NOW LIVE: The Forum 'Ask An Expert' event. The theme is ENERGY. Please post your questions on bills, switches, alternative fuels etc. Our expert MSE Andrew will answer as many as possible

Matching engine oil specs on car's manual with the available products

Ermia Forumite Posts: 32
Second Anniversary 10 Posts
edited 13 September at 7:40AM in Motoring

I have a 2008 Toyota Yaris (engine type 2SZ-FE) with high mileage (115K). It requires a 5W-30 engine oil. However, there are many different 5W-30 oils available, each with its own specifications.

I used to trust online tools to help me buy engine oil. I would enter my plate number and they would suggest a number of oils. However, I realized that an oil suggested by one website might be declared "incompatible" by another website. This made me realize that I couldn't trust these online tools.

For example, Eurocarparts recommends Castrol Edge 5w-30 LL for my car. However, when I try to buy it on Amazon, I get a message saying "This product is not compatible with your car."

This made me do my own research and read the car's manual. I was surprised to find that the annotations used in the manual (such as SL, SM, and SLAC) are different from those used on online products (such as A3, C3, A5, SN-CH-4, 7511 HC, and 7908).

Based on my car's manual:

But when I try to evaluate if a product matches my car, I see completely different things:

For example, let's consider this oil Mannol A3/B4 oil:

5L Mannol ENERGY 5w30 Fully Synthetic Engine Oil SN/CH-4 ACEA A3/B4 WSS-M2C913-B (7511 HC Synthese Engine Oil)

Picture 1 of 2

Picture 2 of 2

How do I ensure that this is best for my car? 

And how shall I choose between the above A3/B4, and the following C3 oil:

Mannol 5L Premium 5w30 Fully Synthetic Long Life Engine Oil Low Saps C3 dexos2 (7908 Advanced Fuel Saving Engine Oil)

Picture 1 of 5
Picture 3 of 5

It seems like the car manufacturers and oil companies speak very different languages! How can I translate?

I am further confused by the fact that my car is old and has high mileage (almost 115K). I don't know which symbols in engine oils indicate that an oil is suitable for high-mileage vehicles.



  • WellKnownSid
    WellKnownSid Forumite Posts: 1,262
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    I'm sure a tribologist will be along soon - but from experience most main dealers will be taking oil out of a bulk tank which will more or less approximate to what's needed across the range but won't necessarily be to the letter for all requirements...  I would suggest you are over-thinking this.
  • Goudy
    Goudy Forumite Posts: 1,175
    Fifth Anniversary 1,000 Posts
    edited 13 September at 8:19AM
    I don't want to sound condescending but I guess starting with basics might help.

    Engine oil comes in different grades/viscosities.
    Some are multi grade/viscosity oils like 5w30.

    Next the are usually made to a independent standards but there are different standards used.
    These are generally:
    API (American)
    ACEA (European)
    JASO (Japanese) 
    Which is why they appear as different languages!

    Within those independent standards are different oil categories, like ACEA B3 or C3 and API SN.

    Then there are often manufacturer standards, so the oil might met something like Fords  WSS xxxx.

    The details from your owners manual state your engine requires an API standard oil.

    As we aren't in America straight API oils can be harder to find but API, ACEA and JASO standards can overlap so you may find API SN, SM and SL oils overlaps with ACEA C3.

    If in doubt, contact Opie Oils.
    Opie Oils - Automotive Fluids, Oils, Parts, Tools

  • fatbelly
    fatbelly Forumite Posts: 19,194
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Cashback Cashier

    The API SN category is an improvement over the API SM category in the following areas:

    • High temperature deposit protection for pistons
    • Better sludge control
    • Better seal compatibility
    • Aftertreatment compatibility
    So the Energy Premium product is meeting a higher standard and, unless it's a silly price, go for that one.
  • QrizB
    QrizB Forumite Posts: 11,427
    10,000 Posts Second Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper
    edited 13 September at 8:54AM
    HHarry said:
    It’s a 15 year old Yaris.  Stick any branded 5w-30 oil in it, and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
    I can see no problems with this.
    However, if you really want to check, look at the pictures of the can of Mannol 7911. On the front and back it is marked with the API grades it meets. These align with your handbook recommendations.
    If you want a longer explanation of how the API and ACEA grade oils, there are plenty of online guides. For example:

    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
    2.72kWp PV facing SSW installed Jan 2012. 11 x 247w panels, 3.6kw inverter. 30MWh generated, long-term average 2.6 Os.
    Ofgem cap explainer. Economy 7 cap explainer. Gas vs E7 vs peak elec heating costs.
  • xzibit
    xzibit Forumite Posts: 652
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Whilst on many engines varying the oil spec or even grade slightly may cause no issues, some engines require the exact oil to be used, for example engines where the timing belt runs in oil. Using the wrong oil on these engines could cause the belt to fail and void any warranty claim. Unfortunately these type of engines are being used in some popular cars nowadays. 
  • daveyjp
    daveyjp Forumite Posts: 12,064
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Not worth losing sleep over.  Cheapest fully synthetic 5w30 will do the job on a 15 year old Yaris.  Other bits of the car will die before the engine.
  • Bigwheels1111
    Bigwheels1111 Forumite Posts: 1,830
    1,000 Posts First Anniversary Name Dropper
    Mannol is good quality oil.
    I was going to use it im my own car, but got such a good deal from main dealer I did not bother.
    My car take 0w-30, ACEA C1, Would help if you could find this number for you car ie ( PSA B71 2312 )
    Only Total make this grade, C1 that is. £50 for 5L.
    Mannol do 20L with C2 spec which is ok for £61.00
    This link might narrow it down a bit for you.

  • Ermia
    Ermia Forumite Posts: 32
    Second Anniversary 10 Posts
    edited 13 September at 12:44PM
    Thanks for the wonderful answers and the guidelines. I don't want to overthink this but every time I buy oil, I do have options and need to pick something. 

    The American standards are pretty simple:  SN is better than SM, which is better than SL. So I should simply pick SN if the prices are similar.

    But the American labels are not always specified when buying and comparing online, as the products usually mention European standards only, and the choice is always between C3 and A3/B4. Based on what I read, neither of C3 or A3/B4 is better than the other:

    A summary of what I've read:
    • ACEA C3: These oils are high-quality, full-synthetic products designed for high-performance engines. They have strict requirements for engine cleanliness and efficiency, long-life performance, and are suitable for engines with aftertreatment devices such as particulate filters.
    • ACEA A3/B4: These oils require higher HTHS (High-Temperature High-Shear) viscosities that may not provide as good fuel economy as an A5/B5 oil but may offer better engine protection in certain engine designs.

    So which one shall I prefer for my old Yaris? They both usually have the same price, so I appreciate any hint that help me choose either of them.

  • Goudy
    Goudy Forumite Posts: 1,175
    Fifth Anniversary 1,000 Posts
    edited 13 September at 12:49PM
    It'll take an oil of API SL spec as minimum.
    It will also take the SM spec.

    At the time that your handbook was written, those are the two API "S or petrol service" specs available.

    Since then SN has come along and it will no doubt run on that as well as they are generally back dateable (though you can rarely use a older spec oil on most newer engines).

    Is one better than the other?
    Probably not due to the age/design of your engine.

    As already mentioned, find the right minimum spec oil and brand you are happy with and use that.

Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 338.8K Banking & Borrowing
  • 248.6K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 447.5K Spending & Discounts
  • 230.7K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 600.8K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 171K Life & Family
  • 244K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards