Is It Possible To Use Diesel Engine Oil In A Petrol Engine Car?

Is is okay to use diesel engine oil in petrol engine car?

It is not recommended to use diesel engine oil in a petrol car. Variation in their additives, a higher amount of anti-wear and the engine oil viscosity of the two are major reasons why diesel engine oils will be highly incompatible with petrol engine car. 

We are all aware of the many properties of engine oils and how they influence your vehicle. The most important of them, being the ability to provide effective lubrication to the engine. Depending on the type of vehicle engine, the engine oil will also cater differently. Lets learn more about the difference in petrol & diesel engines to get a clear idea.

the difference between a petrol engine and diesel engine

First and foremost, let us acknowledge the difference between their engines. A petrol engine vehicle is known as spark ignition engines, (SI). This engine requires a spark plug to ignite the air-fuel mixture. Whereas, the spark plug is redundant in diesel engines and they are more commonly referred to as compression-ignition engines, (CI). This is why the engine oil used in a diesel-run car is extremely compressed. 

To put it simply, diesel engines have to withstand conditions of higher compression, viscosity, extreme internal temperatures, surface tension, deposits of sulfur, ignition tendency and elevated rates of oxidation. 

These are the demands of the engines, hence diesel engine oils are also formulated to function and last for those conditions. That said, petrol engines work on the principle of the internal combustion. They generate power by burning a highly volatile fuel which is gasoline/petrol. 

Can diesel engine oil be used in petrol engines?

The answer is a no. Both diesel engines oils and petrol engine oils are formulated considering specific conditions and requirements for the said engines. 

But although they both cater to different engines, they both are broadly similar in their design and composition. 

To explain, let us understand what constitutes an engine oil. These are made with a blend of base oil and additives. Now depending on the combination or mix of various additives, they will somewhat vary. 

For example, it is said that diesel engine oils contain a high amount of anti-wear additives as compared to petrol engines. 

This is the property that heightens the lubrication for the internal engine parts but this additive contains zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDDP). During combustion, some of the byproducts such as zinc and lead hamper the system’s converter. This performs the crucial role of stabilizing the harmful byproducts of combustion before they are out in the atmosphere. 

But the diesel system’s catalytic converters are equipped for handling this problem. So, if you decide to use diesel engine oil in a petrol engine, the latter will not be able to deal with the same challenge. 

Contrary to this, many do suggest that if the specifications of the oil match that of the owner’s recommendations, you can run a petrol engine on diesel oil. However, for optimal performance and efficiency, using petrol engines oil petrol cars is the right way to go. 

What is the difference between diesel engine oils and engine oils?

The first difference is the ability of the higher load of anti-wear in diesel engine oils. Secondly, diesel engine oils are said to have more additives. These are additives per volume. 

The purpose of this is mainly to clean and neutralize the acids. Thirdly, the viscosity in diesel engines is much more in comparison to petrol engine oils. So, putting diesel engine oils in your petrol-driven car would be subject to many issues.

What happens if you use diesel engine oil in petrol engines?

Given the differences in both lubricants, it is highly likely that swapping them would be ineffective and borderline dangerous. 

One issue raised earlier was the incapability of petrol engines to deal with the higher load of anti-wear additives in diesel engine oils. 

Next, the increased amount of additives in diesel engine oil can injure the petrol engine and your car performance. 

Another would be the viscosity. Higher viscosity diesel engine oils would severely affect petrol engines. To name a few, there would be intense heat from the internal friction of the fluid.


Using petrol engine oils for petrol engines and sticking to diesel engine oils for diesel engines is the only way you can get the best out of your car.

It also goes without saying that the most important thing to remember amidst all of this is to always remain loyal to the owner’s manual. It will mention the right engine oil to use for the specifications and the model of your car, whether that be a diesel or petrol-run. 

The said engine oil will provide excellent and smooth functioning of your vehicle, ensure your engine remains healthy and functions for a long time. 



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