Which Motor Oil Should I Use for My Car?

December 17, 2020 8:32 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Choosing the right motor oil affects the health of your engine. You already know how important it is to get your oil changed regularly, but did you know that your choice of motor oil is just as crucial? If you use the wrong kind of oil once in a while, your car probably won’t suffer too much—but if you make it a regular habit, it will reduce your engine’s overall lifespan. Next time you’re scheduling oil, lube and filter services in Port Charlotte, FL, make sure you understand what kind of oil is used and why.

Here’s a quick guide to choosing the right kind of motor oil.

Viscosity is key

Depending on how you use your car—and where—your manufacturer and mechanic might suggest several different kinds of oil viscosity. Viscosity is how well a fluid resists flow—the thicker it is, the more viscous it is.

Engine oil is rated in an “XW-XX” format, where the Xs represent numbers. The number in front of the W is how the oil flows at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, so the lower the number, the less it will thicken in cold weather. You would want something in the 0W to 5W range if you’re primarily operating your car in cold weather, but in Florida, the oil will be too thin to work effectively. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual should tell you the viscosity range for your vehicle.

Types of oil

Here’s a closer look at the different types of motor oil you might use in your vehicle. Check with your manufacturer for specific recommendations:

  • Conventional oil: Generally, this type of oil is the most common and cheapest at auto stores and dealerships. If you’re always on top of your oil change schedule, this is a good pick—as long as your car has low mileage but is already well broken in.
  • Premium conventional oil: If you have a new car, it probably uses this type of oil. They may offer some additive packages, and most manufacturers will recommend something in the 5W-20 or 5W-30 to 10W-30 range. Be sure to check your manual before assuming, however—some new cars are particularly fussy about the type of oil they need.
  • Synthetic blend oil: This type of oil is similar to premium conventional oil with some synthetic oil added. If you’ll be using your vehicle to carry heavy loads (for example, if you have a pickup or SUV), you might prefer this type—it offers added protection with very little price increase.
  • Full synthetic oil: This type of oil is primarily used for high-tech engines on performance vehicles. Synthetic oil is about three times more expensive than conventional oil, so make sure your engine actually calls for it. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your money.
  • High mileage oil: If your vehicle has over 75,000 miles on it, you might want to spring for this type, which has added conditioners to help older engines.

Still not sure what kind of engine oil you need? Stop by Ice Cold Auto Repair for help with oil, lube and filter services in Port Charlotte, FL.

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