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What is a motor oil?

Motor oils are designed to lubricate your engine parts, separating and lubricating moving parts, reduce friction, clean, cool, and protect the engine, enhance fuel economy and in some cases even help to protect the emissions system. In other words, modern motor oils do a lot more than just lubricate.

You may find all the properties of the Xtreme lubricants clearly stated in the technical datasheets available online the PRODUCTS section.

What is a motor oil made of?

Lubricants are a mixture of base oils and additives. These are carefully selected and skilfully blended to enable the oil to provide maximum protection for your engine.

The additives include dispersants, detergents, anti-wear additives, friction modifiers, antioxidants, anti-foam additives, and corrosion inhibitors, viscosity index improvers, pour point depressants, and more.

The base oils can be mineral, synthetic or a combination of them:

  1. Mineral oils are produced by untreated mineral refining (Group I), see Xtreme mineral based motor oils: SYNT & MINERAL; MONOGRADE  and MonteCarlo,
  2. Semi-synthetic oils, synthetic-based oils or synthetic technology oils are a blend of oils produced by untreated mineral refining (Group I) and composed of oils produced by mineral refining with hydrocracking chemical treatment (Group III), see Xtreme synthetic motor oils and MonteCarlo,
  3. 100% synthetic oils are oils fully produced by mineral refining with chemical treatment (Group III), see Xtreme 100% synthetic motor oils: 100% SYNT LOW SAPS; 100% SYNT and MonteCarlo,
  4. Premium oils are lubricants with 100% synthetic molecules, as PAOs and esters (Group IV and V) without any mineral refining, see Xtreme PREMIUM motor oils and MonteCarlo.
Motor Oils Composition

Motor Oils Composition

Is a synthetic oil really better than a mineral oil?

In a word, yes. It really is that simple. Synthetic oils protect better than the best conventional, mineral-based oils, particularly at temperature extremes.

It flows easier in cold weather, therefore no loss of prime when the oil is cold. Also, it is highly resistant to viscosity breakdown (the ability of the oil to flow easily in all temps) from heat, friction, chemical contaminants.

Synthetic oils accentuate certain properties (anti-wear, anti-pollution, anti-corrosion, etc.) and are appropriate for the most demanding and high-performance engines, and for extreme conditions (high temperatures, high pressure).
Synthetic oils provide far superior performance in terms of use and lifetime than mineral oils: synthetic oil change frequency is lower than regular oil change frequency.

On the other hand, synthetic oil can have a few drawbacks as well: it flows easily, therefore synthetic oil is not recommended for use in high mileage engines, and it costs more than mineral oils although it lasts longer (therefore switching to synthetic oil might be more expensive but with a higher return on investment on the long term).

Is there any eco-friendly option available?

Used motor oils can be treated to remove the contaminants and impurities in order to be regenerated and to restore their original properties. It is a complex process, but the result is an eco-friendly alternative to the new virgin base oils.

The recycling process has experienced huge improvements in the last decade. The dark colour or unpleasant smell of regenerated oil is an old story that cannot be told anymore. Nowadays, perfectly restored oils contributing to the well-being of our planet are available.

Italy is the European leader in the treatment of exhaust oils: 98% of the used oils is collected and 90% of it is regenerated.

AxxonOil recognise the importance of defending the environment and our Research and Development department is currently working in developing a new generation of green additives starting from exhaust oils. Read more on the NANOIL project here.


What do the SAE VISCOSITY GRADES mean?

The viscosity describes the internal friction of fluids and indicates their flow characteristics at low and high temperatures.

The viscosity grades of engine oils are defined by the SAE J300 (Society of Automotive Engineers).

It is composed of a number, then the letter W (that stands for winter) and finally another number. The number preceding the letter W indicates the viscosity at low temperatures. The number following the W represents the viscosity at high temperatures: the higher the warm viscosity, the higher the loads the oil can handle at high temperatures.

SAE Grades Table

SAE Grades Table

What do the SAPS LEVELS mean?

The SAPS level defines the portion of sulphate ash, phosphorus, and sulphur in engine oils:

  • Low SAPS – strictly limited portion of sulphate ash (‹0,5%), phosphorus (‹0,05%) and sulphur (‹0,2%),
  • Mid SAPS – limited portion of sulphate ash (‹0,8%), phosphorus (0,07 – 0,09%) and sulphur (‹0,3%) – see Xtreme MID & LOW SAPS product line,
  • Full SAPS – no limitations to the portion of sulphate ash, phosphorus, and sulphur.


ACEA Full SAPS Mid SAPS Low SAPS Fuel Economy


ACEA Full SAPS Mid SAPS Low SAPS Standard Drain Long Drain
E6 – 16/E8 – 22
E9 – 16/E11 – 22


The classification of the API (American Petroleum Institute) describes the quality requirements to be met by engine and transmission oils in the United States.

The current API (American Petroleum Institute) sequences are grouped into S sequences S (SP, SN, SM…) for gasoline engines. S stands for “service”.

The letter C followed by another letter and/or number (CK-4, CJ-4, CI-4…) indicates that the oil is appropriate for diesel engines. C stands for “commercial”.

The second letter in both S and C sequences is assigned alphabetically: the further along we move in the alphabet indicates the latest technology and quality enhancements in motor oils. For instance, SN oils are superior to SM oils in many performance criteria, as well as SM oils are superior to SL oils and so on.


As the operating conditions and engine characteristics fundamentally differ between Europe and the United States, the ACEA (Association des Constructeurs Européens d’Automobiles) introduced its own classification system in the ‘90s. While based on the API classifications, the ACEA sequences focus to a greater extent on the specific lubricant requirements that apply to engines built into European vehicles as well as the respective EURO emission standards. Meeting these requirements also involves the successful completion of test runs for lubricants used in European test engines.

Considering the updates introduced by ACEA in 2021, the following sequences are used for passengers’ cars vehicles:
– A (A3, A5, A7) for lubricants for high SAPS gasoline engines,
– B (B4, B5, B7) for those for diesel engines without particulate filter,
– C (C2, C3, C4, C5 and C6) for oils intended for gasoline and diesel engines with exhaust gas after-treatment devices and limited SAPS level.
For heavy duty diesel engines, category E (E4, E8, E7 and E11) series applies. The E6 and E9 specifications of the 2016 ACEA version have been respectively replaced by the E8 and E11 specifications in 2022.

Do we have other lubricant classifications?

Yes! Beside the API and ACEA classifications, we have the following most common standards for determining the performance category of oils:

What are vehicle manufacturers’ specifications (OEM)?

Some vehicle manufacturers or OEM (original equipment manufacturers) specify that engine oils must meet a range of stringent requirements before it can be warranted in their engines.

The approval process is long, complex and costly, therefore only some oils producers decide to apply for a specific homologation for only few of their products.

If the lubricant satisfies the requirements tested by the vehicle’s manufacturer, the oil is approved for a specific period.

The most common approvals for passenger cars are Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Peugeot and Porsche.

The main approvals for trucks are Mercedes-Benz, MAN, Volvo, Renault, Scania and MTU.

Many Xtreme products are approved by MB, VW, MAN, Volvo, Renault and Mack. OEM


How do I select the right oil for my car?

First of all, a car manufacturer cannot obligate a manufacturer to use certain lubricants and liquids and other liquids for its vehicles, you can always use the matching Xtreme product.

What a vehicle manufacturer does is providing you guidelines on the specifications of the oil you need to use, but not the viscosity. This can be found in the operating manual of your vehicle. If the same are printed on the labels of the motor oil, then it can be used in your vehicle. However, you may wish to trade up to a better specification engine oil.

Choosing the correct engine oil for a vehicle depends on:

  • the car’s type – a high-performance car needs higher performance oil,
  • the car’s age – a lot is expected from new technology engines: high performance coupled with fuel efficiency. Advanced oils have been developed to help keep pace with increased engineering demands,
  • the driving environment – modern motorway driving and heavy stop-start traffic requires higher quality oils to prevent increased engine wear and tear.

To find the right Xtreme oil, you may use our quick and easy research engine.

Can mineral motor oils be mixed with synthetic motor oils?

Yes! The mixability of the motor oils with one another must be possible in order to guarantee refilling at any time. However, depending on the oil added, the quality and properties of the existing oil are changed.

Are gasoline motor oil and diesel motor oil the same?

Yes! The times in which there were special motor oils for diesel engines are long gone. Modern motor oils fulfil both the requirements of gasoline and diesel motors. What’s important in the selection of the right motor oil is much more than the specifications or approvals given by the vehicle manufacturer. If this is printed on the bottle label, then the oil can be used for the respective engine, regardless of whether it’s diesel or gasoline. Find out here how to read the Xtreme labels.

Does the colour of the oil tell you something about its quality?

The colour of a motor oil provides no conclusions regarding quality or age. There are chemical additives that superimpose on the actual colour (amber) of the oil and therefore make it appear darker, even when it’s brand new.

Furthermore, sometimes engine oil becomes dark immediately after being changed. As there are soot deposits in the oil circuit particularly in diesel motors, but also in petrol motors, the oil is often coloured black after the first few revolutions of the motor. However, this is no reason to panic, as the oil is doing what it should: it is cleaning! While doing so, it is absorbing the soot deposits in the motor and then transporting it to the oil filter.

How long is oil good for?

The standard durability in small containers is five years – assuming it is sealed, stored in a dry place at temperatures between + 5 °C and + 30 °C and is not in direct sunlight. All Xtreme and MonteCarlo products bottles are capped with a foil seal for extra safety and durability.


Why changing the oil is important?

You should change your oil and filter at or before the end of oil-change intervals indicated by your vehicle manufacturer. These are based on distance travelled or time. Regular oil changing helps to keep your engine oil in good condition and provides the best protection for all your engine components.

Not changing your oil on a regular basis can significantly reduce the level of protection provided against engine wear. Engine oil acts as a reservoir for all kinds of by-products that form when the fuel burns, including soot, sludge, water and acidic material, as well as unburned and partially burned fuel. At the same time, the stress placed on the oil during engine operation gradually depletes the components that determine the oil’s performance. Refreshing the oil on a regular basis ensures that the right balance of components is present in the oil.

It also removes waste materials that might otherwise result in increased deposit formation, corrosion of metal components and increased wear.

If you simply keep on topping up your oil, you put more stress on the older oil that remains in the engine. And this stress issue has become worse in recent years as lighter, modern engines now run with about 25% less oil in their sumps.

How should I dispose of used oil?

Used oil can pollute the environment and should never be poured down the drain. In many countries, it is also illegal to do so. Instead, take your waste to an official oil-disposal or recycling bank (these are often located at local refuse collection points). Alternatively, ask your local authority recycling officer for guidance.

  1. Wear protection gloves,
  2. After draining the oil from your car’s crankcase, pour the oil into a clean, leak-proof container with a screw-on top. Many household containers are suitable, including original motor oil containers,
  3. Make sure that the container is clearly labelled “Used Oil,” kept out of the reach of children and pets and that it has a secure cap, so it cannot spill,
  4. Take the container to the nearest used oil collection centre. If your community doesn’t have a collection centre, check with your local service station or an automobile maintenance facility such as a repair shop or car dealership. You can also look for the nearest “oil drop.” This is a petroleum industry symbol indicating that used oil is collected for recycling/reuse.