Motul Dispells Myths and Provides New Insights on Engine Oil

Text by James Wong; Photos by Motul
5 May 2022

... low engine speeds and low oil temperature will lead to severe wear and sludge creation.

OneShift had the rare opportunity to sit in a virtual meeting with Arai Katsuya, Managing Director R&D at Motul, and we used the opportunity to dispel common myths as well as to gain some insights on engine oils in vehicles we see more common today than ever before - hybrids with start-stop technology. We also heard his views about sustainability and what contribution Motul is making in this regard. Our followers have also submitted questions and we got some of them answered, too. 

A veteran of the lubricant industry, Arai-san has more than 30 years of experience in this field, 19 of which have been spent in Motul. A masters graduate of Applied Chemistry and a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, he has led the development of racing fluids for Japanese OEMs. 

Does Motul encourage consumers to add engine oil additives? ​

As long as MOTUL's products are used, we do not suggest using the top-up additives as our products are designed to work with a required performance. Any top-up of the additives will ​force users to compromise the API, ACEA and OEM credentials.

Given driving conditions in Singapore are rather severe, what kind of oil change interval does Motul propose? Do we follow car manufacturer's recommendations? 

​We do suggest to follow the OEM recommendation except for 300V. For 300V, we suggest to drain every 5,000 km to maintain the best performance.

What does Motul recommend for classic cars? 

Our products are designed to be so-called backward compatible regardless of base oil quality. Any quality can be chosen. However, you have to be careful regarding the choice of the viscosity grade. 30 years ago, the car was made in 1992 for example. The major viscosity grade at that time was 10W40 in Europe, 10W30 in Japan and USA.

Are special oils required for hybrids? 

In short, yes. There is higher oil degradation for hybrids. Due to higher water condensation, the engine oil is exposed to severe oxidation and more severe wear.  We would recommend using our hybrid range of oils if one is concerned about wear. 

With frequent engine start-stop in modern fuel-saving technology, will these degrade the oils faster? 

In start-stop traffic, engine oil temperature remains low. Fuel also mixes with lubricant, so the mixture is more viscous than expected, potentially creating sludge. Basically, low engine speeds and low oil temperature will lead to severe wear and sludge creation. 

What has Motul done with regards to oil sustainability? 

We already have renewable/plant based oils in the 300V series, which is somewhat carbon neutral. We also use bottles with recycled plastics. However, one has to consider if recycled oil is sustainable in the long term? For example, to collect waste oil is problematic and expensive, as is the treatment of it. It may not be environmentally friendly to recycle oil at this stage.


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