Your Guide to Choosing the Right Engine Oil for Your Car
Choosing the best oil for your car was once quite a simple matter, with most drivers simply buying the best quality engine oil brand they could find and changing the oil on a regular basis. However, these days things have become much more complicated with lots of diversity in engines, fuels, and oil grades. When choosing oil, there are still some general rules to follow that can help you make sure that your car continues to run smoothly and may even save you money over time. Modern engines have lots of different requirements in terms of engine oil these days, so getting it right is important.
What Oil Do I Put in My Car?
The best way to ensure that you are making the right choice when choosing an oil for your car is to look at the owner’s manual. This document will be a source of all the information that you need when it comes to choosing the right engine oil to use. If you do not have the handbook, then you can call a dealership that specialises in your car’s brand and ask the service department to recommend a brand for you. Many car parts and accessories stores and online shops will also have handy tools that you can use to find the most recommended types of oil for your car when you enter the registration number or make, model, and year. You can also sometimes find the recommended viscosity rating for the oil on your oil filler cap in your engine. It’s also worth taking some time to look under the bonnet since some car manufacturers apply a small decal listing the brand and grade of oil that is recommended for a particular car.
What Oil for My Car – Why Does a Car Need Oil?
Simply put, your car needs oil because of friction. When you are driving your car, the metal parts in the engine will rub against one another at a very high speed, creating a lot of friction and heat. Without the engine oil in the car to reduce the friction and heat, then an engine would not be able to handle it and would melt within minutes of starting the car.
What Oil in My Car – Why Does the Oil Need Changing?
Over time, the engine oil in your car will wear out. As the time passes and you drive more miles in your car, the oil becomes less and less effective at reducing the friction in the engine. This is why car manufacturers will specify the correct mileage intervals or time intervals to change the oil in the engine before any damage is risked. Along with this, you will also need to know the correct oil for your car as it might need topping up between changes. Most cars will consume some of the oil in between the changes so you’ll need to add more to keep it at the correct level. You can do this in the traditional way by checking the dipstick underneath the car hood, although some modern cars now have electronic measuring systems that you can use to find out if your oil needs topping up and by how much.
What Oil Should I Put in My Car?
Since modern engines use a range of different metals and have close tolerances with tighter fits that further increase the friction, modern engine oils are more complicated these days when it comes to chemistry. Most new engine oils have complex additive packages that are designed to help them offer better lubrication to the engine parts. The right type of oil for your car will depend on different factors, for example, a diesel engine and a petrol engine will require different oil types. Older engines will usually do better with a thicker oil to maintain the correct oil pressure, while multi-valve, high-revving engines usually require a thinner oil to prevent start-up damage.
Which Oil for My Car?
There is no one-size-fits-all engine oil and getting your engine oil wrong can cause serious damage to your engine, which is why it is such an important subject to research. You can also learn a lot about the oil from the container. It’s important to use an oil with the correct API rating since this ensures that the oil is at least as modern as the engine that it is going to be placed into and has been accepted by the manufacturer for the vehicle. Currently, the API rating is SN and the ratings go backwards through the alphabet for older cars. For example, the engine in an older car might be fine with an oil API rating of SG, but a brand new car will not run well with this type of oil. Other important numbers and letters to look out for on the oil packaging are to do with the viscosity or how thick or runny the oil is. A low-viscosity oil will flow faster and lubricate better when you start the car.
What Oil to Put in My Car?
In a hot climate like in Australia, the viscosity of the oil is an important factor to consider, as it is possible that when this is too low, the oil will not be sticky enough to properly lubricate the engine. It’s also important to know what fuel your car runs on before you get new oil or book an oil change since diesel engine oil is very different from petrol engine oil. Another factor to consider is whether you will use mineral oil or synthetic oil.
The reality is that all engine oils begin as crude oil from the ground, and mineral oil is refined to make it suitable for using in engines. On the other hand, synthetic oil tends to be more expensive. This is because they have been refined even further before being distilled to smooth them at a molecular level. Synthetic oil is then treated with a range of additives such as anti-foaming agents, friction modifiers, and antioxidants to stretch out the viscosity range. Semi-synthetic oil falls somewhere between the two and is a good way to get a higher-tech oil at a good price.
What Type of Oil for My Car – Do’s and Don’ts
When it comes to choosing the right engine oil for your car, changing and topping up your oil, there are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind.
- Consult your manufacturer’s handbook or use an online tool to find the correct type of oil for your specific car.
- Change your oil regularly as this will help to keep your engine clean and reduce the need to have your engine flushed to remove a build-up of sludge.
- Dispose of any old oil safely and legally whenever you change the oil on your car.
- Change the filter with your oil each time.
- Check the oil level in your car on a regular basis.
- Get professional advice if you are not sure which oil your car needs or how to change it.
- Make guesses about which oil is right for your engine. It’s too easy to make a mistake with so many options, so do your research and make sure you have the right information.
- Be tempted by cheap oil brands. Stick with quality brands that you know or ask a mechanic for a brand that they recommend.
- Believe everything you read online. Especially on online forums, there can be a lot of misinformation.
- Mix oil grades and brands. Modern oils have complex additives in them, and mixing oils can cancel some of them out, making them less effective for your car’s engine.
Which Engine Oil for My Car – Booking an Oil Service
If you are not sure when your car’s engine oil needs changing, or what kind of oil to use in your car, then the best thing to do is to book an oil service for your vehicle. This can be done as a standalone oil change by many mechanics or as part of a minor or major service for your car. Having the oil changed when you take your car for both a minor and major service is usually enough to keep your car running smoothly and the engine in good condition but go more often if the mechanic advises you to. During this type of service, the mechanic will select the right oil for your vehicle and conduct a full oil change. They will completely drain any old oil from your car, change the oil filter, and install the new oil. Along with this, they can also check for any leaks, and damage, and top up other essential fluids such as brake fluid, power steering fluid, coolant, and windscreen washer fluid.
Engine oil is an important component to keep your engine in good condition and make sure that your car runs smoothly and performs well. But like anything, it will lose effectiveness over time and will need to be changed regularly. Before changing the oil in your car, getting the right type, grade, and viscosity is important.