How to change the oil in a classic car

Unlike modern cars, classics need special protection because of the way their engine was designed. For this reason, modern oils are not the best solution, but it is essential to resort to oils thought like 30 years ago.


The definition of a classic car is something that varies depending on who we ask. According to the administration, a classic car is one that is more than 25 years old from its date of registration. For the user, the classic is that vehicle that has been behind for many years and that belongs to a saga that has marked history in the market. In any case, this approach does not matter when it comes to taking care of older vehicles, which need specific products to maintain their performance as always.

This leads us to have to look for tires, filters or even oils specifically designed for this type of vehicle. Let us remember that the way these engines are built, both in terms of materials and their design, is very different from how current vehicles are built. So it is possible that using today’s products, such as modern synthetic oils, is not a good solution. As much as you try to give a classic the best 5W30 oil you can find, the result will probably not be satisfactory.




What motor oil does a classic car use

When it comes to classic vehicles, the first thing we must know is the SAE scale that we must use. This scale is the one that marks the temperature that the oil withstands without degrading, both from the cold and from the heat. In the case of classic vehicles, the most common oil is 10W40, although there are also several vehicles that even require 20W50, due to the high operating temperatures that they can reach while driving. All this without forgetting that some of these classics are even cooled by air and not with liquid, which forces the oil to withstand even higher temperatures.

However, this is not the only reason to use one of these oils. Another reason that justifies the use of this type of oil is its base. Oils on this SAE scale do not have the synthetic base that modern oils have. A base that contains all kinds of elements suitable to take good care of modern engines, but not so much of older engines. Something that can even be a problem, given that the oils from 25 or 30 years ago did not have detergent or engine cleaning properties, as do the current oils. This causes that if we use a modern oil in a classic vehicle, it can release dirt deposits that end up circulating throughout the engine without burning, causing considerable problems in all its parts.

In parallel, these modern oil ingredients can also be aggressive to some engine parts. Among other parts, current and modern composition oils can damage the engine bearings but also the piston area, the cylinders and the rest of the elements that are part of the combustion system. A serious problem, also considering that these engines already have a certain deterioration, derived from the extensive mileage they usually have.


Specific oils, the best solution

Since the use of a modern oil is a considerable problem for a classic vehicle, the truth is that the manufacturers have taken the necessary pains so that we do not have to do it for them. We have the proof in the product line that all the companies that manufacture lubricants have designed specifically for this type of vehicle.

Within this range, we find SAE 10W40 and 20W50 scale products, mainly multigrade and generally mineral-based. A mixture and a formulation that adequately protects all the elements of the engine and improves its performance. In addition, they are oils that, within the adjusted durability of mineral oils, offer adequate performance in terms of mileage. 

But surely the most important thing about these specific oils is that they have the additives and formulas that were used 25 or 30 years ago, without any modern additive that can cause problems. All this in products whose price is as adjusted as that of a current oil, with prices around 10 euros per liter, thus making it accessible to give our classic car the care it deserves.




How to change the oil in a classic car

We close this article with a reminder for the most handyman users, those who always want to do it all. These users will surely want to know if changing the oil of a classic car is a complicated process or if it is just as simple as changing a modern vehicle.

Luckily, the process is just as simple as it would be to change the oil in a conventional vehicle. In practically all vehicles we have the possibility of making the change from below, through the crankcase plug, or through the oil check rod, as long as it has the appropriate size to insert the oil extraction hose. oil.

The only problem that we can find when making these changes is locating that crankcase plug or the oil filter. In some compact models, such as the 600 or the Mini, the small size of the engine is also a handicap when working. In any case, it is very easy to find guides on the net today, both in terms of maintenance manuals and videos of the process, with which it is easy to locate the different elements necessary to carry out a successful oil change.



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