If you're a car owner, it's important to understand engine oil specifications. Why? Because it directly impacts your vehicle's health and efficiency, it also helps you choose the right one for your vehicle. But don't worry, it's not as complicated as it sounds! Let us help you understand it better.
Understanding Viscosity & Oil Viscosity Grades
Viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil and its ability to flow. It's a crucial property, as the right viscosity ensures adequate lubrication across a range of temperatures, reducing wear and tear on engine components.
Viscosity grades, represented by numbers such as 5W-30, indicate the oil's flow capability in cold and hot temperatures. The first number, followed by a 'W' (for winter), shows the oil's flow at cold temperatures, while the second number indicates its viscosity at high temperatures.
Low numbers, meaning they are particularly fluid lubricants, and higher, meaning a more viscous fluid.
Conventional vs Synthetic Oils
Conventional oils are derived directly from crude oil and have been the standard for many years. Synthetic oils, on the other hand, are chemically engineered for better performance and longevity. They offer superior protection, especially in extreme conditions, and are often recommended for modern engines.
The Role of Additives
Additives in engine oil play various roles, such as cleaning engine components, preventing corrosion, and enhancing viscosity. They're essential for oil performance and engine protection, making oil more than just a lubricant.
Oil Standards and Certifications
Various organizations set standards for engine oil to ensure quality and compatibility with different engine types. Certifications like API (American Petroleum Institute) and ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association) indicate oil quality and performance criteria.
Choosing the Right Oil for Your Car
Here is a short guide to choosing the perfect oil for your car:
- Check Your Manual: Begin by consulting your vehicle's owner's manual for specific oil recommendations.
- Consider Vehicle Age: Determine if your car is newer or older; newer cars may benefit from synthetic oils, while older models often require conventional oils.
- Evaluate Driving Environment: Assess the typical climate and conditions in which you drive.
- Match Viscosity Requirements: Ensure the oil viscosity matches your car’s engine needs, especially for temperature extremes.
- Confirm Manufacturer Recommendations: Cross-reference your choice with the manufacturer's guidelines to ensure compatibility.
How Temperature Affects Oil Choice
The ambient temperature in your region can greatly influence the type of oil you should use. In colder climates, oil with a lower winter viscosity (indicated by the first number in the viscosity grade) is preferred to ensure easy start-up and adequate flow. Conversely, in hotter climates, a higher second number (indicating viscosity at high temperatures) is beneficial to maintain proper lubrication under extreme conditions.
Common Myths About Engine Oil
There are several myths surrounding engine oil, such as the belief that synthetic oils can cause leaks in older engines, or that oil additives are always beneficial. It's important to base your decisions on facts and manufacturer recommendations rather than these common misconceptions.
Need help to pick or a quick oil change? Contact Funk Bros Auto and we will be more than happy to get you on the road ASAP!