Choosing the right fluids for your vehicle is very important, and in no area more so than your oil. The right oil will keep your engine parts lubricated and working well for years to come, while the wrong oil not only may not accomplish this task, but could also create other unrelated issues in the vehicle as well.
At Quarts & Lugnuts, we’re happy to offer Salt Lake’s best mobile oil change services, and helping clients choose the ideal oil for their vehicle is just one of numerous solutions we provide here. What are the various kinds of oil out there, and which is likely right for your car? Here’s a primer.
The most common type of oil used today, especially in any vehicle built over five or so years ago, is called “conventional oil.” This is a petroleum-based product that’s been refined to the point where it can do its job adequately. It does, however, have some drawbacks.
Conventional oil will break down over time and eventually turn into sludge. When this happens, it no longer provides adequate lubrication for your engine and can actually cause damage. That’s why it’s important to change your oil at the intervals specified in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
Premium Conventional Oil
In recent years, a growing number of vehicle manufacturers have begun recommending what’s called “premium conventional oil” for their newer models. This is a higher-quality oil that’s designed to withstand the rigors of today’s driving conditions better than conventional oil. It also features additives that help it resist breakdown and sludge formation.
Premium conventional oil costs a bit more than regular oil, but it’s worth the investment if your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends it.
If you drive a newer vehicle, or one that’s designed for high performance, you may be using what’s called “synthetic oil.” This is a man-made product that contains none of the impurities found in petroleum-based oil.
Synthetic oil can withstand higher temperatures and more extreme driving conditions than conventional or premium oil. It also doesn’t break down as quickly, so you can usually go longer between changes.
Full Synthetic Oil
The highest quality synthetic oils are called “full synthetic.” These products are designed for use in the most demanding driving conditions, such as racing applications. They offer the best protection and longest intervals between changes.
There are also combination oil types out there, one of which is synthetic-blend oil. This type refers to a mixture that’s mostly premium conventional oil, but has small amounts of synthetic oil added in as well.
This type of oil is a good middle ground between conventional and full synthetic oils. It offers some of the benefits of each, without the higher price tag that comes with full synthetics. It’s often utilized in trucks and SUVs, as it’s designed to withstand the heavy-duty use these types of vehicles see.
For vehicles with 75,000 miles or more already on the odometer, special “high-mileage” oil is available. This type of oil is designed to protect engines that have some wear and tear already, and it contains additives that can help reduce leaks and oil consumption.
For instance, if your vehicle is starting to burn or consume oil, high-mileage oil may help to slow down that process.
Oil and Viscosity
One of the most important factors when considering the right oil for any vehicle is viscosity. What exactly does this word mean?
For those unaware, viscosity refers to a fluid’s resistance to “flowing.” In other words, it’s a measure of how thick or thin an oil is.
Why is this important? An oil’s viscosity can have a direct impact on how well it flows and lubricates engine parts. For instance, if an oil is too thick, it may not flow well at lower temperatures and could cause engine damage. Conversely, if an oil is too thin, it may not provide adequate lubrication at higher temperatures.
The right viscosity for your vehicle’s oil is specified by the manufacturer and can be found in your owner’s manual.
Other Factors in Oil Selection
Here are some of the other factors involved in selecting the proper oil for your car:
- Vehicle age: As vehicles age, they typically require oil with a higher viscosity. This is because seals and gaskets tend to degrade over time, leading to more oil leaks.
- Driving habits: The way you drive can also play a role in the type of oil you need. If you typically drive in stop-and-go traffic or in extreme weather conditions, you may need a different oil than someone who drives mainly on the highway.
- Manufacturer recommendations: As we’ve mentioned, it’s always best to consult your owner’s manual when choosing an oil. The manufacturer knows your vehicle better than anyone, and they can recommend the type of oil that will work best.
- Climate: In some cases, even the common climates you drive in can play a role in oil choice. For example, if you live in an area with very cold winters, you may need an oil that’s designed to flow well at lower temperatures.
- Distances driven: For some people, the amount of driving they do can also be a factor. If you don’t put many miles on your vehicle each year, you may be able to go longer between oil changes than someone who drives frequently.
For more on how to choose the ideal oil type for your vehicle, or to learn about any of our mobile oil changes, brake services or other solutions, speak to the team at Quarts & Lugnuts today.