Dear start My Car,

With the President’s announcement that schools will close for the next 4 weeks, it is clear that South Africa is nearing the peak of this pandemic. There are positive indications that the Western Cape has already done so and we are hopeful that the coming weeks will bring much needed relief to the country. In the interim, it is critical that we continue to remain vigilant and that we continue to be as cautious as possible.

One of the ways is to purchase on-line where we are able to. Please have a look at the offers that we have for you at Start My Car – our pricing, product range and quick delivery is geared around making your life easier.

Over the last while we have received many questions from you around vehicle care and other technical questions. Following this demand we have asked a technical expert to answer these queries for you. Each week from next week, we will select one and publish the response right here. There are also prizes to be won if you choose yours.

Have a look at the article below. I hope that you find it as interesting as I did.

Stay safe.



What's the weirdest item you keep in your car?

• We're looking for Wheels24 readers to share what weird items are in their cars.

• This story came to fruition after Sean Parker saw a large tissue box on the dashboard of another motorist's car and wondered if it distracted the driver.

We've all seen strange things while driving. It doesn't matter if it's inside or outside: the car provides a space to look out to the rest of the world.

But what about inside our cars? Is there a massive box of tissues on the dashboard that obscures your forward vision? I witnessed this a few days ago, and it was so large I was distracted by it while driving.

Earlier this year, Wheels24 reported on two vehicles which were filled with no less than 29 sheep. Police pounced on the suspects who crammed the animals into a Volkswagen Polo sedan and a light commercial van.

A friend of mine in Johannesburg kept footballs in his boot, and he said it was in case he got pulled over by the metro cops. Make of that what you will.
Strange items that might find their way into cars include food that's fallen out of the takeaway bag, or socks and shoes perhaps from changing into running gear before heading out for a trot.

So now my question is to the readers of Wheels24, what do you keep in your car that you think others might find weird? If you need inspiration, I came across a Reddit thread and some of the answers too 'what is the weirdest thing you keep in your car?' are hilarious.

Reddit poster Phenominimal says: "A box of hats in the trunk. Cowboy hats, a sombrero. Couple other kinds. I just remembered there's a blender in there too."
Another has "two plastic light-sabers in the trunk: "I'm not sure how they got there, but I hope someday it will help settle a road rage argument" in their car."
The funniest entry I came is user 'I had a cow' who said they have 'a tiny bowler hat that fits my Chihuahua. I put it on him when it's sunny."

Here's chance to engage in a lighthearted topic that could have interesting results. Mail us the strangest items you have or have had in your car.


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R 85.00R 69.00
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This week in ecomm

What have you been up to this lockdown, apart from staying at home, practicing social distancing, and watching the rules change like the weather?

Have you become a professional banana bread expert, a refined pineapple beer brewer or a Tik-Tok star?

What we have certainly seen is the rapid increase in the demand for DIY & Automotive Tools, which makes us think, with all that time around the house, there sure to be some budding new mechanics out there?

And the online numbers speak for themselves, with a 32.8% global growth in DIY sales and the demand for well-priced, quality tools on the rise.

With many online retailers offering multiple payment methods, the drop in the repo rate and the banning of both Liquor & Tobacco, the South African consumer has not been shy to spend the ‘extra buck’ to have their favourite new tool brand delivered directly to their front door.

So, make some room in your garage for this week’s best sellers.

Stay safe, Stay connected

This week's top pics

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Liquid error: product form must be given a product
Liquid error: product form must be given a product
Liquid error: product form must be given a product

Guess The Part

Workshop Wisdom

Part 1: Engine Oil

Choosing the correct oil for your engine!

The mechanic has looked over your car. Then, he said something about engine sludge, oil filters, and asks when you last changed your oil. He recommends an oil change and you wrack your memory for that low-price banner you saw in the automotive section for engine oil. But not all oils are created equal. Let us briefly examine the different types and grades of oils.

What oil grades mean?
Given all the motor oil options out there, choosing the right oil for your car might seem like an impossibly daunting task. While there is a mountain of info to learn about the various oil choices, the first step is honestly quite simple: Look in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Your car's owner's manual will list the recommended oil weight, whether that is a standard like 10W-30 or something more unusual. Later, we will explain what that weight means and how you should adjust it based on the seasons.
Next, you need to choose the viscosity (thickness) that is suitable for the temperatures your vehicle normally operates in (again, check your owner’s manual).

Understand the labels/specs

The American Petroleum Institute, API, is a U.S.A trade association for the oil and natural gas industry. Amongst their activities, they set up the industry standard for the energy conservation of the motor oil.

There are two categories: petrol and diesel. Category S is for “Spark Ignition”, for petrol and category C is for “Compression Ignition’, for Diesel. For both, the letter S or C is followed by another letter. For example, SM or CF. The higher the letter, the more recent the technology of the oil. The second letter in the code is critical to read before buying. This is because it indicates the vehicle model year the oil was formulated to service.

The API donut on the right tells you if the oil meets the current SL service rating. It also provides the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) viscosity number and tells you if the oil has passed the Energy Conserving test.


Viscosity refers to a fluid's resistance to flow. In motor oil, it's rated at zero degrees Fahrenheit ( -17,78°C) (represented by the number preceding the "W" [for winter]) and at 212 degrees (100°C) (represented by the second number in the viscosity designation). Motor oil thins as it heats and thickens as it cools. So, with the right additives to help it resist thinning too much, an oil can be rated for one viscosity when cold, another when hot.

The more resistant it is to thinning, the higher the second number (10W-40 versus 10W-30, for example), and that's good. Within reason, thicker oil generally seals better and maintains a better film of lubrication between moving parts.

At the low-temperature end, oil must be resistant to thickening so that it flows more easily to all the moving parts in your engine. Also, if the oil is too thick, the engine requires more energy to turn the crankshaft, which is partly submerged in a bath of oil. Excessive thickness can make it harder to start the engine, which reduces fuel economy. A 5W oil is typically what is recommended for winter use. However, synthetic oils can be formulated to flow even more easily when cold, so they are able to pass tests that meet the 0W rating.

Once the engine is running, the oil heats up. The second number in the viscosity rating—the "40" in 10W-40, for example—tells you that the oil will stay thicker at high temperatures than one with a lower second number—the "30" in 10W-30, for example. What is important is that you use the oil viscosity your car's owner's manual recommends.

Conventional Oils or Synthetic Oils?

If you look on Start My Car, you will see we carry a full range of oils, and that they all kinds of specific purposes: high-tech engines, new cars, higher-mileage vehicles, heavy-duty/off-road SUVs. In addition, you will see a wide selection of viscosities.

If you read your owner's manual, you will know what the car manufacturer recommends for a brand-new vehicle. However, as cars get older or perhaps based on the temperatures where you live, you may want to put in a more suitable grade.

Conventional Oil

This is the oil used in bulk at dealerships and is the cheapest at the auto store, too. Most adhere to API and SAE standards but offer little in the way of additive packages. This is good oil for owners that are religious about frequent oil changes (at minimum once a year or every 10 000kms) and have low-mileage (but well broken-in) engines.

Premium Conventional Oil

This is the standard new-car oil. Most leading brands have one for SL, or highest level, service. Most are available in the common viscosities. Car manufacturers usually specify 5W-20 or 5W-30 oil, though some require 10W-30. These three ratings cover just about every light-duty vehicle on the road, though this is changing as engines become more precise and fussier about specific types oil.

Fully Synthetic Oil:

These oils are made for high-tech engines. If these oils pass stringent special tests (indicated by their labelling), it means they have superior, longer-lasting performance in all the critical areas, from viscosity index to protection against engine deposits. They flow better at low temperatures and maintain peak lubrication at high temperatures. While excellent oil, synthetics are about three times as expensive as conventional oil and not always necessary for most engines.

Use the owner's manual as a guide. If it does not call for synthetic oil, using it will only be an additional expense that may not add anything to the engine's performance or life.

Part Synthetic Oil:

This is essentially premium conventional oil hit with a dose of synthetic. They are formulated to offer better protection during heavier engine loads and the associated higher engine temperatures. These oils are popular with pick-up and SUV drivers because they do offer better protection, but usually cost only a fraction more than premium conventional oils.

Higher-Mileage Oil:

Today's vehicles last longer, and if you like the idea of paying off the car and running the mileage well into six figures, you have another oil choice, those formulated for higher-mileage vehicles.

More than 65 percent of vehicles on the roads in South Africa have more than 75,000 miles (120 000 kilometres) on the odometer. Playing to this growing market, oil refiners and labs developed high-mileage oils. Seal conditioners are added to the oil (the oil can be synthetic or conventional) to expand and increase the flexibility of internal engine seals. The conditioners are very precise and can benefit some engines while not affecting others.

The seal conditioners that flow into the pores of the seals to restore their shape and increase their flexibility. In most cases, rubber seals are designed to swell just enough to stop leaks. But the oil refiners pick their "reswelling" ingredients carefully. Higher mileage oils also have somewhat higher viscosities. They also may have more viscosity-index improvers in them. The result? They seal piston-to-cylinder clearances better and will not squeeze out as readily from the larger engine bearing clearances. They also may have a higher dose of anti-wear additives to try to slow the wear process.


Car and truck engines are usually designed with a specific type, viscosity, and amount of oil in mind. The oil will match the engine's close tolerances, move through the galleries in the correct way and take away heat at a measured pace. It will also match the type of driving the car or truck is primarily used for; for instance, a daily driver will take different oil than a work truck. Use the guidelines in this article to ensure that you choose the correct oil for your vehicle! In next week’s article, we will look at the different additives and how they help your engine.

Keep safe!