Everything to Know About Motor Oil for Your Car
Oil is one of the most important components to any engine’s function. Oil provides
lubrication and prevents engine parts from overheating. Your car is one of your
biggest investments, which makes it important to learn as much as you can about
how your car works. We’ve put together a helpful guide for what you need to
know about motor oil.
Viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil, which fluctuates as it heats and cools.
Motor oil viscosity is rated at 0°F (marked with “W” for “winter”) and 212°F.
You’ll see oil at auto supply stores designated by those two numbers. 10W-30
oil, for example, has a lower viscosity than 20W-50 oil, in both heat and cold.
For use in the winter, 5W oil is recommended.
Generally, thicker oil creates a better seal and lubricates moving parts better than
Conventional vs. Synthetic
There are two classes of oil available: conventional and synthetic. Both will have
viscosity ratings, but synthetic formulas are designed for certain vehicles and
can combat deposits and potentially last longer than conventional oil. There
are also synthetic/organic blends that have their own benefits.
Oil isn’t just oil; there are additives that help the oil and your engine perform a
little bit better.
Viscosity improvers – This helps oil maintain thickness at higher temperatures, as
opposed to thinning as the oil heats up.
Detergents – They’re not quite like laundry detergent. What detergents do is discourage
solid deposits from forming, and help remove some of those deposits. Without
this, the engine can start to lose some of its performance.
Friction modifiers – This can actually improve your fuel economy, as it reduces overall
It’s important to note that while additives are helpful, there can be too much of a
good thing. For example, too much detergent can impact anti-wear balance, while
other additives may affect fuel economy.
No matter what type of oil you use, oil gets dirty and less effective over time. It’s
critical for the proper functioning of your car to get regular oil changes and
a fresh oil filter at the same time. How frequently you have to do this varies
based on your car. The old rule was every 3,000 miles, but you should check
your car’s owner’s manual, as some manufacturers actually recommend every 5,000
miles or even every 7,500 miles.
If you’re still not sure, contact your service center and a technician can tell you
what’s recommended for your specific vehicle.
The next time you take your car in for an oil change at a Longmont service center, you
can drive in confident that you’re getting exactly what your car needs.