If you’ve ever walked down the motor oil aisle in an auto parts store, you might feel a little overwhelmed at the dozens of options available. Prices vary too, and you can’t use numbers as an accurate way to choose the best oil for your car.
As an experienced Medford auto repair center, we get this question all the time! We understand that choosing an oil is confusing if you’re not working with car engines all day long. We also know that the wrong oil can damage your engine.
So, to save our customers the headache of figuring out which oil to use, we’ve put together a little guide.
What Is the Purpose of Engine Oil?
There are many moving parts in an engine. In any piece of machinery, oil is essential to lubricate moving components so that the metal doesn’t wear and break. It also prevents sparks from flying and starting a fire.
Just make sure the oil level is sufficient, and only use the recommended oil. Your car engine will do the work of properly dispersing the oil throughout the engine for smooth operation. If it’s not, we’ll be your Medford mechanic to help you figure out the problem.
Important Terms to Know
Early on in your search for the correct engine oil, you’ll run across many different terms that are essential to selecting the correct oil grade, but that might be somewhat confusing to a new vehicle owner. Here are a few terms to know:
- Viscosity: This refers to the thickness or flow of the oil. High viscosity oils can handle more heat than a lower-viscosity oil, and each engine will tell you the viscosity required for your engine. It’s the first number on the oil bottle, followed by a W. Oil viscosity that’s too high or low can cause starter and operation problems, so you’ll want to get this right.
- Single-Grade: Single-grade oils contain the abbreviation SAE on the container. These were designed for older, air-cooled engines that operated at high temperatures that needed more Medford auto repair than later models. Newer vehicles use an advanced system to cool their engines, so you probably won’t need single-grade oil.
- Multi-Grade: Most vehicle engines use multi-grade oil that’s been fabricated as a kind of one-size-fits-all engine oil. Unless you’re driving a car that’s 100 years old, this is probably what you’re going to be using—but always check your user manual to be sure!
Synthetic vs. Synthetic Blend vs. High-Mileage vs. Regular
Before synthetic oil came on the scene, Medford mechanics had very few oil options for you to choose from. Now, you need to understand the differences between synthetic, synthetic blend, high-mileage, and regular oil when you come in for your next oil change.
Regular or conventional motor oil is your basic oil that will work with most simple engine vehicles. It comes in a variety of viscosity grades and quality levels and it’s designed for the everyday user. You’ll need a Medford mechanic to change your oil more often when you use conventional.
Synthetic motor oil is designed to be more efficient and better for your vehicles. If you have a vehicle that was made in the last 10 years, chances are, your owner’s manual recommends you use synthetic oil. It’s been chemically engineered to minimize impurities and handle extreme temperatures better. It also contains additives for better engine performance. It’s a little more expensive, but it usually increases engine life and reduces the number of oil changes you’ll need.
Synthetic blend motor oil is a mixture of your conventional and synthetic oils. It’s a good budget option for those who want higher performance at a little lower cost. It does very well with low temperatures, and it increases the risk of oxidation in your vehicle.
High-mileage motor oil is made specifically for later model vehicles with more than 75,000 miles. It’s supposed to reduce oil burn-off and prevent leaks common in older engines. If your car is considered high mileage, ask a Medford mechanic if this type of oil is right for your vehicle.
Read Your Car Owner’s Manual
You don’t necessarily need to examine this book cover to cover, but at least examine the engine oil requirements. It will tell you what oil your vehicle needs, so if you’re on a long trip and you’re running low, or you’re dealing with an oil leak, you can find the type of oil you need to refill the oil pan until you get back to your quality Medford auto repair center.
If you’ve lost your manual, the good news is you can probably find it online! If you’re still struggling to determine the designated oil grade for your vehicle, give us a call. As your premier Medford car repair center, we’ll be happy to do the research and help you select the best oil for your vehicle.