Knowing what motor oil to use is essential if you’re going to get every oil change right. We’ve made it quick and easy.
When it’s time for an oil change, knowing what motor oil to use is essential. The answer to that question gets more complex every day. The latest engines are getting smaller and more powerful all the time, and manufacturers are specifying complex full synthetic oils to cope with higher engine pressures and meet fuel efficiency targets.
If you’re driving a muscle car or a European import, the manufacturer may well specify a full synthetic motor oil. Alternatively if you’re driving an older domestic vehicle, the manufacturer may recommend a conventional oil. However, even though that’s the most economical option, a full synthetic will almost certainly look after your engine better. Knowing what engine oil to use at every oil change is essential.
Your owner’s manual will tell you which industry specification, type and grade of oil the manufacturer specifies.
Viscosity is a measurement of the thickness and 'ease of flow' in any liquid. For example, water is a thin liquid that flows freely, so we say that it has a low viscosity. Honey, on the other hand, is relatively thick and flows more slowly. So we describe honey as having a high viscosity. It's also worth noting that honey flows more easily - and is therefore less viscous - when it is slightly warm. Motor oil behaves in pretty much the same way, which is why mechanics will usually run an engine for a minute or two before draining used motor oil away to replace it.
What is Viscosity?
There are so many motor oils out there, which one is right for your vehicle? Well, there are three basic types: mineral, part synthetic and full synthetic. Mineral oils are the least refined of the three, which means they cost less, but also provide less protection, performance and economy than the other options. Part synthetic motor oils are a blend of mineral oil and synthetic oil, to give added performance, but still at a lower cost than full synthetic motor oils. Full synthetics are the most expensive motor oils as they are highly refined, but offer the best and protection and economy to absolutely every vehicle.