You all know how important it is to check and change your motor oil often. But when you start to run low on oil and head to the store, what kind are you buying? Are you buying the absolute best kind of oil you can for your vehicle? I don’t know, let’s find out!
How To Choose The Right Motor Oil
For My Car
How many of you are totally overwhelmed when shopping for motor oil? I know I am! There are so many brands and types to choose from; how do I know which is the best for my vehicle? Well, I guess you could ask someone at the store to help you find a good brand, or you could continue reading this article:)
There are essentially four types of motor oil that you could use for your car. I talked more about them in my past article about motor oil so I won’t go into detail. The four are Conventional, Synthetic Blend, Full Synthetic, and High Mileage oil.
For the most part, you can stick with conventional oil for older cars, and a synthetic or synthetic blend for newer cars. In a sports car, always go with the full synthetic oil. It provides the highest level of lubrication and protection to the engine at top speeds. Of course, as the name applies, high mileage oil would work well for those who drive cars that have over 75,000 miles. Now, I know what you are thinking, it can’t be that easy.
And of course, it isn’t because then you have to worry about the numbers on the bottles. You might see numbers like 10-30, SAE 30 or even 5W-30. They are all rating the viscosity / quality of the oil itself. Let’s start with SAE oils.
Single Grade Oils (SAE)
These oils are good for classic cars because it does not use a polymeric viscosity modifier. And you read the bottle like this; “the oil is graded as SAE 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60; the higher the viscosity, the higher the SAE grade.”
As the name implies, these bottles will have 2 numbers rating the type of oil. The number to the left will have a W(for winter) and measures winter conditions and the number to the right measures warmer conditions. For example, SAE30 and 5W-30 are technically the same, but the 5W-30 will perform a little better in cold weather. The lower the number before the “W”, the colder climate the oil can withstand. The higher the number, the thicker the oil will stay at higher temperatures.
The only one you have left is the synthetic oils. These are becoming more and more popular especially with diesel engines and sports cars. With technology today, you use to have to change your oil about every 5,000 miles. Now, with synthetic oils, you can go about 1 year before the light starts blinking. Of course, you should check your oil in between, but it’s nice to be able to drive longer without worry. The downside to the synthetic oil is the expense. But technically every car can use a full or blended synthetic oil. As Popular Mechanics puts it, synthetic oils “flow better at low temperatures and maintain peak lubricity at high temperatures.”
So to break it down.
If you have a regular, non-high performance vehicle you can stick with a premium conventional oil. Look through your owners manual, but I would say if you live in colder climates go for the lower number before the W. For any sport or high-performance vehicle (including diesel) stick with synthetic oil.
Again, always check your owners manual but at least now you won’t feel as intimated looking for the right motor oil for your vehicle!