Choosing the Best Oil for Your Car
“What do you mean I have choose which kind of oil to put into my car?” If this sounds like your last trip to the auto parts store or service center, it’s time to visit AutoStream in North Baltimore, Maryland, for professional advice. Our ASE certified technicians can help you with understanding your motor oil options and making the choice of lubricant that is best for your vehicle based on manufacturer’s recommendations, your driving conditions, and your travel habits.
A Basic Understanding of Motor Oils
Motor oil is divided into four categories according to its properties. Drivers can choose from a conventional, full synthetic, synthetic blend, or high mileage lubricant.
Conventional oil, as you might guess, refers to a product derived from naturally occurring liquid crude from underground. It tends to work best in newer cars with average engines that have not been driven an excessive number of miles.
Rather than being found in nature, full synthetic oil is chemically created. The compounds can originate from highly refined petroleum or be totally man-made. The advantage offered by full synthetic oil is higher viscosity, a measure of the ability to pour oil at room temperature. High viscosity oil is somewhat more difficult to pour at a given temperature than is lower viscosity oil. For this reason, the higher viscosity product is better at coating the moving parts of a hot engine. Also, full synthetic oil is less likely to show premature breakdown (which can allow sludge to build up and hurt engine performance and efficiency). Commercial drivers who use their vehicles for hauling heavy loads or towing, owners of older cars, and residents of extremely hot or cold climates are more likely to choose full synthetic oil than are drivers who operate their cars and trucks under less difficult circumstances.
Because synthetic oil is more expensive than a conventional lubricant, some drivers seek a good compromise. They turn to the mixture of conventional oil, synthetic lubricant, and some additives that is known as a synthetic blend. It costs less than full synthetic, but it offers many of the same benefits, making it a cost-effective choice.
Finally, drivers of vehicles with over 70,000 miles or classic car owners may opt for high mileage oil. It contains additives that protect the seals that are notorious for leaking in older vehicles.
Deciphering the Letters and Numbers
Now that you understand the different varieties of motor oil, it’s time to figure out the lettering and numbering on the packaging. When the Society of Automotive Engineers has put their stamp of approval on vehicle lubricant, it bears the letters “SAE.” This group uses numbers to describe the viscosity of oil at cold temperatures, and a “W” to denote winter. Vehicle manufacturers provide information in the owner’s manual for each model regarding the type oil you need. The simplest way, however, to be assured that you’re making the best choice in motor oil for your car and specific driving habits is to bring your vehicle to AutoStream in North Baltimore, Maryland.