Now that the weather is changing it’s a good idea to make sure you change your motor oil at the proper intervals. Everyone knows that it’s a responsible driver who will always keep their vehicle’s oil clean and topped off to keep the engine properly lubricated and healthy, but not everyone knows that choosing the correct oil can make a huge difference in a vehicle’s performance either in the short term, or even later down the road. Some people will just go for the time-tested method of finding the cheapest bottle of oil and throwing it in, but this can end up being very costly so please take some more time to consider the following guidelines.
The most basic choice to make when it comes to motor oil is the proper viscosity for your vehicle. Viscosity is the term for any fluid’s resistance to flowing. An example of viscosity is how gravy is thicker or more viscous than water. This concept is important when it comes to motor oil because certain engines need the oil to be more or less viscous for it to flow correctly when the vehicle is hot or cold.
Driver beware, if you use the incorrect viscosity of oil in your vehicle, you can severely damage the engine and it will turn out to be a very costly detail to overlook! To find the proper viscosity for your vehicle often, it will be listed on the oil cap itself. If the viscosity is not listed there, it can surely be found in the operator’s manual that was included with the car. Did you happen to lose your operator’s manual? Not to worry, a quick stop to your local auto parts store can get you the information you need as long as you know your vehicle’s make, year, and model. The cashiers there can usually look up this information electronically and even point out the correct oil for you.
So your friendly auto parts customer service person walks you down the aisles of oils and you see so many different types how do you choose? Well aside from the viscosity, a good auto parts store will have a wide variety of different oil types available in most of the common viscosities. Aside from regular conventional motor oil which is the cheapest and most common, there is also synthetic oil.
Synthetic oil, although a bit more pricey, is preferred for those who are concerned with higher performance as well as drivers with more high tech cars. Synthetic oil is made from conventional oils but has been molecularly altered so much that it cannot be identified as normal oil. Some people also prefer a blend of synthetic and conventional oil in their vehicles, which is a good compromise for those who want slightly higher performance than conventional oil.
Many people who opt for the cheapest bottles of oil as mentioned earlier will do damage to their vehicles because they might be driving an older vehicle which should ideally be receiving high-mileage motor oil. These lubricants have been specifically developed by the refineries for higher mileage vehicles. Normally the bottle will say what minimum suggested vehicle mileage is appropriate.
Now that you’ve identified the correct viscosity, and chosen your preferred oil type, you may also decide to choose oils with specific additives that can benefit your engine in a variety of ways. The following are few examples of additives: friction modifiers, rust inhibitors, foam inhibitors, dispersants, antiwear agents, antioxidants, viscosity-index improvers, pour-point depressants, and also there are detergents for your engine.