How to Choose the Best Oil for Your Car

Posted March 5, 2021

The item “learn how to change the oil in your car” has justifiably found itself onto almost every “essential skills for adults” list. Regularly replacing your car’s engine oil is, after all, one of the top ways to give your vehicle the TLC it needs to continue serving you well — and by learning to do it on your own, you’ll save yourself both hassle and money.

Knowing how to change the oil in your car isn’t the only important thing, though. You also have to know what oil is best, and if you’ve recently acquired a new vehicle, it’s never safe to assume that you can simply keep using the oil your old car took.

So, how do you choose the best oil for your car? Consulting your vehicle’s handbook should always be Number One on your to-do list, as it will tell you what types of oil are appropriate. If you don’t have the handbook, the internet or your car manufacturer can both help you out.

The engine oil’s viscosity — or its thickness at certain temperatures — is one important factor. The number you see on engine oils before the W (“winter”) tells you its viscosity at 0 °Fahrenheit. The second number, which is listed after the hyphen, represents the oil’s viscosity at 212 °Fahrenheit. Generally speaking, 5W-30 oils are best suited for newer engines, while the owners of older vehicles will want to opt for 5W-40.

In addition, you’ll want to consider whether to choose high-mileage, conventional, or synthetic oils. While your car’s handbook can help you out, the broad rule is that synthetic oils are the better choice for more recently-manufactured cars, while older engines will do benefit from high-mileage oils that will also help to condition the car.

There is, however, no shame in asking for help — if you’re stuck, simply ask a car mechanic, your vehicle’s manufacturer, or look around online. When it comes to your car, there’s no question that it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Categories: Auto Mechanics


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