On top of knowing when it’s time for an oil change and how to check your oil level, one of the most confusing things can be determining the right type of oil for your car. The labels can be difficult to decipher and the owner’s manual often gives you several possible options. Your knowledgeable We Fix It technicians are here to partner with you so that you can feel confident in your next oil service.
Before we get started, keep in mind that different oils are needed for modern cars versus older models. This is where your trained mechanic becomes one of your most valuable resources in navigating which oil you need. Let’s take a look at the three most important considerations for your vehicle.
When it comes to oil, viscosity refers to thickness, or flow resistance. And, it matters greatly. For newer cars, you want low multi-viscosity oil. This type usually handles temperature fluctuations better. Furthermore, because it is thinner, it circulates quickly and helps the engine turn over more easily. Additionally, it can improve fuel consumption.
In contrast, a mono-viscosity oil is likely to be recommended for a car that is older than 10 years. Regardless of the age of your vehicle, the climate you typically drive in drastically affects the type of oil you need. In hotter climates, you need oil that won’t thin out too much in the heat. Conversely, in colder climates, you need oil that won’t over thicken.
Sometimes you will hear about needing a certain motor oil weight. This term is misleading. Oil weight is actually used to describe its viscosity. The number, or weight, on the label is designed to give the buyer information about that particular brand’s viscosity. The higher the number, the thicker and more slow flowing it is. The opposite is true for lower numbers.
When you look at a label, there are two numbers. The first is a number followed by a ‘W’. This tells you the oil’s ‘weight’. The second number tells you how that oil’s viscosity is going to act at high temperatures. Both of these numbers should be considered when choosing the type of oil for your car.
Synthetic vs. Standard – Which Type of Oil Is Better?
Now that you know the basics of viscosity and weight, it’s time to look at what that means practically. Do you apply these numbers to synthetic oil or standard oil?
Many consumers are hesitant to use synthetic oil because it is pricier than standard oil. Have a conversation with our trusted mechanics about the needs of your car and your driving habits. This will help you decide what is going to best suit your needs.
Synthetic oil is more effective at resisting breakdown. It lasts longer, helps prolong engine life, and releases less emissions. It also handles extreme temperatures better than standard. And, it is best if you regularly drive short trips.
Standard oil can only be described as adequate. Its base oil is always less refined compared to synthetic, and therefore can contribute to buildup.
If the price of synthetic oil still outweighs the benefits to you, consider using a synthetic blend over full synthetic oil. However, as always, team up with our certified experts so they can help you create and follow a successful maintenance plan.