Motor Oil Guide: Which oil is best for your engine?
Some people find the underside of a car a mystery and a place they only need to go when necessary. No matter how well you know your car, the oil it uses – and what it does – is something that every car owner needs to be familiar with. There are so many brands and types of oil out there that it can be difficult to find the right oil for your car. This quick guide will help you understand the basics of motor oil.
What does motor oil do?
There are many functions to motor oil, but the main function is to lubricate the engine to reduce friction and prevent damage. It also helps to keep your car’s engine running smoothly. Other functions include heat reduction, protecting the engine against corrosion and debris buildup, and increasing fuel efficiency. The difference between having a properly oiled engine and being a lemon is how you choose to use motor oil.
Types and uses of motor oil
There are many types of motor oils, just like engines and cars. What are the differences? Which one is best for your car? Here are the most common types of motor oils:
- Conventional oil: Also known as crude oil. It is suitable for most vehicles on the road. You can also find it in many different quality grades and viscosity levels.
- Synthetic oil – Synthetic oil is chemically engineered to reduce impurities. It has a greater temperature range than traditional oil and is more suitable for high-performance cars.
- A synthetic oil blend is a blend of conventional and synthetic oils. Blend oil has a higher resistance to engine oxidisation, performs better under heavy loads and is ideal for larger vehicles and 4WDs.
- High-mileage oil: Designed for vehicles with higher mileage and more components that help reduce oxidisation.
Viscosity is an important component of motor oil differences. The fluid’s resistance against the flow is commonly called how thick the oil is. The thickness of the oil can affect how fast the oil flows into the engine’s spaces between the crank journals, engine bearings and other parts. Your engine will run smoothly if you use the right oil for it.
Viscosity Rating explained
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) rates viscosity, usually marked as “xWxx” on motor oil packaging. The first number indicates the oil’s viscosity (or flow) at zero degrees Fahrenheit (or 17 degrees Celsius). A lower number means that the oil will thicken less in cold weather. This is why those living in colder areas should look for a rating of ‘0’ to ‘5’. The W stands for Winter. The last two numbers indicate oil viscosity at higher temperatures (e.g. at 212°F span>).
Motor oil with a viscosity of 5W-30 is better for colder climates. An oil rating of 20W-50 is more appropriate for hotter environments. You can find out which oil is right for your car in the owner’s manual. Some cars can accept multiple oils of different viscosities.
Will using the wrong oil cause damage to my car?
The wrong oil can cause damage to your car’s engine. However, the severity of the damage will depend upon how long the oil has been in your engine before it was discovered. You should be fine if it has been for a few trips. However, if it has been going on for months or more, your engine may have suffered.
The oil that is too thick for the engine can cause damage. This area depends on the oil’s viscosity. Oil too thick to reach your engine won’t be able to get there, and oil too thin will not stick around the area needed. This can leave your engine’s components exposed. You may also notice a difference in your car’s performance if you use regular oil and your car uses more expensive synthetic oil.
If your car has poor performance, noises, or oil leaks, it is an indicator that you are using the wrong oil. You can take your car to a mechanic if you suspect you have been using the wrong oil.
Are thicker oils better for older engines?
As with most things, your engine will need to work harder as you age to achieve the same result. Do you need to change the oil that you use to ensure your engine is healthy? This topic is hotly debated on the internet. Some recommend sticking with the oil outlined in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Others suggest switching to thicker oil because your engine requires extra lubrication after many years of operation.
It will depend on your driving habits, what type of car you have, and how often you drive. Smoke coming from the tailpipe signifies that it’s time to change the oil. You can either drop your keys off at a mechanic for an inspection or contact the manufacturer to discuss the recommended practice.
Where can you buy motor oil?
You can purchase motor oil at many car accessory stores, such as Supercheap Auto, Repco, mechanics and even petrol stations. Big W also offers motor oil online and in-store, so you have plenty of options when your engine is low on fuel.
How frequently should I change or check my oil?
Many car manufacturers, mechanics, and retailers recommend that you check your oil at least once per week. This is a quick and easy way to determine your engine’s health. You can also leave the oil to the mechanic at your next service if you are on track with your servicing.
Remove the bonnet and check for the oil dipstick. It is usually located near the engine block. It would help if you did this on level ground to ensure no oil pools to one side of your tank. Also, make sure that your engine is at its coldest (i.e. This will give you an easier way to determine how much oil is left.
Take off the dipstick to check your oil. Next, look at the oil level indicators. If they are low, it may be time to top up. Modern vehicles have a sensor that alerts you when oil is low via the dashboard.
What motor oil is best?
There are so many choices available; how do you choose which oil to stock up on for your car? It all depends on your car. High-performance engines and people who live in colder areas may require specific oils to keep their engines running. It is best to consult your owner’s manual to determine the type of oil you should use. Also, be aware of any possible alternatives. This will help to keep your wheels turning.