Understanding the Different Types of Oils and What Your Car Needs
There are many different types of oils you can use for your vehicle, but selecting one for your next oil change service can seem like a daunting task because each vehicle manufacturer designed the vehicle differently, for example European vehicles, such as BMW oil change and Mercedes oil change, generally required different type of oil than Japanese vehicle such as Toyota oil change and Honda oil change. This article will explain some different factors you need to look at, when making your decision for car oil service, but first and foremost, you can narrow down your options by looking for the starburst symbol. This indicates that the oil has met the standards of API, or the American Petroleum Institute. Additionally, every oil container will have a 2-character service designation. The latest service standard issues by API is SL, which refers to a specific group of engine and laboratory tests (including methods for testing high-temperature deposits). Next, you will need to pick how thick your oil needs to be based on the temperature your vehicle is normally operated in. Thickness is referred to as “viscosity”.
Checking your owner’s manual is an excellent 1st step to take, but there’s a bit more an oil change service than that.
Viscosity could be described as a measure of thickness, but it is actually a measure of how resistant a fluid is to flowing. It’s rated at 0o F (shown by the number preceding the W [for winter]) and at 212o F. (shown by the designation’s second number). As an example, 10W-30 has a lower viscosity rating when cold and hot than a 20W-50 oil.
If you’re wondering why this matters, oil is designed to thin out as it heats while thicken as it cools down. Additives are used to help control viscosity so you have options when it comes to the type of oil that best fits your local climate. The more resistant an oil is to thinning, the higher the second number in the designation will be. Thicker oil generally seals better and provides better lubrication between moving parts.
In colder temperatures, however, the oil you pick has to be more resistant to thickening so it can flow more easily during winter. Too thick oil and you’ll have trouble starting up your car. So as you can see there are a number of variables to consider in addition to manufacturer requirements and this is specifically important for BMW oil change and Mercedes oil change.
Types of Oils
There are plenty of different types of oils, so here’s a review of each kind:
- The standard oil for new cars is Premium Conventional Oil. Lower temps usually call for 5W-20 or 5W-30. 10W-30 is suggested for oil change service in higher temperatures areas.
- Full synthetic oil is made for high-tech engines, such as BMW oil change, Mercedes oil change and European car oil change in general. These oils must pass stringent special tests to work in a wide range of temperatures.
- Synthetic blend oils have a mix of synthetic and organic oil. This is popular for large SUVs and pickup trucks oil change services since it helps increase fuel economy.
- Higher mileage oil is (quite obviously) designed for oil change services on cars with a higher amount of miles on them.
While this may seem like a complex decision, you can reference your owner’s manual and ask local mechanics for their recommendation. When it comes down to it, viscosity is the most important factor when choosing a car oil. And, while there are plenty of brands, just make sure to look for one with the API seal.
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