Selecting the right motor oil for your car or truck always seems to be confusing, there are so many brands, weights, and then there is conventional, full synthetic, blends, it can be a little overwhelming.
We all know that the right motor oil makes a big difference in fuel economy and performance. More information on finding the right type of oil as well as a lot of other handy tips for keeping your car or truck on the road is the Advanced Auto Parts DIY Garage website. They even have a new section where you can hone your automotive knowledge, take quizzes, and win prizes to take a quiz CLICK HERE.
Here are a few simple guidelines that should help you find the best oil for your car.
The first place you should start is with your owner's manual to find out what the factory recommended oil weight is for your car. If you don't have the owner manual check under the hood many cars will have the oil specifications on a sticker or sometimes directly on the engine oil fill cap.
These specifications as well as other important information is found on oil bottle labels. When looking at oil it's important to not just look at the weight but also if the American Petroleum Institute (API) and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) have certified that the oil you are buying meets the current standards and if that oil has passed the Energy Conserving test. Any quality oil will have these certifications printed plainly on the label, if you don't see it, don't buy it. I prefer to use Mobil 1™ which not only meets all the standards, but is race proven, and been my oil of choice for everything from my race cars to my shop truck.
5W-30, 10W-40, 20W-50, what does it all mean? Those numbers are the viscosity of the oil, often called the oils "weight", it is the measurement of the oil's resistance to flow. It is rated at 0° F by the first number (preceded the "W" which stands for Winter) and at 212° F the second number. So 5W-30 oil has less viscosity when cold and hot than does 20W-50.
The viscosity of motor oil changes as the temperature of the engine rises and falls, getting thinner when hot and thickening as it cools. This is why selecting the correct oil for your car is so important, oil at the proper thickness seals and lubricates better than oil that is too thin or or too thick. The engineering that goes into modern synthetic oils means that even in the most extreme conditions there is an oil that will work, but since most of us won't be exploring the arctic circle or racing across the Sahara Desert I recommend sticking to the oil viscosity your car's owner's manual recommends.
But which one do I need?
Now that you know the viscosity of the oil, which one do you buy? High Mileage? Advanced Fuel Economy? Extended Performance? Full Synthetic? Conventional? The choices seem endless, but let me make it really simple.
High Mileage Oil:
Modern cars are able to run their odometers well into the six figures. To keep your higher mileage car running it's best specially formulated oil has been developed for vehicles 75,000 miles or more. These formulas are designed to recondition seals and they have a slightly higher viscosity than what is indicated on the label, this helps compensate for engine wear which helps maintain engine performance.
This is the standard new-car oil. It is what comes in most cars from the factory and should be changed every 4,000 miles or at minimum every six months. It is the least expensive oil on the shelf but you have to change it more often than synthetics.
Synthetic Blend Oil:
A mix of synthetic and organic oil, that give it a better performance without the cost of full synthetic. It holds up better to heavy loads and higher temperatures, so it is popular with heavy duty and tow vehicles.
Full Synthetic Oil:
This oil was designed for today's high-tech engines where performance and efficiency. Many manufacturers suggest using Full Synthetic Oil and changing it less often than Synthetic-Blend and Conventional oils. I run Mobil 1 full synthetic in all of my cars and trucks, however, not all engines need full synthetic, so be sure to consult your owner's manual.
Major retailers like Advanced Auto Parts have staff on hand that can answer questions for you and help you find the right oil and filter for your car, truck, or SUV. Don't be afraid to ask questions about which oil is right for your car and driving conditions.
Unless it is recommended by the manufacturer most aftermarket oil additives are not only unnecessary but can do more harm than good. The engineering that goes into creating properly balanced and well performing oil likely will not be enhanced by some $4.00 additive that promises to increase fuel mileage or restore your engine. I recommend constant oil and filter changes and the suggested maintenance is all you should ever need.
For more tips, advice, and DIY know how for your car head over to the Advance Auto Parts DIY Garage by Clicking HERE, it is a wealth of knowledge.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ExxonMobil. The opinions and text are all mine.