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Which Oil to Put in a Recently Purchased Car?

With the goal to provide you with the highest-quality content, we’ve come up with a fresh and interesting subject whose author is no other than Stevan Dimitirijevic, Dr. Sci. in Metallurgy Engineering and research associate at the Innovation Centre of Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy in Belgrade.

So, you’ve just purchased a used vehicle, but you can’t quite put your finger on what type of oil to put in it. The logical choice would be to follow viscosity grading and norms recommended by the manufacturer. If the engine is in good condition, the initial viscosity grading is always the best solution and the engine is to work best with it. It seems reasonable, short and quite simple, right? However, there have been a number of unknowns in regard to the aforementioned concept. 



Typical example 1: Say the vehicle’s clock is showing 150.000 km, but the actual mileage is probably along the lines of 200.000 km…A lot of people (repairmen, colleagues, friends) tell me to put 10W-40 in it and don’t think twice about it.

If the owner’s manual allows for 10W-40 to be used as well (along with 5W-40 or 5W-30), that can be alright. Nonetheless, even then, the 5W-30/40 oils are a much better choice since they have a higher-quality (synthetic) base and quite often contain better (more) additives than the semi synthetic 10W-40 oils.

Typical example 2: I could somehow live with 5W-40, but the idea of using 5W-30 and those “thin” ones doesn’t quite sit well with me…

This is a pretty common dilemma for the owners of a lot of Ford (Volvo) and Peugeot/Citroen – as well as some Fiat – vehicles, which come with manuals saying the following norms have to be met: 
Ford WSS-M2C913-C (or B), PSA 2290, Fiat 9.55535-S1, that is ACEA A1/B1 (A5/B5) and ACEA C2.

These oils are characterized by a lower level of viscosity within the 5W-30 viscosity grading and they look “like water” (at least, that’s how they’re described most of the time) to the naked eye, which arises (groundless) suspicion and even produces a slight fear in the users. Any fear is totally groundless! Stories involving excessive oil consumption, if oils from the manual are used, are also exaggerated. 



Most users look for an engine which is, at the very least, in solid condition (within the factory tolerances, which, of course, is difficult to check), when buying (and testing) a vehicle, which is why most salesmen - and later buyers - claim the engine to be as good as new.

If that’s the case, the primary recommendation of the manufacturer is always good enough (taking into account the inevitable mechanical wear of the engine compositions after a few thousands of active hours).

Total oils, in this case, INEO ECS 5W-30* and Quartz 9000 Future NFC**, possess a level of quality which guarantees ideal protection of engines (compatible with aforementioned oils), even those with a significant mileage on them. 

*Official PSA 2290 approval, meets ACEA C2, ideal for PSA and Fiat engines, where ACEA C2 is required, and for many others.
**Has the FORD WDD-M2C913D official approval, backward compatible with C and B, thus meeting ACEA A5/B5 and API SL/CF. Ideal for most Ford engines, as well as for Volvo and many other Japanese vehicles.

The situation is pretty much similar when it comes to many other vehicles, where 5W-30 is the suggested value (default). The only difference is that instead of the aforementioned requirements (depending on the manufacturer), there can be a requirement that HTHS is to be greater than 3,5 mm2/s. In that case, you should use oils which meet the requirement. This is a common occurrence for Japanese and German (VW, Mercedes-Benz and BMW) vehicles, which usually have that kind of request.

TOTAL INEO MC3 5W-30 is simply an ideal oil for these situations. It's suitable for vehicles with VW engines (VW 502.00/505.00/505.01). 

TOTAL INEO Long Life 5W-30 has an additional advantage when it comes to VW engines because it can be used for flexible oil change intervals (usually up to 30.000 km).


A vehicle doesn’t have a service book or it has one, but it doesn’t show that a more viscous oil has been used during checkups.

In this case, it’s necessary to plan one oil change with a shorter change interval (approximately half of the standard one, for example, 6 months or 7.500 km). Having done so, you can proceed with the standard routine. By doing this, you get to clean up most of the residue within the engine, which, as a result of this, will be in good condition. Furthermore, you’ll reduce the effect of excessive oil consumption, which comes as a consequence of a high-quality oil following a low-quality one. Come next oil change, the oil consumption can still be (somewhat) higher than what it actually should be, but following a third oil change, it should remain within its regular limits and it should be proportionate to the condition of the engine. If the engine is in good condition (at least, you’ll know where you stand with it, indirectly), the consumption will be moderate and within what the manufacturer has anticipated. Make sure you check the level of oil more frequently throughout the first two oil changes than usual (until you catch an ideal interval for something like that). 




An owner’s manual has viscosity grades ranging from 5W-30 do 10W-60 and different requirements. What should I do (I’m totally confused)?

This isn’t a rear “commodity” (even though the range of viscosity grading is usually smaller). Such cases require, the first time after the purchase has taken place, the use of synthetic oils, at least the most viscous ones available on the market. This suggests 5W-40 in most cases, possibly 5W-50 if in accordance with the manual, or if 10W-60 is mentioned as a possibility (not as the default value, but as one of the possibilities).

Make sure you use these oils at least one more time (so, two times in a row). By doing this, you will get an insight into the real level of oil consumption, as well as the state of the engine. Although it’s not a common occurrence, viscous oils can sometimes cover up certain issues regarding vents. If a used vehicle is under guarantee, you’ve missed your chance to file a complaint. It’s only after that that you can use more viscous oils (10W-40 ili 15W-40/50), which are semi synthetic or even mineral, but only if they’re of an appropriate level of quality (API SL/CF, ACEA A3/B4, MB 229.1, VW 501.01 etc.). This can be a good choice if you’re trying to cut down the maintenance cost (but only in cases where 10W-40 is allowed along with the default value) and especially if you’re driving a small vehicle (your annual mileage is low, for example, below 10.000 km, especially if that’s less than half of the normal service interval).

In these instances, we recommend the use of the TOTAL QUARTZ 9000 5W-40 synthetic oil of high quality. If the manufacturer’s requirement is such that TOTAL QUARTZ 7000 10W-40 meets it, that’s also a good option, which can cut down the maintenance cost for vehicles which are less used.

We hope that you’ve found this article useful. For any questions, unknowns and suggestions you may have, please, feel free to contact us.

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