Motor Oil Explained; Viscosity, Types, Grades and Perfect One for Your EngineUpdated June 2018
Remember the days when all articles about engine motor oil started with “Do you know that engine oil is the blood of your vehicle?” or “Choosing a proper engine oil can be a daunting task…”Well? It may have been hard to choose, but it won't be after you complete this 10-minute reading. Lines below will teach you about oil types, the best oil on the market, how to check oil level in the engine, how to choose the right oil for your car, truck or cargo van, and how to add oil to the engine.
Oil Purpose and How It Works?
Oil’s main purpose is to lubricate the vehicle engine to avoid frictions and metal-to-metal contact, keep the engine running smoothly, cool down metal parts and protect the engine from damage by anti-wear system.Oil is stored in the oil tank. It is pumped by oil pump around the engine by the oilway circuit. Along with the oil pump, a vital part of the vehicle, thus, is the oil filter. The filter removes all dirt and small particles and supplies the engine with clean oil. This way, the oil protects the engine by reducing harmful deposits. As you can already see, regular maintenance with good oil and filter is a MUST if you want to have a reliable vehicle that can give you the performance you need – for many years. Low-quality oil can cause severe damage to your engine.
What Oil Does my Car Take? Engine Oil Types Explained
There are so many oils on the market that even experienced drivers have difficulties choosing the right one for their vehicle. If you find yourself in the Automotive department in a local Walmart, you will be overwhelmed with so many choices. Colorful stickers screaming from shelves buy me, on sale, the best product in 2018, drivers 1st choice, for diesel engines, for high-performance engines, etc. The situation is not better in specialized car service stations either.
Let start from the basic.Basic motor oil classification is:
Full Synthetic oil; It’s made from synthetic oil molecules, distilled and purified using the highest level of oil additives. Oil is developed for modern high-performance engines with high torque and a lot of horsepower. This oil type is the most expensive one (and the most expensive to produce), but it offers the best performance, better fuel economy, and protection. It has the same, constant, performance no matter the driving style, the conditions, temperature and year season. Full synthetic oil lasts longer, two to three times, compared to other oil types. Who should use it? Cars and pickup trucks with high engine capacity, big V6 or V8 engines capable of giving high-performance drive. Suggested oil change interval for full-synthetic oil is between 7,500 and 10,000 miles or one year (whichever comes first) and it depends on the driving style and conditions. Some manufacturers like Mobile 1, which is used by Jaguar and Toyota, recommend oil change after 15,000 miles.
Synthetic Blend oil; This is a blend of full synthetic and mineral oil. It has a lower price than the synthetic oil and it’s slightly more expensive than the mineral oil. It offers better performance than the mineral oil, but not as good as full synthetic oils. Synthetic blend oil has good resistance to oxidation, but performance at high temperatures can be questionable. Who should use it? New and used sedans and light trucks with mid-sized gas and diesel engines, like 2.0L V4. Suggested oil change interval for synthetic blend oil is between 5,000 and 7,500 miles. You should change oil regardless of the mileage if it's been used for more than 12 months.
Mineral (conventional) oil; It has the lowest percentage of oil additives for protecting engines. Mineral oil is used in simple, low-performance engines which use old technology. Mineral oil has the lowest price of all oil types and many car dealers use it in bulk. It is made from naturally occurring crude oil, that is refined in order to remove impurities. Who should use it? Small-sized engine cars produced before 2000. Their simple and outdated technology doesn’t need oil with synthetic molecules and additives. Suggested oil change interval for mineral oil is 3,000 miles or six months.
High-mileage motor oil; This oil is specially developed for engines that have a high mileage number in their odometer. Since a lot of vehicles on US roads have more than 100,000 miles in odometer, oil manufacturers have grabbed the chance and created oil for engines with high-mileage. What is the difference between standard oil and high-mileage motor oil? High-mileage oil has a seal conditioner in it. This conditioner reduces oil swelling and improves engine flexibility. Plus, it has a higher dose of antiwear additives. Who should use it? Old cars and trucks with high mileage. Suggested oil change interval is around 5,000 miles or six months.
Important: Always check the vehicle driver’s manual for oil type recommendation or check online. If a car manufacturer has recommended a synthetic blend oil, stick with it and don’t use mineral oil. For cars with old and simple engines is OK to pour full-synthetic oil, but your engine doesn’t need it and it will be a waste of money. Never mix two different types of oil.
Did you know? Oil change interval hugely depends on driving conditions and your daily routine. Mineral oil can’t get warm in short-distance driving, meaning it can’t protect the engine from impurities. A long drive on a high-way is much better than constant stop-and-go in the city. Oil is capable to protect and lubricate the engine only when it reaches optimal temperature.