Engine Oil: What Every Car Owner Should Know

Many drivers understand the importance of regular engine oil changes. However, how often it should be done; the oil to be used among other things remains a mystery to many. Discover the motor oil basics and maintain your engine at optimum performance.

 All oils are not created equal

Although most auto repair shops stock various engine oil brands, not all of these meet the required standards. While the authorities are trying their best to kick away the low-quality brands, car owners should also be on the lookout. You need to ensure that the brand has the stamp of quality before purchasing.

 Mineral vs. synthetic

Motor oil can be mineral, synthetic or semi-synthetic. Synthetic oils are manufactured through an expensive chemical process than the one used in the mineral oil manufacture. Therefore, the former tend to have enhanced performance. Synthetic oils flow smoothly at low temperatures, contain anti-rusting additives and are more heat resistant than the mineral oils. They are therefore best for use during all seasons including winter.

 Viscosity is of essence

Viscosity is the determinant of oil’s thickness. The viscosity index is indicated on the label, and it precedes the W that stands for winter. Thin oil will have a lower number and flows smoothly. The thick oils have higher numbers and have more resistance to flow.

Usually, thick oils seal better and maintain better lubrication between the moving parts. Thicker oils perform better as they thin out under high temperatures; therefore are ideal for winter. Thinner oils perform best in cold weather. They are thus recommended for winter.

 Skipping oil changes is costly

Some motorists attempt to maintain their vehicles less often than recommended because they want to save on costs. However, failing to follow a dealer’s maintenance recommendations might cost you more in the long run. Experts recommend an oil change every three months or after 5,000 to 8,000 kilometers.