Types of Motor Oil & Which One is Right For Your CarMay 21th, 2021
Choosing the right motor oil for your vehicle can be an overwhelming ordeal. Like us, you want the best and longest life for your car, and the right oil is an extremely important facet of your vehicle’s longevity and maintenance. If you’ve ever tried to go into your local or online parts store and buy engine oil yourself, you’ve no doubt been met with a dizzying array of options. Synthetic, blends, conventional, high mileage, low mileage—this list goes on and on and on.
Read on to learn more about each type of oil and how to make the absolute best selection for your car:
Conventional oils are made from petroleum or crude oil through a refinement process. This is the most common type of oil and is used often in older passenger vehicles. While typically the most affordable stuff on the market, conventional oils often contain impurities that undersell the performance in certain conditions and temperatures.
Synthetic oils go through additional chemically engineered processes that help create a more uniform product with fewer impurities. Synthetic oils perform better at higher and lower temperatures and are ideal for all high-performance vehicles. New model vehicles almost always use synthetic motor oil from the factory line.
Synthetic oils perform under a wide temperature range and are ideal for engines with direct injection, variable valve timing, turbochargers, or superchargers. However, they can be more expensive than conventional oil, though the price point won’t break the bank and this is the sort of special treatment you will need to maintain your luxury vehicle.
Synthetic Blend Oils:
These are a mixture of both conventional oils and synthetic oils with a few additives for performance. A synthetic blend is often a safe stepping stone between conventional and fully synthetic, especially if you want to make the switch for your vehicle but are not yet committed to the cost of a full synthetic oil change.
While these oils improve performance and durability over conventional engine oil, they are still the most expensive and don’t quite offer the same level of performance or longevity as full synthetic.
High Mileage Oil:
High mileage oil is specially crafted for cars with more than 75,000 miles on the odometer. They contain additives such as seal conditioners that are designed to improve older engines and help these vehicles last longer. These additives restore seals, prevent leaks, and enhance overall engine performance.
If your vehicle has over 75,000 miles on it, there are definite advantages to using this type of oil. This oil can help reduce oil consumption, minimize potential leaks and seepage, and can help reduce emissions and smoke in older vehicles. Due to the unique additives, high mileage oil does tend to cost more per quart than conventional oil but is a necessary price to pay to maintain the life of your older vehicle.
What Type of Oil Works Best For You and Your Vehicle?
Knowing the different types of oil is only half the battle. It’s time to consider which oils are best for your vehicles. Here are some key factors to consider when making your decision, from age to cost to condition.
The Age of Your Car:
Is your vehicle approaching the 75,000-mile mark or is it still cruising along comfortably? The standard recommendation is that any car with more than 75,000 miles should use high mileage oil, however, if your vehicle is running like new and you’ve been taking care of it with synthetic motor oil, there’s no need to worry about the switch. If you’ve noticed additional engine noises, oil spots in the driveway, or consistent oil leaks you should consider switching to high mileage oil to maintain the life of your vehicle.
Trip and Driving Style:
Do you take short trips around the city or use your car for work? Do you go on lots of trips or keep your adventures close to home?
City driving is actually pretty tough on your engine. The constant stopping and starting puts your engine oil to the test, and if you mostly drive short distances your engine is often running below its optimal temperature. Dirty or under-performance engine oils will be an additional concern to your vehicle’s overall health. You’ll want to make sure you are using a high-performance oil that can stick it out over the long oil, and that’s typically synthetic. Consider making the change if you’re worried that your driving style might be placing additional stress on your vehicle’s engine.
Climate and Temperature:
Your engine’s performance at different temperatures depends on the viscosity of the oil you use (how thick the liquid is). Your oil’s viscosity rating (this is printed on the bottle) looks something like “SAE 5W-30.” The W stands for “Winter” and the preceding number is its cold temperature grade. The second number indicates the oil viscosity at the correct operating temperature. The higher the second number the thicker the oil.
If you live in a consistently colder climate, consider switching to full synthetic motor oil with the lowest possible “0W” Winter rating. This will provide adequate protection as the cold starts. On the flip side, warmer weather actually does not call for thicker oil; this is a myth of proper engine care. Your engine gets much hotter than any summer day, and your engine was designed to operate at a very specific viscosity grade. Please follow your vehicle owner’s manual when determining proper grade, oil, and oil change intervals. Be certain you are periodically changing your oil filter as determined by your owner’s manual and specifications.
Still Wanting To Know What Oil Is Right For You?
Choosing the right synthetic motor oil in the correct grade is always the best choice. We’ve found that synthetics provide the overall best protection in both extremely hot and cold weather and temperature types.
If you’re uncertain about your vehicle’s overall performance and are looking for a new vehicle to get you where you need to go, That Car Place is here for you. They are an award-winning one-stop shop and an approved warranty service company with a certified inspection station. Don’t fret and always speak with an expert if you need help maintaining the life of your car, whether it’s engine oil or any other need.
About the Author:
Kathryn Fowler is the Marketing Manager at PartsAvatar. She's been passionate about cars since childhood. She loves examining different components of cars to understand their operation. Kathryn started writing blogs on automobile parts to share her love for cars and educate automobile enthusiasts worldwide.