How to Choose the Right Oil for Your Vehicle

One of the most crucial ingredients to making your engine run is motor oil, your car can't live without it. Making sure you get regular oil changes, maintain the proper oil level, and of course, using the right type of oil are mandatory steps to maintaining the performance of your car. Without it, all the moving parts in your engine would lose lubrication, overheat, and eventually weld to each other, completely ruining your engine.

Not all drivers know what type of oil their car needs, even though it is so vital to your engine's health.

Sometimes your car's owners manual will list the proper motor oil to use, but it is important to know the ins and outs of motor oil in case you ever find yourself needing some.

Know Your Engine

Different weights of oil have different viscosities, can handle different temperatures, and may have different additives to assist in its job. Here we will break down what you need to know about motor oil.

All conventional oils that you can buy will be labeled with symbols showing that they have passed necessary tests and ratings by the American Petroleum Institute and the Society of Automotive Engineers, and will tell you if it has passed a test for energy conserving. The other factors are the fine details that will make a certain oil perfect for your car.


Viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil, or its resistance to flow. A motor oil's viscosity is measured at different temperatures to represent potential temperatures they may endure within your engine. They rate the oil's thickness at zero degrees, (a number represented with a W, for Winter) and then again at 212 degrees, (represented by the second number listed.)

Some oils are made to have more or less viscosity in either temperature, to fit the needs of different engines (for example, 10W-30 is thinner overall than 20W-50.)

In its essential form, oil thins when it is hot, and thickens when it is cold, so additives within the oil help control exactly how viscous is becomes. The higher that second number is, the thicker it remains, even in high temperatures, which can be beneficial to creating a better seal and creating better lubrication between parts.

In Winter, or areas of cold temperature, it is important that the oil isn't too thick, making your engine have to work harder to move within it.

Synthetic Oil

Over the past few decades, synthetic oil has come into the spotlight as a popular alternative to conventional oil, and is often preferred in new vehicles. Synthetic oil is more molecularly stable than regular oil, making it better for withstanding high pressure without breaking apart. It also holds a standard viscosity more stably, without much fluctuation between temperatures.

This makes starting your car a smoother process, and creates less wear on moving parts. And because synthetic oil is processed in a laboratory, is doesn't include any of the minor contaminants that may linger in conventional, mineral-based oil. Synthetic oil is more expensive than conventional oil, but it is really proving itself to be the best choice for a lot of newer engines, and can last a lot longer.

High Mileage Oil

Some cars are really put to the test and have to endure a lot more mileage than the average vehicle, this creates a lot of wear on an engine. High Mileage Oil has been made to help ease those well-worked cars. This oil contains additives that help tightens seals in your engine, and keep gaskets from shrinking, two common problems in a well-used engine. It is a blend of conventional oil and synthetic oil, giving you a compromise between cost effectiveness, and the benefits of a purely synthetic oil.

Because of the additives that address common problems in engines with high mileage, this oil can be the best option for some older cars.