It’s something every driver sees on their invoice when they go for a service, but very few give much thought to. Keeping your car’s oil clean and topped up is essential to ensuring that your vehicle operates smoothly and safely, providing essential lubrication between moving parts to reduce friction and minimise wear and tear.
But finding the right oil for your car can be difficult. Oils come in a huge range of configurations, not all of which will be suitable for your vehicle. If you want to get the best performance from your car, read on and learn the difference between the different kinds of engine oil in this latest blog from the A Grade Automotive Network.
Different oils, different needs
There’s no single kind of engine oil. Oils can largely be categorised by their composition into either mineral oil or synthetic oil. Mineral oils are simple distillates of whole crude oil, and synthetic oils can be created from chemically modified petroleum components as well as other raw materials. What does this mean in practice? Largely, synthetic oils are valuable to drivers operating in extreme temperatures. If you work at high altitudes in winter or need peak performance from your vehicle at the height of an Outback summer, they could be for you. Mineral oil compositions are largely cheaper and will achieve similar results to more expensive synthetic oils for drivers in more temperate climates.
Choosing the right oil weight
Once you’ve settled on a composition, it’s time to learn about weights. Weight refers to the viscosity of the oil – its ability to flow – at different temperatures. The majority of oils used in modern cars are multigrade oils – that is, they have different viscosities at low and high temperature. 10W-30 is a common grade of motor oil – the number preceding the W refers to its cold weather viscosity, and the lower this is the better it will flow at low temperatures; the number after the hyphen is its hot weather viscosity, and the lower this is the better it will flow at high temperatures. Inversely, higher numbers in either field means a more viscous or slow-moving liquid.
Adding a little something extra
Most engine oils on the market are also blended with additives, such as removing impurities before they create build up, inhibiting rust, safely containing contaminants and preventing foaming or bubbling. Your own vehicles’ needs will determine which kind of additives you require in your oil.
Your car’s manufacturer will have recommended a grade or band of grades of motor oil. Using the wrong oil can block the flow and cause costly damage. To ensure that you’re making the smarter choice for your vehicle, speak to the team at your nearest AGAN member business – they’ll know exactly what’s best for your car.