Walk down the oil aisle at any auto shop, and you’ll see that there are plenty of options for your vehicle. Figuring out what oil is the best for you and your car is key to getting you back on the road. Oil is incredibly vital for the operation of your engine. Learn how you can pick the best motor oil for your car with our helpful tips, below.
What is Motor Oil?
Motor oil is a base of oil and additive to help lubricate engine parts. The use of motor oils helps reduce friction of your engine's internal moving parts, while also cleaning and cooling the engine, thus protecting its longevity. Today, many motor oils are complicated mixtures and finding the right one might seem overwhelming, but Poquet is here to help break down this topic.
There are three categories you’ll want to understand when it comes to motor oil:
- Classification Codes
- Viscosity Ratings
- Oil Additives
First, you’ll want to look at the oil classification codes, which are the starburst symbols on your oil container. These symbols show the current standard of the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC). Automakers in the U.S. recommend oils which carry the American Petroleum Institute (API) certification.
Viscosity means that something has a semi-fluid consistency. Oil is rated on thickness to determine its flow and internal friction. The thinner your oil is, the more easily it will flow. There is single-viscosity oil and multi-viscosity oil. Most vehicles can run on multi-viscosity oil. You can find your car’s oil viscosity in your owner’s manual.
Example: 10W-40, this is multi-viscosity oil due to the two numbers. 10W (W=winter) signifies the oil can flow at low temps while the 40 is its flow rate at high temps.
Oil additives help to clean and cool your engine, all while making sure it’s corrosion-free. These additives blend together, and refiners use these additives to help with the overall assistance of the oil while maintaining lubrication. Mainly, they protect your engine from damage, sludge, and varnish.
Additives can include detergents, dispersants, anti-wear agents, friction modifiers, pour point depressants, antioxidants, foam inhibitors, and rust/corrosion inhibitors.
Choosing the Right Oil for Your Car
Now that we know the basics of motor oil, how do you pick the right option for your vehicle? Continue reading to learn all about what questions to ask, and the different types of oil your car might need.
Finding the right oil for your vehicle can be done in a few quick steps. To start, you can examine the information in your owner’s manual, but what if you don’t have that available? Here are a few questions to ask yourself before choosing your oil.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- Do you live in hot or cold climate?
- Are you in a mountainous region?
- How old is your car?
- How many miles does your car have?
- How worn is your engine?
- What type of oil have you been using?
- What type of oil does your owner’s manual suggest?
Where you live, what your driving habits are, and the wear and tear to your vehicle determine what oil you’ll ultimately want to have.
Types of Oil
With so many options for oil products and brands, it’s no wonder you might be confused when looking at an auto store. Here are the four types of oil you’ll want to know about when finding the right motor oil for your vehicle!
Premium Conventional Oil
Typically for new cars, and all brands have a few options. Car manufacturers recommend to get your oil changed at about 3000-4000 miles.
Full Synthetic Oil
If you have a high-tech vehicle, look into full synthetic oil. Most full synthetics tend to have longer-lasting performance, but your car might have something that synthetics won’t be able to protect. Look to your manual for guidance.
Synthetic Blend Oil
Synthetic blends are just that, a mix of synthetic oil and organic oil. They are ideal for those who drive heavier loads in high temperatures. This type of oil is common among pickup and SUV owners.
Higher Mileage Oil
Because vehicles are lasting longer these days, refiners are creating higher-mileage oil for cars with mileage in the six-figures. If your automobile has more than 75,000 miles, car manufacturers recommended to switch to higher mileage oil.
Don’t Focus JUST on Oil
Oil isn’t the only thing that keeps your vehicle running smoothly! Make sure you’re checking your air filters and spark plugs when needed. Plus, using higher-grade gasoline can make a difference to your engine over time.
Schedule a Service Appointment with Poquet
When should you get your oil changed? We suggest swapping out your oil around 4000 miles at four-month intervals, whichever comes first. It’s important to change your oil regularly, so, the minimum to changing your oil should be twice a year. Don’t let your electric oil-gauge (on your instrument cluster) indicate when you should get a change. Plus, when the warning light shines, make sure to get an oil change as soon as possible!
Whether you need information on motor oil, an oil change, or other serve work, Poquet Auto is here to make sure your car operates to the best of its ability. We work on all makes and models of vehicles in our service department, and you don’t even need to purchase an automobile from us for us to service your car!
Schedule a service appointment today, and we'll get your car running smoothly again!