The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is warning drivers they need to take much greater car about the lubricants used by their car.

The IAM was responding to a survey of 1,000 UK drivers conducted on behalf of Mobil 1, which found that 96% of motorists say they either don’t care which oil is used in their car or simply go with what a mechanic recommends.

Even if they did care, 65% of respondents said they wouldn’t know which oil viscosity grade was recommended by their vehicle’s manufacturer anyway, and 69% were ignorant as to which brand is recommended by their car’s maker.

Tim Shallcross, head of technical policy at the IAM, said: “Engine oil works in the harshest of conditions. It must keep lubricating, cooling and cleaning your engine while being constantly hammered by huge pressures and exposed to temperatures ranging from the sub-zero of a midwinter cold start to the searing heat of the combustion chamber. Manufacturers know the demands placed on the oil and that is why they are so specific in the grade and quality they recommend.

“Responsible owners must take an active role in their vehicle’s health and wellbeing by using the right components to keep the vehicle running safely, cleanly and smoothly, and oil is one of the most important components to get right. The wrong grade or specification can increase engine wear dramatically, risking expensive breakdowns as well as affecting the car’s value.”

Dan McGoldrick, field marketing UK, Nordic and Benelux for ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants, makers of Mobil 1, said: “You don’t need any expert automotive knowledge to get involved with deciding what engine oil should be used. Do a little research, talk to your mechanic and express a preference. It’s your car and your money, and using the right engine oil will make both go further.”

The Mobil website has an ‘oil selector tool’ for motorists. From the homepage click on ‘car engine oils’, then ‘which oil for my car’ to access the search function where users need to input their vehicle registration number in order to discover which oil to use.