Can I add additives in oil?

The components of our oils have been proportioned to reach an optimum result. Adding an additive may create unnecessary and even harmful blends. We do not recommend our customers to add any additives to Total lubricating oils.  Please contact your nearest Total representative in case you need any further advice.

Can I use diesel engine oil in a petrol engine, and vice versa?

Petrol and diesel engines have different lubrication requirements.
During development, lubricants undergo a number of tests, some common to diesel and petrol engines and others specific to one or the other type. These tests categorize their performances.
At the end of this process, they are awarded an API or ACEA compliance standard. These specifications characterize the acceptable functioning of the lubricant in each type of petrol or diesel engines.
Lubricants for four-stroke engines usually comply with both petrol and diesel specifications. For example, an API SJ/CF lubricant meets petrol specification SJ and diesel specification CF. But this does not necessarily mean that it will perform in the same way in both petrol and diesel engines. This is why Total and Elf have developed specialized ranges, optimized either for petrol or for diesel.

Can I mix two different types of oil?

Lubricants are always optimized to meet the requirements of international classifications (API, ACEA). However, there are many ways of formulating a specific type of lubricant. Mixing two oils that have equivalent properties may not pose a problem, but final performance cannot be guaranteed. We advise our customers to drain the current oil before filling new oil. If not, we suggest contacting the nearest Total representative to seek further advice on this matter.

What causes oil pressure to drop?

During normal vehicle operation, oil is vital to ensures leak tightness between the combustion chamber and the crankcase. The oil pressure indicator shows how well this is being done.

An unusual drop in oil pressure can result from either lower engine oil viscosity due to dilution by fuel (injector problem or use at low load) ; too little oil in the lubrication system (due to an oil leak, excess oil consumption, or failure of the oil circulation pump) ; or even mechanical part wear.

Can I use car engine oil in my motorcycle?

No. Motorcycle four-stroke engines do not operate under the same conditions as those of cars (higher engine RPM and temperature). The engine lubricant can also be used to lubricate the gearbox and the clutch, which requires a formula with EXTREME-PRESSURE ADDITIVES. On the other hand, passenger vehicle lubricants contain DETERGENT ADDITIVES with high ash content. In motorcycle engines, these cause deposits to form on the valve train and the piston crowns, which can result in valve burning or piston perforation.

Does the oil have to be topped up?

The engine oil level should be checked regularly to prevent incidents. A small amount of the oil that circulates in the engine is always burnt (an engine in good condition consumes between 0.2 and 0.5 liters of oil every 1,000 kilometers), but successive top-ups are no substitute for an oil change.

Accordingly, it is natural that an engine consumes a small amount of oil, which can be offset by top-ups between oil changes; however, excessive need for top-ups can be an indication of mechanical problems (leaks, etc).

What does a lubricant do?

Lubricants are vital to the correct operation of the engine :

  • Cooling engine hot spots and moving parts
  • Ensuring engine parts remain clean
  • Ensuring leak tightness between engine parts
  • Protecting the inner surfaces of the engine against corrosion,

While additives contribute with their detergent, dispersant and anti-corrosion properties.

How can you judge lubricant performance?

Product labels provide a considerable amount of information about lubricant performance.

What are the advantages of quality oil?

A good quality oil provides motorists with a number of benefits :

  • easier cold start and reduced wear (20 to 30% of engine wear occurs between startup and the time the engine reaches optimal temperature),
  • longer engine life,

fuel savings as a result of reduced friction of moving parts and better engine performance.

What is the advantage of keeping up with the new technologies?

In the area of technology, engine lubricants must consistently evolve toward higher performance levels, linked to engine advances, use, manufacturer requirements, and requirements of users and law-makers :

  • more stringent environmental requirements,
  • ongoing rise in engine power,
  • lower oil crankcase capacities,
  • Longer periods between oil changes.

Conditions of operation also involve :

  • larger highway networks and a higher annual average of kilometers traveled,

Deterioration of city driving conditions.

Why choose synthetic oil?

Semi-synthetic and synthetic oils are made from non-conventional bases using sophisticated chemical processes which confer special properties to the finished product. First, the high level of viscosity of the base oils used gives the finished lubricant remarkably stable viscosity whatever the temperature. This property is one of its major advantages over mineral oils, made from conventional bases which require a greater number of additives in order to improve viscosity. The stability of lubrication in all temperatures guarantees optimum efficacy in the cold starting phase which is particularly demanding on the engine as well as under conditions of extreme heat. Synthetic-based lubricants show greater resistance to oxidation, which gives them longer effective life thus guaranteeing longer engine life. The use of non-conventional bases, finally, permits the elaboration of more fluid lubricants, without being more volatile; resulting in a reduction of oil consumption.

Therefore, choosing a synthetic based oil is the technologically advance choice, for greater efficacy, longevity and controlled oil consumption.

What are the advantages of a multigrade oil?

A multigrade oil is one whose properties have been artificially modified to reduce changes in its viscosity with temperature changes. A multigrade oil will be more fluid at low temperatures and thicker at high temperatures than a monograde oil.

Concretely, that means that

  • when the vehicle is not being used (for several hours), the engine oil sinks in the crankcase so that, on starting, it takes a certain amount of time (a few microseconds) to again reach all parts of the engine that need to be lubricated. Since a multigrade oil is more fluid at low temperatures, it reaches the various engine components more quickly than a monograde oil, thereby reducing wear on starting.
  • Multigrade oil allow “saving fuel” around 1.5% to 3% than monograde oil

Multigrade oils provide better engine protection at low and high temperatures than monograde oils, in that they maintain optimum viscosity over the engine operating temperature range.

Which oil should we use in turbo compressed vehicles?

In order to fulfill the lubrication and shaft cooling needs of the turbo-compressor, oil must answer to very strict criteria. The shaft reaches, a very high temperature, due to the proximity of the exhaust gasses, a very high temperature. Oil must lubricate the shaft continuously otherwise the high temperatures would permanently damage it and the temperature would then very rapidly reach very high levels.

These conditions mean the oil has to offer considerable detergent property, an important resistance to oxidization and deposit formation, but especially very high a thermic stability. The use of SYNTHETIC oils is therefore the most recommended solution in these conditions. Turbo-compressors are characteristic of the diesel engines, as it is very easy for petrol engines to reach the same power level by other means, such as electronic injection, cylinder head multi-valves, etc.

Are all oils adapted to vehicles equipped with a catalytic converter?

The reply is clear and net: NO.

This challenge has been met by the CATALYTIC CONVERTER, whose role is to complete the combustion of the exhaust gas just before they escape into the atmosphere. In order to respect the environment oils must offer a high lubrication property, better detergent and dispersant properties as well as a low sulphur and phosphorous content ( low SAPS). These properties are essential for oils that will be used in vehicles equipped with catalytic converters. The use of non adapted oil can damage the catalytic converter. Synthetic lubricants are highly recommended because of the intrinsic properties of their base.

Why change the oil?

The oil change is an essential operation in maintaining a vehicle in top condition :

  • Because lubricants collect particles of internal and external pollution (carbonic matter, particles of worn metal)

Because an oils efficacy diminishes because of : – dilution by water and fuel, – oxidation, – the consumption of additives, – shearing

How often should oil be changed?

At least once a year

  • The frequency recommended by the manufacturer may be modified according to: – The lubricant used, – Vehicle use (country, city, and highway), – Thermal and mechanical requirements.
  • Never drive with an oil level below the minimum mark on the dipstick as below this mark there is not enough oil, thus causing more rapid circulation of the fluid and accelerated wear on the oil.

It is recommended to check the level regularly every 1,000 km and especially before a long trip.

Can you choose another viscosity grade when changing oil?

Yes, you have to adjust the viscosity according to the conditions of the vehicle’s usage, the environment and the climatic conditions. We suggest you check the manufacturer’s recommendations, they generally provide a range of viscometrics suitable for various ambient temperature conditions. You may also contact your nearest Total representative.

What type of oil packaging should I choose?

If you carry out your own oil change, you will need a 5-litre container, given that the average capacity of the sump is 4.5 liters. If you are topping up between oil changes, a 1 litre container will suffice: it is practical, easy to use and cheaper.

Can I stock oil? Will it deteriorate?

In closed containers stocked at over 0°C, your oil will retain all its qualities for a period of 2 years from the date of manufacture. However, it is recommended that opened containers be well closed in order to avoid contamination by water.
We advise our customers to store the oil packs indoors without exposure to heat, dust and rain.

My engine oil is turning black; does that mean it needs to be changed?

The basic function of the engine oil is to lubricate as well as to clean the engine components. Engine oil cleans the black carbon deposits; soot etc. formed on the engine parts due the combustion of the fuel (diesel/petrol) and thereby becomes black. It does not mean that the condition of the oil is not good. Oil can still be used. However ensure that the oil is changed at the drain interval suggested by the car manufacturer/lubricant supplier.

Can I continue using the oil if I haven’t used my car for a period of 6 months or more?

If the usage of engine oils has not crossed the suggested oil drain intervals (Number of Km), we can continue using the oil even after long period of not using the vehicle.

Are oil drain intervals based on number of km or number of months?

Oil drain intervals are generally based on usage of engine oil for number of kilometers, however the manufacturer suggests early drain (after one month) when the car is new (to take care of running-in).

How expensive is the cost of lubrication ?

Some customers might find that their monthly expenditure towards purchase of oil is high. The below chart compares the cost of lubricant to the total vehicle expenditures.


Started in 1994, First Stop is a fast growing pan-European network global retail brand of almost 2,000 tyre and car service centres in 25 countries, selling over 10 million tyres a year.

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