What Kind Of Motor Oil Should You Be Using?

Motor-OilAnyone that knows anything about vehicles knows how important the oil is! You have to choose the right brand and type or else it can damage the engine. How do you know how to choose the right oil? What brand should you use? The list goes on. Keep reading to learn what kind of oil you should use for your vehicle. In order to choose the proper oil for your vehicle, you must understand the significance of additives, viscosity ratings, and classification codes.

The Classification Codes:

You know that symbol on the oil container? That is a mark made by the ILSAC (a committee that has to approve every vehicles’ oil) to ensure the oil is approved.

Oil Additives:

The additives in the motor oil are designed to keep your engine cool so that it does not overheat, clean so that air can get to your engine and corrosion free so that your engine runs properly.

Viscosity Ratings:

Two types include single viscosity and multi-viscosity oil. Almost every vehicle is designed to run on multi-viscosity oil. Think of it this way: the lower the number, the thinner the oil is. Since the oil is so thick, it flows through your engine better. For example, 10W-40: the two numbers means it is multi-viscosity. The “10W” refers to how the oil flows in cold temperature, such as winter, and the “40” refers to how oil flows at high temperatures, such as summer or if you live in a hot climate. (There is also a high temperature lubricant for vehicles that are in only hot climates!) In every vehicle, there should be an owners’ manual. Here, you can read about what type of oil your vehicle should take.

You may have heard about synthetic oil. Well, it does not sound like it would be very good for your engine; however, synthetic oil results in less water on the vehicles’ engine parts in addition to being able to run at higher temperatures. In other words, synthetic oil is a high temperature lubricant that would be convenient to use if you lived somewhere where it is always hot! Keep in mind that you should not need to keep changing oils. Once you use a certain type, you should stick with it.

Before choosing the right oil for your vehicle, you should ask yourself a few questions:

1. “What kind of oil have I been using?” – Many people go to the store to buy more oil, however they forget what type they have been using! Check your owners’ manual for the type they suggest, because you were (most likely) using that type.

2. “What kind of oil does the owners’ manual suggest?” – Keep in mind that if you have a newer car that is still under warranty, using an oil brand that is not suggested could invalidate your warranty!

3. “What climate do I live in?” – Check with the weather channel, or look up online what your country’s average climate is. If you live somewhere where the weather is constantly changing from hot to cold, you should use multi-viscosity oil because it covers a range of different temperature. Remember, the lower the number next to “W” means the better for COLD weather. If you live somewhere where the weather is always hot, you should use a high temperature lubricant, such as synthetic oil.

Image credited: Brandon Stafford

Steve has a vast experience in Petroleum Engineering and Power Generation which he likes to share through his informative and dynamic writing contents. He spends most of his time in writing on various lubricants, oil & gas products.