What is the best motor oil for your car?

Published: 10/18/2010 by AutoShopit

What is the best motor oil for your car?

Choosing the proper motor oil is an important way you can protect your engine from wear and tear and extend the life of your vehicle. It not only lubricates the moving parts within the engine, but also keeps it clean, cool, and protected from corrosion. However, with so many brands on the market to choose from, how can you be sure you are getting the best option for your specific car? Here’s the lowdown on what to look for on your next trip through the automotive section:

What the different grades mean: 

Motor oil grades are standardized by the Society of Automotive Engineers, and range from low to high viscosity with 0 being the lowest, up to 70 at the highest. They are also rated with a W after their grade if they meet low temperature (winter grade) specifications.

The key to keeping your vehicle running smoothly is choosing the motor oil that is not too low (light) and not too high (heavy) for your vehicle.  The danger of using an oil with too low a viscosity is that you will have increased metallic friction and wear within you engine because it is not being properly protected. On the other hand, oils too high in viscosity will lead to reduced energy efficiency, a higher internal temperature, and increased fluid friction. To find out the recommended oil for your particular car, consult your owner’s manual.

Viscosity is also important to pay attention to if you have an older vehicle, because as your car ages the engine will require slightly thicker oil to properly seal it and reduce friction. Keep in mind that viscosity also changes with the outdoor temperature, becoming thinner during the summer months and thicker in the winter season.

The difference between single grade and multi-grade:

Single grade oils are measured indicating their performance at either a high or low temperature, and are meant to be used in vehicles in areas with a relatively stable operating climate. Single grades will perform poorly if they are used outside of their recommended parameters, and can freeze up in cold weather or become too thin if they are winter grade used during summer months.

Multi-grade oils, on the other hand, are designed to perform at both high and low temperatures, and are recommended for areas with a high degree of temperature fluctuation.  Offering the best of both worlds, multi-grade oils are numbered with the cold viscosity first, and the hot second, so that buyers can consider the temperatures they will be driving in and choose an oil according to those limitations.

Which type is right for me?

When selecting an oil, you will notice that there are three main types to choose from: conventional, synthetic, and a blend of the two. Conventional oil is processed from crude taken from the ground, which is then separated at a refinery. It is limited in its capabilities and reacts strongly to shifts in outdoor temperatures. This type of oil also carries a small amount of natural contaminants that cannot be removed during the refining process.

Synthetic oils, on the other hand, have a much higher level of purity in their base stock, so they can handle heat and temperature shifts much more easily than their conventional competitors. However, because of their high performance, they are priced accordingly, with synthetic oils clocking in as much as three times above the price of conventional brands.

Synthetic blends, which offer a mixture of conventional and synthetic product , are also an option, offering the lower pricing of conventional oils, with some performance enhancing effects of the synthetic options.

Need help to check and maintain your engine oil? Browse through our selection of local mechanics who can help you follow up if you have any questions or concerns regarding your vehicle. 

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