Getting your car’s oil changed or changing it yourself used to be a no-brainer – you buy the cheapest one, of course! Cars are being built differently now, though, and simply picking the cheapest option might not be what is best for your vehicle in the long run.
How do you know which oil you are supposed to use in your particular car? Knowing the difference between the three types of oil most commonly used can help you decide.
The Basics – What Exactly IS Car Oil?
Car oils are differentiated by a few aspects, the most basic being their viscosity. This is the resistance of fluid to flowing, and it changes depending on the temperature of the car.
When you look on an oil label and see “XW-XX,” that refers to the viscosity of the oil. The lower the number, the less it thickens, which is good when you live in a cold climate. Higher numbers are needed in warmer climates to prevent the oil from thinning.
Three Types of Car Oils
Once you have determined the viscosity of the oil you need, you now need to decide on the type to use. There are three main types: conventional, synthetic, and synthetic blend. It is very important to check with your car’s manufacturer to determine which of these types are recommended, but it is also highly suggested that you be consistent with the type that you use.
Usually these are the cheapest, most widely used oils (hence the name “conventional”). You can be assured that they meet the standards necessary to do what needs to be done, but there is nothing extra in them as far as improving your car’s performance. If you are a stickler on getting your oil changed regularly and your car does not have high mileage, you would likely be safe choosing conventional.
Synthetic, or “full-synthetic” oil, is designed for use in higher tech cars with more robust engines. This oil also has a lot of other powerful benefits, however, that make it a favorite for those who want the best for their car.
The best synthetic car oils can help improve your vehicle’s gas mileage, maximize horsepower and maintain lubrication without leaving residue in your engine. This helps eliminate thermal engine breakdowns and engine sludge issues. Additionally, regardless of the weather, using full synthetic oil enables your car to start easily.
Because of all of these benefits, many people don’t mind the extra price of a synthetic oil change. They consider it a cost that pays for itself.
Synthetic Blend Oil
A combination of premium conventional blend oil and a bit of synthetic, synthetic blend oils are popular to use with SUVs, semi-trucks, and other larger vehicles, or vehicles that carry heavier loads, because they are less costly but provide more protection than conventional oil.
When in Doubt, Ask!
If you are still unsure as to which oil is best for your car, ask your mechanic or car dealership expert, or call the car manufacturer. Your car’s oil is basically it’s life blood – take care of it, and the rest of the car will run smoothly for longer.