Frequently Asked Questions on use of Balmerol Automotive Grades

Q: What is TBN ?

A: Full form of TBN is “Total Base Number”. Every 1 Ltr of fuel which is nothing but hydrocarbons with presence of Sulfur and Nitrogen, when burnt produces 1 Ltr of water vapor and oxides of S & N (SOx & NOx). When the engine cools down, water vapor condenses to water and reacts with acidic SOx & NOx to produce Sulfurous & Nitrous acids. These acids degrade the oil and corrode the metallic parts of the engine. TBN content of the oil arising due to detergent & dispersant additives added in the oil, helps neutralize the acids so generated and protects the engine from corrosion.

Q: What is Flash Point ? Why it is important ?

A: Flash point of a flammable / combustible liquid is the lowest temperature at which it can form an ignitable mixture in air. At this temperature the vapor may cease to burn when the source of ignition is removed. If the temperature is increased further, the vapor continues to burn after being ignited. This is called Fire Point. There are two basic types of flash point measurement, open cup and closed cup, commonly known as COC (Cleveland Open Cup) where the sample is contained in an open cup where the ignition source plies at a definite height over the level of liquid and PMCC (Pensky-Martens Closed Cup) where the sample is contained in a cup sealed with a lid through which the ignition source can be introduced periodically. Determination of Flash Point is important because when a lubricant (say engine oil or gear oil) becomes contaminated with either any light oil or fuel, the flash point decreases and use of the lubricant in the engine system may become unsafe.

Q: What is Pour Point ? Why it is important ?

A: Pour point is the lowest temperature at which the lubricant continues to flow. At this temperature the lubricant can still be pumped. Beyond this temperature, it stops flowing and starts to freeze. It is measured in multiples of 3 deg C, i.e; 6, 0, (-)3, (-)6, (-) 24 deg C etc. In case of engine oils , gear oils etc, Pour Point Depressant additives are added to the base stock to reduce the Pour Point so that the lubricant can be pumped at lower temperature.

Q: What is Viscosity & Viscosity Index ?

A: Viscosity is an important property of a liquid, which resist to flow. The slower is the flow of a liquid on a surface, we call it more viscous and the faster it moves, we call it less viscous. Again viscosity varies inversely with temperature. At higher temperature, viscosity reduces and the liquid becomes thin. At lower temperature, viscosity increases and the liquid becomes thick. The best example is that of Cocoanut oil which appears thin in summer and solidifies in winter. Kinematic Viscosity of any mineral lubricant is normally measured at 100 & 40 degree C which help measure the Viscosity Index of the oil. Viscosity Index is a number derived from the values of Kinematic Viscosity of any lubricant @ 100 & 40 deg C. The higher is the Viscosity Index, the lower is the variation of viscosity with variation in temperature. As for example, Balmerol Easy Ride Premium CH4 15W-40 having VI (Typical) 135 will have less variation in viscosity with variation in temperature than PRD Plus 20W-40 having VI (Typical) 110 only.

Q: How are Multigrade oils superior to Monograde oils ?

A: Monograde oils are seasonal oils, say 5W, 10W, 15W, 20W etc. which are low viscosity oils used in winter and SAE 20, 30, 40 etc. which are high viscosity oils used in Summer season. A Multigrade oil is a combination of both, e.g; 5W-30, 15W-40, 20W-40 etc. which can be used over a wide range of temperature i.e; both in Winter and Summer seasons due to less variation in viscosity. The basic difference between a Mono-grade & a Multi-grade oil is that Multigrade oils contain Viscosity Modifiers which are absent in mono-grades.

A good Multi-grade oil has the following benefits

  • Effective operation over a wide range of temperature.
  • Better sludge control.
  • Better protection of engine.
  • Improvement in fuel economy.

Q: What is the difference between 10W-30, 15W-40 and 20W-40 oils?

A: The difference in the oils is viscosity. Oils that have two numbers in their rating are called multi-grade oils. Oils that have lower numbers are thinner than oils that have higher numbers. Multi-grade oils can be used over a wide range of temperature i.e; the same oil can be used in winter as well as in summer, whereas Mono-grade oils are season specific. When the engine is cold the oil must be thin enough to get to all of the engine’s components, but when the engine warms up the oil must not be too thin to enhance friction and wear in engine parts. For example, 10W-30 oil acts like SAE 10W when cold and SAE 30 when warm. Both 15W-40 & 20W-40 oils behave in the same way in summer, but not in winter. Always refer to OEM’s manual for the correct viscosity rating for your vehicle.

Q: The oil drain plug on my car does not get tight. What can I do? Can it do any harm if not tightened properly ?

A: The oil drain plug’s threads are stripped out. This can happen if the plug has been over-tightened. You have two options. Replace the oil pan or use an "oversized" self-tapping oil plug to create new threads. In case of the drain plug not tightened properly, oil may get leaked out.

Q: The oil drain plug on my car does not get tight. What can I do? Can it do any harm if not tightened properly ?

A: The oil drain plug’s threads are stripped out. This can happen if the plug has been over-tightened. You have two options. Replace the oil pan or use an "oversized" self-tapping oil plug to create new threads. In case of the drain plug not tightened properly, oil may get leaked out.

Q: I took off my oil cap and noticed a white mucus type material. What is this and is it harmful to my engine?

A: It sounds like you have sludge buildup in your engine. This is generally caused by not changing the oil at regular intervals. Some OEM’s manuals indicate oil change intervals of 8000-10000 KMs. In that case, changing of engine oil in every 6 months or 6000 – 8000 KMs - whichever comes first, can protect the engine better. Sludge in the engine will increase friction, chock the lubricant filter, thus reduce the engine's life. Make sure that if the drained out used oil is too black and contains sludge, clean the engine with a suitable flushing medium before taking a fresh charge of engine oil.

Q:How should I take a fresh charge of engine oil ?

A: Used engine oil should be drained out when it is warm, not cold. It is advised to drive the vehicle 5-7 KMs before going to the service centre. Wait for 5 – 10 mins and allow the used oil to drain out, when it remains warm. Wait for 30-45 minutes so as to drain out drops of used oil. Check the appearance of used oil on a filter/blotting paper. If there is presence of water, sludge and carbons, flush the engine system to make it clean. Avoid retention of any residual light oil in the system. Now take a fresh charge of engine oil and avail the best performance of it.

Q: What will happen if I make a mistake to put 20W-40 in my engine instead of 15W-40 what is advised by the OEM ? Will it cause damage to my v ehicle engine ?

A: The difference between 20W-40 and 15W-40 is the viscosity (thickness). New generation diesel cars recommend to use 15W-40 because of lower viscosity of oil at lower temperature i.e; in winter season, although both the oils have the same thickness in warm climates. The lower viscosity (15W-40) is used to circulate the oil quickly throughout the engine when the engine is cold. Check your OEM’s manual and see if use of 20W-40 is allowed during warmer climatic conditions. The correct viscosity of oil should be used as recommended by the OEM.

Q: In my vehicle , I am advised to use 5W-30 oil ? Can I use 10W-30 oil ?

A: The difference between 5W-30 & 10W-30 oils is the viscosity at lower temperature. Viscosity of 5W oil is lower than that of a 10W oil. In colder regions, say temperature below 0 deg C, a 5W-30 oil, if recommended by the OEM, should be used for better performance. At higher temperature all are SAE 30 oil having the same viscosity and any one of the two may be used without facing any difference in performance.

Q: What is top-up ? How does it happen ?

A: some oil goes above that level and gets burnt because of the temperature being 800 – 850 deg C above that level. This loss of oil is called top-up. When an engine oil gets sprayed into the cylinder, it is supposed to travel upto the height of the “scrapper ring”. If it goes above due to either defective scrapper ring or ring sticking This may also happen due to any mechanical shortcomings in the engine system, like leakage of gaskets, inadequate tightening of oil drain plug etc.

Q: How does the oil travel up in the cylinder sleeve ? What is a scrapper ring ?

A: A piston has normally three rings, the top most is called the scrapper ring as it scrapes the engine oil back down, the second ring is the compression ring and the lowest ring is the oil control ring from where the oil is forced into the cylinder sleeve.

Q: What is ring sticking ?

A: Piston rings fit like elastic clip on the grooves of the piston and when the piston moves, diameter of the rings keeps on changing as the cylinder sleeve is slightly oval in shape. However if any carbon or dirt particles or sludge get stuck to the ends of the ring, it does not allow free movement and hence develops “ring sticking”. Ring sticking may result in high oil consumption, lack of compression and degradation of oil due to blow by gases entering into the oil sump.

Q: Are blow by gasses harmful ?

A: Blow by gases contain unburnt fuel, hydrocarbons, oxides of Sulfur and Nitrogen. They make their ways from the ignition chamber towards the sump containing oil due to ring sticking. Unburnt fuel dilutes the lubricant, degrade the oil and may cause engine seizure.

Q: What could cause blue smoke to come from my car’s tailpipe? Is the engine oil bad ?

A: Blue smoke indicates burning of oil. This usually signifies that the piston rings are worn. When the piston rings are worn, oil can bypass the piston and enter the combustion chamber where the temperature is normally 800 deg C or more. The oil is then burnt with the air-fuel mixture and the engine may have a severe damage.

Q: What is sludge in used engine oil and how is it formed ?

A: Sludge is formed when the carbon and soot content in oil increase due to either use of adulated fuel or use of oil beyond its draining period or quick oxidation / deterioration of oil due to additive degradation, water contamination, bad operating conditions etc. To prevent this, standard quality of engine oil having good quality base oils, additives, anti-oxidants etc. should be used and quality of oil in use should be checked occasionally before finally drained out after the prescribed distance / period, if so mentioned.

Q: How does a lubricant become colored ? Has color any impact on performance of the lubricant ?

A: Natural color of any Base Oil varies from colorless or very light (Group II onwards) to light yellow or darker (Group I). The ultimate color of the engine oil, gear oils or any other lubricant become due to the combined color of the base oils and additives added to it. Apart from natural color, appearance of any other color (like red, pink, golden or fluorescent yellow, green, blue etc.) is due to addition of dye. Dye or color has no impact on the performance of the product. It has an aesthetic value only.

Water contamination in Engine Oil ?

Q: How can you detect when a lubricant becomes contaminated with water ? Is there any adverse effect due to water contamination ? How can you avoid that ?

A: Any engine oil, gear oil or other oil look hazy or turbid due to contamination with water. Fresh oil becomes contaminated with water, if the container is not stored carefully or under a covered shed. Engine oils may be contaminated with water while in use due to malfunctioning of the engine system. It is to be noted that every 1 Ltr of fuel or HC burns to produce 1 Ltr of water vapor. This water vapor condenses to water and may produce acids which contaminate the engine oil Water contaminated oils are not advised to use as the additives may get hydrolyzed and properties of the lubricant may get lost. Water contamination in fresh oils may be avoided through proper storage of packs under a covered shed with caps tightened properly. Any filled barrel stored in open space should be stored horizontally with alignment of the bungs at 9 - 3 position.

Deposition in the Packs of Engine Oil.

Q: I find slight deposition at the bottom of the pack of engine oil. What is this ? Can I use the oil ?

A: Slight deposition at the bottom of the pack can happen due to the following reasons.
  • Separation of insoluble foreign or dye particles.
  • Inadequate blending/mixing of the additives with base oils.
  • Presence of wax in the base oils used.
  • Contamination with water
  • Improper dehydration of base oils before addition of additives.
  • Deposition of some portion of the additives due to incompatibility of additives with the base oil used. This may happen after a time gap of 3 to 6 months or more.
  • Improper preservation of engine / gear oil for a longer period (more than a year).

In case of slight deposition, the oil may be used either by slow decantation leaving aside the sediments or mixing the sediments well with the oil and filtering through a good filter.

In case of heavy depositions, sample should be sent to QA Lab. and technical service persons of Balmer Lawrie to be contacted.

Deposition in the Packs of Gear Oil.

Q: I find slight deposition at the bottom of the pack of Gear Oil. How could it happen ? Can I use the oil ?

A: Slight deposition of hazy/turbid material at the bottom of Gear Oil barrels may happen after 3 to 6 months due to presence of either wax or moisture or both in local bright stock used as the base oil. In such case, leaving aside the hazy/turbid portion, rest which is clear and bright can be used safely.

Excess Oil Consumption ?

Q: Is there any reason for excess oil consumption ?

A: The reason for higher oil consumption may be the followings :

  • Burning of oil due to, piston scrapper leakage, worn out rings etc, worn out valve system etc.
  • External leaks due to rupture of gasket, seals, lubrication pipes, loose nuts etc.
  • Wrong recommendation, use of lighter grade, adulteration with lighter oil, fuel etc.
  • Old engine working at higher temperature
  • Fresh oil used in a vehicle of overhauled engine.

Excess Oil Consumption ?

Q: I switched over from brand XXXX to Balmerol Ultima CI4 Plus or say any other grade of Balmerol. I found excess consumption. I changed again to brand XXXX. Excess consumption stopped. Is the engine oil used bad ?

A: Please check the model of the vehicle. If it too old, manufactured before April 2000 and engine is overhauled, excess consumption may happen. Detergency level of Balmerol grades being high, it initially cleans the deposits on the piston and cleans the sludge content on the rings & piston grooves. Because of this, top-up may increase. However after the next oil change everything becomes normal, rings play normally and excess top –up stops.

Engine oil … TBN Content.

Q: TBN of Balmerol Ultima CI4 Plus 15W-40 is 10.5 whereas that of xxxx 15W-40 is 13. Is PRD Plus inferior ?

A: What is more important is the retention of TBN not the initial TBN. Because of better quality detergency level in PRD plus retention of TBN is much more than any other similar grade of competitors. PRD Plus may, therefore, be used over a longer period without deterioration in TBN level. Balmerol grades give better protection of the engine and that is why it is "The Best in the Long Run".

Superiority of Balmerol Engine Oils

Q: Why Balmerol Grades are superior to similar others of competitors’ ?

A: Balmerol Products are formulated by our own R&D using best quality Base Stocks (mainly Group II base oil balanced with Group I & Group III wherever required) fortified with best quality additives and manufactured following the standard methods developed by our experts. All activities from blending to filling in small packs are done in our own world class plants under close supervision of Production & Quality Assurance experts. Quality is built-in in every pack. Many of our competitors’ products are blended and packed outside their plant.

Can Gold Premium CF4 15W-40 be used in a petrol Engine ?

Q: Can Balmerol Gold Premium CF4 15W-40 be used in a petrol Engine ?

A: Yes, Balmerol Gold Premium CF4, 15W-40, although specially designed for turbo charged diesel engines, having its specification as API CF-4/SJ, can also be used in passenger cars with petrol engines. However, we feel that the best optimum performance from a vehicle can be obtained by using a dedicated oil as advised.

Gear oils

Q: Why should I use Multigrade Gear Oils ? Is there any advantage ?

A: Multigrade Gear Oils contain Viscosity Index Improvers and hence can work over a wide range of temperature and has more advantage than a Mono-grade oil. Due to presence of polymer, it can give more protection of gear parts and draining out interval is also longer.


Q: Why should I use Coolant, not plain water in the radiator of my vehicle ?

A: Coolant contains Ethylene Glycol which improves the Freezing Point & Boiling Points significantly. That is why it is also known as an antifreeze. Our Coolant is advised to use @ 1:2 with water. Freezing Point & Boiling Point of pure water are 0 deg C & 100 deg C respectively whereas that of a mixture of our Coolant & water @ 1:2 are (-) 35 deg C & 105 deg C respectively.

Our Coolant has the following advantages over water,

  • Effective heat exchange fluid
  • Freeze & boiling protection
  • Protection of metallic parts of engine from corrosion.
  • Compatible with plastic & elastomers.
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Chemically stable
  • Compatible with hard water.
  • Low foaming properties.

Can I mix Coolant (or Brake Fluid) with Engine Oil ?

Q: Can I mix Coolant or Brake Fluid with Engine Oil ?

A: Major constituents of both Coolant & Brake Fluids are chemicals which are synthetic materials and are not miscible in Engine Oils, hence can not be mixed. If mixed accidentally, they will form a heterogeneous mixture and can be used neither in the engine system nor in the Brake system nor radiator.

Can I get an oil tested in case of complaint ? What is the Response Time ?

Q: Can I get an oil tested by Balmer Lawrie in case of complaint ? What is the Cost ? What is the response time ?

A: Yes, in case of complaint, if the field staff are unable to satisfy the end user, the used or fresh oil sample (300 ml in case of oil & 500 gm in case of Grease) may be sent to any of our Quality Assurance Laboratories. The test report along with suitable advice will be sent to the concerned distributor who will in turn inform the dealer/end user accordingly. This service is provided at free of cost and the response time is normally one week from the date of receipt of the sample at Lab.

Can I get a free replacement in case of complaint ?

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