Q:

What is the freezing point of motor oil?

A:

Quick Answer

Because motor oil does not crystallize, or solidify, at any temperature, it technically does not freeze, though motor oils at cool or freezing temperatures (32 degrees Fahrenheit or below) will begin to thicken, losing the viscosity that allows the oil to flow and lubricate, making them ineffective and increasing the risk of damage to engine parts. One solution to this issue is to use synthetic oils, which, according to the motor oil manufacturer Mobil India, has shown resistance to thickening in cold temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, crude oil will become quite thick and tar-like as it is cooled, with the substance becoming increasingly thick as it cools.

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Full Answer

As a petroleum product, all types of non-synthetic motor oil will not freeze solid, though they will lose their liquid qualities at low temperatures. For example, diesel oil that is cooled below 0 degrees Fahrenheit will change color and texture, becoming whitish and solid to the point that it will not flow at all. This change is the result of the precipitation of dissolved waxes contained in the oil. Gasoline does not contain these waxes, which is why it is not as sensitive to cool temperatures as petroleum-based motor oils.

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