What Kind of Oil Should Your Car Use?

Figuring Out Oil: What Should You Use in Your Car? — Jeff’s Auto Repair

Routine oil changes are one of the most important services you can provide for your vehicle. A sufficient supply of clean engine lubricant helps your car operate better and last longer. If you’re looking for oil to use yourself, you may wonder what you should choose given the number of options you see on the store shelf. We’re glad to help you navigate those choices, or you can let us take care of oil changes for you. In business for more than 40 years, Jeff’s Auto Repair in Renton, Washington, is your local go-to shop for oil change as well as a full range of preventive maintenance services and repairs.

Choices in Engine Lubricants

If you didn’t already know there are lots of choices, a stroll down the oil aisle in an auto parts store might feel a bit overwhelming. There’s no need to worry. We’ll walk you through it. As you browse the shelves, you’ll find four categories of oil–conventional, full synthetic, synthetic blend, and high mileage. Not surprisingly, conventional oil is derived from the natural resource crude oil found underground. Most engines (those that are newer models, have relatively low miles, and are driven under normal conditions) are sufficiently protected with conventional lubricant.

Full synthetic is made by adding chemicals to ease wear, rust, etc. Its molecules are engineered to be homogeneous in size (in contrast to the heterogeneous mix of conventional oil). Synthetic oil offers higher viscosity, an indicator of how well it pours at room temperature. Oil with a high viscosity protects moving parts better than that with a lower viscosity because it can coat the components well. It’s also less likely to experience premature breakdown which puts your engine at risk for sludge formation.

Commercial drivers often gravitate toward synthetic oil because it can withstand their operating conditions and heavy loads. It is, however, expensive. Therefore, synthetic blend is a nice option for some vehicle owners. It’s less expensive than full synthetic, yet it offers many of the same benefits. It’s a combination of synthetic oil, conventional lubricant, and some additives. A final option is high mileage oil which has additives that are great at protecting the dried, leaking seals of older or classic cars.

Reading the Labels

The oil container offers additional information. The “SAE” designation conveys that the Society of Automotive Engineers has given their seal of approval. “W” stands for winter and refers to the viscosity of motor oil at cold temperatures. You should consult your owner’s manual for related oil information. Better yet, bring your vehicle to Jeff’s Auto Repair and let us take care of oil changes for you.

Written by Jeff's Auto Repair

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