Updated at: 08-07-2022 - By: Lucas

When people talk about car maintenance, you might hear words like “motor oil” and “engine oil” and wonder if they mean the same thing.

Even though the terms motor oil and engine oil are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to two different types of lubricating oils. Motor oils lubricate the moving parts of your engine, and engine oils help keep engines clean and free of rust.

Read on to find out more about motors and engine oil!

Is Engine And Motor Oil The Same Thing?

Is Motor Oil And Engine Oil The Same-2

A lot of people who own cars think that engine oil and motor oil are the same thing. But they aren’t.

People often use the terms “motor oil” and “engine oil” interchangeably to refer to base oils that have additives added to them. Additives can be things like dispersants, detergents, pour point depressants, anti-wear additives, foam inhibitors, or things that make the mixture thicker.

Because it has to withstand higher temperatures, motor oil is usually thicker than engine oil. It also has additives that keep the metal in the engine from wearing down and rusting.

Engine oil and motor oil are very similar products on the market right now.

Engine oil serves more than one purpose:

Protection from rust and corrosion

Putting oil on engine parts, and

Keeping mud and deposits from building up

It also improves sealing, keeps the engine cool, gets rid of contaminants, and neutralises acidity to keep the engine from breaking down.

Base oil and additives are the two parts of engine oil. The base oil can be natural, semi-natural, or synthetic. Most diesel engines use oil that has a base of minerals.

The additives change both the physical and chemical properties of the oil to make it work better. They make up about 25% of the oil, depending on what it is used for and how good it is.

Synthetic and semi-synthetic oils are often used in gasoline engines that don’t need to be serviced often or that run under tougher conditions. Since these oils are more refined, they cost more.

Given how much an engine and motor oil are alike, you may also be wondering how to choose which one to use.

The answer is pretty simple: just look in your owner’s manual or ask a mechanic.

Can I Put Motor Oil in My Engine?

The safest way to find out is to check your car’s owner’s manual or ask a local mechanic.

The owner’s manual for the car has a list of the standard oil weight and format. The format number tells you how thick the oil should be.

Stick to the type of oil that the car’s maker suggests for the best performance and to avoid mechanical problems down the road.

Different Types of Engine/Motor Oil

Is Motor Oil And Engine Oil The Same-3

Now that we know that engine oil and motor oil are the same thing, let’s look at the different kinds.

Mineral-Based Oil

Mineral-based or conventional oils have additives like Zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDDP), which keeps corrosion and wear from happening. Phosphorus (an antiwear and antifoaming agent), Sulfur (an antiwear, friction modifier, and antifoaming agent), and Nitrogen are other parts (antioxidant).

There are two grades of mineral-based oils: Petroleum Engine Oil (SAE 10W/30, 5W/20, etc.) and its alternative, Synthetic Engine Oil (SAE 0W/40).

These oils have a lot of alkane and aromatic hydrocarbons, which make them very dense and solidify quickly at low temperatures. They don’t make any sediments, but over time they get solid, which makes the engine wear out faster than it should.

This oil is still used in some cheap cars or when a car maker doesn’t offer semi-synthetic or synthetic motor oil as an option.

This type of oil isn’t as good at preventing rust and lubricating, which is one of the major problems. They also get replaced more often than other oils. The oil can’t handle high temperatures, which is the last con.

Synthetic Oil / Semi-Synthetic Oil

Unlike petroleum oil, synthetic oils are much more refined and are made through a different distillation process. They are made with a base fluid that is a mixture of polyalphaolefins (PAO) with an average alkane chain length of 20 carbons.

Some of the benefits are better resistance to oxidation, thermal stability, and resistance to corrosion at high temperatures. The main problem is that it’s pretty pricey.

According to the ASTM D 4485 category definitions, the base fluid for synthetic oil is made from natural gas, coal, petroleum, or bio-based raw materials.

Since 2008, environmental concerns have led fuel manufacturers to offer more specifications for their products. This is in response to market preferences over the past few decades.

This has made it possible to make a wide range of semi-synthetic products that help save fuel and keep engines in good shape. So, it’s clear that this oil is one of the best ways to replace oils made from minerals.

Full Synthetic Engine Oil

Full synthetic oils are mostly made from high-purity synthetic base fluid, which is made under strict control at very high pressure and temperature. Fully synthetic oil just means that it doesn’t have any parts that come from minerals.

This oil is better than others because there are no dry starts. The instant lubrication protects against wear and allows the engine to start right away after sitting for a long time. Compared to other types of engine oil, it also protects against oxidation better.

But these oils are expensive, but they can last longer because they are resistant to heat and oxidation. This means that you can save money by going longer between oil changes (i.e., up to 15,000 miles). Another big problem is that they don’t work very well in cold weather until they’re fully warmed up.

Petroleum-Based Synthetic Oil

A blend is a mixture of synthetic oil and mineral oil. It is made up of 25 to 30 percent synthetic base fluid and 70 to 75 percent mineral oil made from petroleum. Their very clear colour makes them easy to tell apart from other oils.

The benefit of using this kind of oil is that it protects better than regular or semi-synthetic oils but costs less than fully synthetic oils. It also works well in high temperatures, but it doesn’t stop oxidation as well as full synthetic engine oil.

One problem is that in colder climates, it doesn’t protect your car as well as 100 percent synthetics do. One more con is that petroleum-based oils are not as common as the others.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens if you add synthetic oil to mineral engine oil?

It doesn’t matter if you mix the two. The only problem is that you won’t get the benefits of synthetic oil, which is more expensive than mineral oil.

What if you mix different oil brands?

Due to differences in viscosity, it’s not a good idea to mix different brands of engine oil. But it doesn’t have a big effect on your engine.

How often should you change your oil?

The manufacturer’s instructions or every 3,000 to 5,000 miles is how often you should change the oil. But this also depends on things like how you drive, the type of oil you use, and how old your car is.

Motor oil and engine oil are the same thing, but different companies choose to call them different things.

Check for the starburst symbol when choosing a brand of engine oil. It shows that the oil has been tested and approved by the American Petroleum Institute (API).