Are You Using the Right Motor Oil?
Proper Motor Oil is Essential
Choosing the right kind of motor oil is an important part of caring for your engine and keeping it running as good as new. So how do you know which kind your car needs? You may refer to the recommendation of your car manufacturer, and you can’t go wrong. Still, it pays to know a little bit about why certain types of oil are appropriate for specific types of vehicles. And if there’s one thing you should be familiar about, it’s viscosity.
A Bit about Viscosity
In the world of automotives, viscosity refers to oil’s resistance to flow. The higher the oil’s viscosity, the thicker it is, and the slower it flows. Conversely, the lower its viscosity, the thinner the oil is and the faster it flows. Relating this property to engine performance, oils with high viscosity are better for cold areas because this type of oil will not easily freeze at low temperatures. On the other hand, lighter and less viscous oil is more convenient for regular everyday driving because it circulates more quickly, helping a car start faster even from a cold engine.
Viscosity rate is notated with “XW-XX”. The first X rates the oil’s flow at -17.8 °C (0 °F) or its resistance to thickening at low temperatures. W stands for “Winter”. The lower the number, the less likely it will thicken in the cold. For example, 5W-30 viscosity oil will thicken less in the cold than 10W-30 oil. The XX (after the W) rates the oil’s viscosity at 100 °C (212 °F). Differentiating it from the first X, this number refers to the oil’s resistance to thinning at high temperatures. To illustrate, 10W-40 oil will thin out slower at high temperature than 10W-30 oil.
With this basic information in mind, you’re now more equipped to determine which type of motor oil will be best for you.
Considered as the standard oil, conventional oil is the most affordable among motor oil types because of its basic formulation (organic/petroleum-based). This means that aside from passing the required API (American Petroleum Institute) and SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) standards, it doesn’t offer any other benefits (e.g. additives). This makes it ideal for cars that get regular oil changes, have low mileage and engines that are well-broken in.
Made specifically for high-tech and sophisticated engines, full synthetic oils meet more than just the required standards. These oils have also undergone and passed a series of special tests that guarantee superior and long-lasting performance in terms of viscosity (flowing better in both high and low temperatures) and engine protection (remaining adequately lubricated even after heavy use). Significantly more expensive than conventional oil (up to three times the price), not all engines require the far better performance that full synthetic oil is capable of. But if you have an expensive car or you’re fond of driving under extreme conditions, then this type of oil is quite appropriate for you.
A combination of conventional oil and full synthetic oil, synthetic-blend oil is considered the middle-ground choice. It’s slightly more expensive than conventional oil and performs much better at high temperatures and rough roads, making it the ideal choice for SUVs.
Ideal for older vehicles which have been on the road for quite some time, high-mileage oil has seal conditioners and anti-wear additives that help reduce leaks. This type of oil typically has a greater viscosity which allows it to lessen oil loss and seal parts better.
Prevent Auto Repairs with Oil Changes
Here at Big Sky Collision Center we don’t do oil changes. We don’t do auto repairs either (but we do auto body repairs). So why post about motor oils? Because we want you to be informed! We hope that you don’t make mistakes like we did when younger, and you take care of your vehicle so it lasts for years.
Did you know that taking care of your vehicle means getting it cleaned? We offer affordable auto detailing in Billings, Montana. Give us a call at 406-259-6328 to learn more.