Have you ever given much thought to the oil you put in your car? Do you even remember to periodically check your levels? There are a few things to consider when topping up your oil, and Kearns Master Muffler is here to help.

Whether you change your car’s oil yourself or leave it to the Kearns car repair experts, it’s important to know what type of motor oil your engine requires. Your car’s owner’s manual will list the type of oil recommended for your car, but here’s what it means.

Types of Motor Oil

Did you know the “W” in your oil rating doesn’t actually stand for “weight?” Find out what it really represents, and what types of motor oil are on the market.

Full Synthetic Motor Oil

Synthetic motor oil is artificially engineered and was first developed in 1929. The chemistry involved produces uniformly shaped oil molecules, allowing the oil to perform well in both cold and hot conditions. Full synthetic oil is designed for high-tech engines. Synthetic oils usually include additives as well. More on that later.

Synthetic Blend Motor Oil

Synthetic and conventional motor oils combine in this blend to help your car function well in all temperatures. This can be a good choice if you use your vehicle to tow heavy loads. Synthetic blends have also been proven to help reduce oxidation in your engine, which thickens your motor oil and can lead to serious car repair needs.

High-Mileage Motor Oil

If your vehicle has over 75,000 miles, it might be time to switch to high-mileage motor oil. Specifically designed to help your engine continue performing well, this type of motor oil includes additives that reduce oil burn-off, and prevent leaks in older engines.

Conventional Motor Oil

Conventional motor oil can offer a wide range of viscosity levels and is good for everyday driving. Conventional motor oil usually doesn’t include any additives, and it can be a good choice if you stick to your oil change schedule.

Motor Oil Grades

Oil designations are determined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Oil is graded on viscosity, which is fluid thickness. Low viscosity oil (thin) might be good for one vehicle make and model, while high viscosity (thick) oil is better for another.

Viscosity is affected by heat produced by the engine, so the grade you choose needs to respond well to the environment in which you’ll be using your vehicle. Motor oil also needs to be able to withstand the fluctuating temperatures of the engine itself.

You can purchase multi-grade viscosity motor oil that performs well in fluctuating temperatures. A multi-grade oil still flows through your engine when thickened in colder temperatures while still offering lubrication when thinned in high heat.

Choosing the Right Motor Oil

Did you know you can change which motor oil you use based on your climate? You’ll most likely find the recommendation in your owner’s manual, but you can choose a motor oil with different viscosity for hot versus cold weather. Additionally, depending on your driving style, your car may benefit from a certain type of motor oil. Many of the Kearns car repair needs we see could have been prevented by proper motor oil selection and routine oil changes.

Viscosity Ratings

Each motor oil is labeled with recommended use conditions. Designated by “XW-XX,” here’s what those numbers and letters mean.

The “X” represents a number before the “W.” This number shows how the oil’s performance is rated at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

The “W” represents “winter.” So, the lower the number is before the W, the thinner the motor oil will stay in cold temperatures, allowing it to move through your engine smoothly even in harsh winter weather.

The set of double “XX” after the “W” is the rating for how the oil performs at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. A lower number indicates that this particular oil thins sooner at high temperatures.

For example:

  • 0W-30 – This oil thickens less in cold temperatures compared to an oil rated 5W-30. It’s good for cold climates.
  • 5W-30 – This oil thickens less in cold temperatures compared to an oil rated 10W-30, but more than an oil rated 0W-30.
  • 10W-30 – This oil thins more in hot temperatures compared to an oil rated 10W-40. It also thickens more in cold temperatures compared to a 5W-30, suited for warm climates.

Oil Additives

Your motor oil can include chemicals and/or minerals to improve performance. 

Detergents

Things of detergents as cleaners for your oil. This additive can not only help remove unwanted deposits but prevent them as well.

Antiwear Additives

Metal surfaces in your engine are at risk of deteriorating if they’re not probably lubricated. Antiwear additives can protect the metal from wear.

Foam Inhibitors

A constantly moving crankshaft can cause the oil in your oil pan (storage reservoir for engine oil) to foam. Foam can prevent the oil from properly lubricating your engine, so an inhibitor can nip this problem in the bud.

Friction Modifiers

Moving engine components can create a lot of friction. This oil additive attempts to improve fuel economy by reducing friction.

For all your Kearns car repair needs, give us a call today.