There are many different engines out there, each with their own needs, and there are many climates in which these engines need to thrive. There are so many types of oil out there because different engines and different climates demand different things from their oil.
In this post, we’ll explore some of the most common varieties of engine oil, as well as explain the oil labeling system.
Common varieties of engine oil
Below are the main types of engine oil. There are many different blends within these broad categories, which usually differ from each other based on their mix of additives. Most oils have additives that, among other things, prevent and remove deposits, increase the oil’s anti-wear and prevent the oil from foaming. They all provide benefits to your vehicle, but you should check your manufacturer’s notes to see which oil has the right blend of ingredients for your engine. Now, the list:
- Conventional oil (premium and standard): Standard conventional oil is the most affordable of all engine oil options. It’s the most common oil used in low-priced oil changes and at dealerships. It’s a fine option, but you’ve really got to adhere to a schedule of routine maintenance in Conway, AR, and change your oil every three months or so. Premium conventional oil is certified at a higher level than standard conventional oil, and is an excellent choice for just about any vehicle with fewer than 70,000 miles.
- Full synthetic: Full synthetic oil is a superior oil for newer, higher-tech engines. They maintain more of their lubricity even in the most extreme heat or cold, meaning no matter where you are or how hard your engine’s working, your oil’s protecting your engine. It’s very expensive, and not necessary for your average vehicle. Check with your owner’s manual before using it.
- Synthetic blend: This is conventional oil with some synthetic oil mixed in (just what it sounds like, in other words). It costs a lot less than a full synthetic oil, but is a marked improvement over conventional oil in some vehicles, especially heavier ones.
- High mileage: All oil varieties offer a high-mileage formula. High-mileage oil is a mix of your car’s usual oil and a specific mixture of additives that protect the seals in your engine and provide the additional wear protection an older engine needs.
Oil labeling system
The label on the type of oil your engine uses––e.g. 5W–40––refers to the oil’s viscosity. Viscosity refers to how much resistance your oil puts up against movement, but it’s easier to think about it as referring to the oil’s thickness. Oil resists flowing more when it’s thick, and less when it’s thin. Your engine needs the oil to stay within a particular range—not too thick, not too thin—in order to perform at peak efficiency. The first number is marked with a W, and the lower this number is, the less your oil thickens in the cold (5W thickens less than 10W). The second number indicates how much your oil resists thinning in the heat––the higher the number, the less the oil thins.
It’s easy to think you want the most expensive oil with the best cocktail of additives for your car. Only the best for you, right? But nothing is more important than routine maintenance. Just bring your car in for an oil change every 3,000 miles or so, and you’ll add more life to your car than any fancy high-tech oil ever could. If you’re looking for routine maintenance in Conway, AR, give us a call at Riverdale Automotive. We know what your car needs.