Engine oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle’s engine. When the engine is running, the oil pumps through the engine, lubricating the necessary parts to reduce damage caused by friction. It also helps keep specific engine parts cool during hot weather and warm during those cold Corinth, Texas, winter mornings.
Having regular oil changes is essential to help keep your vehicle performing optimally; however, not all engine oil is the same. If you put the wrong type of engine oil in or the wrong weight for the season, you can cause harm to the engine and the parts the oil lubricates. But how do you know what type of oil to put in your car, SUV, or truck? You can check your owners manual, or better yet, bring your vehicle to us at Huffines Kia Corinth so we can be sure to put the right oil in your car’s engine.
Which Oil Should I Put In My Car?
For decades, car owners used conventional oil in their vehicles. However, as vehicle systems became more refined and sophisticated, automakers started demanding different types of oil for their specific needs. As researchers realized that conventional oil is filled with impurities and takes massive amounts of energy to refine, they began developing synthetic oils and high-mileage oils to help extend the life span of the vehicle’s engine. Engine oil is described using specific terms that are important to understand, including:
- American Petroleum Institute (API) rating: The API categorizes and classifies car engine oil for performance and standards. Having the API stamp on the motor oil ensures that it’s designed for the proper use of a vehicle’s engine size to protect it from damage.
- Viscosity: Viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil and how easily one can pour it into the engine. In cold temperatures, you’ll need a lower-viscosity oil and at higher temperatures, a thicker viscosity. Viscosity rates are developed by the API.
- Weight: You’ll see different weights labeled on motor oil, such as 5W-30 or 0W-20. The weight is based on the viscosity rating. The higher the “W” number, the thicker or more viscous the oil is. In colder weather, you’ll need lower-weight or thinner viscosity oil that has less resistance during the engine’s start-up period. In hot weather, you’ll want more viscosity.
- Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE): The SAE created a numerical system for grading engine oil weights according to viscosity.
This common type of engine oil is made from crude oil pumped from underground fossil fuels. Oil refineries use crude oil and take the impurities out. They then mix in detergents and various additives to clean it up enough so it keeps your engine protected without causing harm from particulate matter or other impurities.
One of the disadvantages of conventional oil is its life span. When it’s exposed to heat as it goes through the various engine parts, conventional oil begins to degrade. Once it degrades, it loses its protective elements. If your vehicle uses conventional oil, you need to have it changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
Full-synthetic oil is a modern alternative to conventional oil. While the name implies that this type of oil is synthesized, it’s actually not. Synthetic oil is still manufactured from crude oil. However, the refining process is more involved.
During the refining process, impurities are eliminated, and the refinery operators make sure that the oil’s molecules have the same consistent size. This process makes the chemicals in motor oil more stable, and they are able to resist oxidation and degradation more than conventional oil. In addition, higher-quality detergents and additives help the engine stay cleaner and more protected. Synthetic oil also lasts longer before needing changing. High-performance vehicles and sports cars perform best with full-synthetic oil.
Synthetic oil is expensive to manufacture and costs more to put into the engine. This may put some people off from using it. Some oil manufacturers today make a synthetic oil blend that offers the benefits of full-synthetic oil without the full cost of making it. Synthetic-blend oil still uses crude oil as a base, but it goes through extensive refining to remove impurities. It receives detergents and additives that are of higher quality than those used in conventional oil but less expensive than those used in full-synthetic oil.
While you still receive some of the benefits of full-synthetic oil, the synthetic-blend oil does degrade quicker than its full-synthetic counterpart and you’ll need to change it sooner. For those looking for the middle ground between inexpensive conventional oil and expensive synthetic oil, the synthetic blend is a viable option.
If you drive a vehicle that has over 75,000 miles on it, you’ll want high-mileage oil. This type of oil has distinct additives, detergents, and sealers designed to help reduce oil leaks and do extra cleaning on the engine. Older engines often produce more sludge than newer ones and need oil with additives and detergents made to address this issue and remove the extra dirt and impurities from the older engine.
In addition, high-mileage oil has anti-wear agents that can help protect against future wear and tear of vital engine parts. If you notice your vehicle has a slow oil leak, you need to add oil frequently. If it has a reduction in throttle response, have your dealership’s service center inspect the engine and ask them about using high-mileage oil.
Get Your Oil Changed Today
Having clean oil and the right type and weight is essential to keep your vehicle running in top condition. Our highly trained and certified service technicians will change your oil and give it regular maintenance and servicing so it will provide you with optimum performance. We use original equipment manufacturer parts from our parts department for all our regular services and repairs, so you can rest assured your vehicle will have the specific parts intended for it. Contact us at Huffines Kia Corinth in Corinth, Texas, today to schedule a service for an oil change and tune-up.