From BMWs to Benzs and Everything in Between: Protect Your European Vehicle with the Proper Oil
If you’ve spent the time and money finding a good-quality European vehicle to buy, odds are you’re going to want to take care of it and protect your investment into the future.
But there are a few things that not everyone knows about owning a Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, VW or a vehicle from another European carmaker.
At KLONDIKE, we’ve done the homework and have prepared a quick peek at the key things you need to know about how and why North American and European oils are unique:
Different emission control measures
European emission control standards differ from North American standards in a number of ways including stricter controls on carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions. One of the results of decades of these different standards has been a higher number of diesel-powered vehicles on European roads. While diesel power has advantages, it also has drawbacks: higher nitrogen oxide (NOX) and particulate matter (PM) emissions to name a couple.
To combat this potential increase in pollutants, manufacturers have developed a host of effective emission-control devices to ensure their vehicles meet regulations. The formulation of engine oil can have a big effect on these sensitive devices, causing them to plug up or reducing engine performance if an oil contains too much SAPS – a common term used to describe a particular ratio of Sulfated Ash, Phosphorus and Sulfur in engine oils.
European cars need an oil that is specifically formulated for the emission-control devices that they use, taking into account the SAPS level, ranging from high, to medium to low. Put in the wrong SAPS type of oil and your vehicle won’t run well and you’ll risk destroying downstream exhaust items such as catalytic converters and creating a buildup of deposits and sludge that can damage your engine components.
Less frequent oil changes
Another key difference is the life expectancy of engine oil in Europe vs North America. While many North American manufacturers recommend changes every 8,000 km, many European carmakers recommend up to 24,000 km between changes. These longer run times mean the vehicles need oil that holds up under the stress of thousands of kms of high-performance operation. The primary method of protection throughout these longer run times is a combination of SAPS additives that fight viscosity breakdown and protect against oxidation, wear, corrosion and deposit formation.
More detailed specifications by vehicle manufacturers
In North America, most vehicles using a common oil such as 5W-30 or 0W-30 will be able to use 95% of the 5W-30s on the market. With European vehicles and their unique emission-control solutions, many manufacturers have their own oil specifications, requiring owners to be very particular/diligent about finding the right product for the job. This is where our LUBE-LINK is a lifesaver, offering a convenient, mobile-friendly solution for finding the right lubricant for your vehicle.
Lighter oils bring increased efficiency
Manufacturers across the world have been moving towards a trend of lighter viscosity oils, 0W-20, 5W-30, 5W-40 for example. While this reduced viscosity has improved fuel efficiency and overall performance, it also requires owners use an engine oil that has enhanced levels of protection to resist viscosity shear loss, retain the engine oil’s Total Base Number (TBN) and fight against thermal breakdown. One of the key methods of doing this in Europe? You guessed it, SAPS.
Protecting your investment long term
The bottom line if you own a European vehicle? You need to make sure you’re purchasing top-quality, long-lasting oil like our 0W-20 Euro Full Synthetic, 5W-30 Euro Low SAPS Full Synthetic, 5W-30 Euro Mid SAPS Full Synthetic and 5W-40 Euro Mid SAPS Full Synthetic that offer the protection your engine needs without affecting its emission-control system. As an easy-to-use source of detailed information, KLONDIKE’s LUBE-LINK makes your choices quick and painless.
Getting the goods on SAPS
If you’re intrigued about SAPS and looking for more detailed information, check out a previous blog post: Low and Mid SAPS Content in European Engine Oils Explained.