine oil on your car needs properties to boil off the contaminants and water vapor, which is possible only at an optimum temp.
Furthermore, an overheating engine oil triggers a chemical reaction inside the engine, creating harmful byproducts that degrade the engine components.
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