THE BASICS OF MOTOR OIL
Motor oil can be a confusing beast that results in a number of questions. Do I really need synthetic? Does my new car take conventional? When do I need to switch to high-mileage? Understanding the basics of the different types of motor oil will help you answer these questions. Whether you are changing your own oil or letting us do it for you, understanding the how’s and why’s will help to make the intelligent decisions that protect your investment.
While the main function of motor oil is to lubricate the moving parts of the engine, it also helps to prevent corrosion and cool the engine by carrying heat away from the moving parts; without oil, the engine seizes up and dies. Regularly changing your oil can help combat these engine seizures and help to protect your investment promoting a long vehicle life.
Conventional oil is formulated with additive packages to ensure that it has the proper heat tolerance, breakdown resistance, and viscosity (thickness and fluidity) that engines require. For many vehicles, conventional oil is sufficient to get the proverbial job done. Depending on your application, stepping up to a more robust motor oil may be the right solution.
High Mileage oil is meant for vehicles that have over 75,000 miles on the odometer. High-mileage oil features unique additives that help to protect seals, which in turn prevents oil evaporation, also known as burn-off, a problem that can occur more easily in older engines. High-mileage, high-performance vehicles, however, would benefit from using a synthetic oil as opposed to high-mileage.
Synthetic or “full synthetic” oil is engineered specifically to provide the highest level of lubrication in high and low temperatures, which results in better overall engine protection. Synthetic oil has superior cleansing properties which help to keep your engine cleaner.
While it is the most expensive type of motor oil, it is considered by many to be the best type of oil that you can put in your car. However, not every car requires synthetic oil.
If your driving conditions are not ideal, synthetic oil might be the best option for you. In bases of stop and go traffic, short trips, or very cold or hot temperatures, stepping up to synthetic might be the best case scenario.
Check your owner’s manual to determine whether you vehicle requires synthetic oil. Most newer cars require synthetic oil but older cars should run just fine with a conventional oil unless your car has over 75,000 miles on it, in which case a high-mileage oil is recommended.