Do I really need special oil for my car?

May 18 2020

Whether you do your own car’s oil change or not, it’s a good idea to know the types of motor oil so you’ll know the appropriate choice for your vehicle. It might seem like a daunting task but you can get started fairly easily. While many cars require the appropriate oil for their vehicle, many car owners will find that they don’t quite need a “special” oil.

Oil is often associated as being the lifeblood of an engine, which is almost true. Truly, air is an engine’s lifeblood, but oil is needed to cool and lubricate the moving parts of an engine. It helps to keep the parts clean and by sealing the pistons in the cylinders as well. Without oil, the engine would seize after running just a few short seconds.

When you think of a car needing special oil, you’re thinking about using the best type of oil for your engine, which you’ll obviously want for the lowest price available. Here’s what you need to know to make the best selection of oil for your vehicle from the various types of motor oil.

Check Viscosity:
It’s highly important to use an oil that has the viscosity recommended by your vehicle’s owner manual. Viscosity is the fluid resistance to flow which is rated at -17 degrees Celsius, you will find this number before the “W” on the label. For example, the “10” in 10W-30. The second number is rated at 100°C, found as the second number on the label, the “30” in 10W-30. Because motor oil thickens as it cools and thins out as it heats up, it needs the right additives to combat excessive thickening or thinning to help the engine run optimally.

So, why are there so many oils to choose from? Many developers attempt to use additives for specific purposes such as for new cars, high tech engines, off-road or heavy-duty SUVs, or higher-mileage vehicles. You’ll also find a full range of viscosities available for each type of oil on the market.

If you have a newer car, the standard new-car oil will likely be premium conventional oil while taking care to ensure an oil change along with a filter change around every 6,400 kilometres or once every four months. However, if your car is equipped with a sensor that lets you know it’s time for an oil change, you won’t want to exceed this warning.

For vehicles with higher-tech engines, you’ll be good with full synthetic oil. This type of oil usually must pass stringent testing meaning it’s superior and long-lasting in all critical areas. If this oil is so great, why shouldn’t all cars be using it? Because not all engines require it and since they come at a premium, you might be throwing your money down the drain.

If you’ve regularly got a higher temperature or heavier loads, you may opt for a synthetic blend of oil which includes part organic oil and part synthetic oil mixed to provide certain protections. At a price, much less than full synthetic, these oils are more accessible for those needing the added protection for heavier loads.

Now that you’ve got your oil basics down, you should feel confident that you’re able to choose the right oil for your priorities and your engine needs.