Car oils aren’t all equal. The range of options — different viscosities, and choosing a synthetic versus a conventional oil — can be dizzying. But with a little information, drivers in Lexington, KY can pick the right oil for their vehicle, and feel confident about scheduling an auto service or oil change appointment.
Weight and Viscosity
All motor oil is rated with a weight — for instance, 10W-30. This refers to the oil’s viscosity at various temperatures.
In this example, the first number, 10, refers to the oil’s viscosity at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. (The “W” stands for “winter”.) The second number is the oil’s viscosity at 212 degrees.
Higher numbers mean thicker oil. Oil needs to be thick enough to keep all the engine’s parts lubricated, but thin enough so it can flow.
In general, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for oil weight and viscosity, as well as other aspects of auto maintenance. Choosing the wrong oil once or twice probably won’t damage the vehicle, but it may do real harm over time, and it could void the engine’s warranty.
Synthetic versus Conventional
Conventional oil is all-natural: it comes out of the ground, gets refined, and then ends up in a bottle. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s best for every oil change.
In general, conventional oil is less expensive than synthetic, per bottle. But because it’s generally as nature made it, it’s not fine-tuned for the auto maintenance needs of a vehicle’s engine.
Synthetic oils still have their origins in the ground. Each brand is created via a trade secret, but they’re typically synthesized from oil-derived petrochemicals, and purified for an engine’s needs. Because synthetic oil is more pure than conventional oil, it’s slower to create grimey deposits inside your engine.
Plus, because synthetic oil doesn’t break down as easily as conventional oil, it needs changing less frequently: most experts recommend changing conventional motor oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, and synthetic oil every 7,500 to 15,000 miles, as an essential part of auto service. This means that while there’s a larger up-front cost for every bottle of synthetic oil (and every oil change), the difference in cost between synthetic and conventional works out to be about even.
In general, most experts recommend following the manufacturer’s advice when choosing the weight of your vehicle’s oil, and choosing synthetic over conventional oil. However, if you have any questions, check with your vehicle’s mechanic. For an oil change appointment in Lexington KY, contact Southside Auto Repair in Lexington KY at (859) 359-8412.
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