You may never have thought about why your car needs oil. The engine contains many moving parts that must be lubricated to work smoothly. Oil not only lubricates, but it cools the moving parts, keeps them clean and seals the pistons in the cylinders. Without oil, you engine would seize up and stop working completely.
The Right Oil For Your Car
The real question is which oil to buy. When it comes to selecting the viscosity (thickness), we often get mixed messages from the manufacturers. Some say that any good brand of oil is fine, while others claim you must have a custom blend with the exact characteristics. If you’re driving a rare sports car, then this may be true, but with most autos now, you don’t need to be a scientist to answer the question of which oil to use.
First, consider your driving habits. Do you normally have long commutes on a freeway or is most of your driving in the city? The outside temp is also a factor. When oil gets hot, it thins so there’s less viscosity (a fluid’s resistance to flow). Generally, thicker oil will do a better job of lubricating the moving parts, but if the climate remains cold where you live for most of the year, then a thicker oil would probably not be ideal.
So should you choose 10W-30, 10W-40 or maybe 20W-50? Since this can be a confusing topic, most manufacturers recommend using the oil recommended by your car maker. The owner’s manual may also give you advice about varying the oil viscosity depending upon whether you live in a state that is warm most of the year as opposed to one where it’s largely cold weather.
When To Change Oil?
Your oil should be changed every 3,000 miles or so. If you have a new car, then check with the dealership where you bought your car to make sure. Sometimes, by not performing regular maintenance on a new car, you can void your warranty. You do not have to take your car into the dealership where you purchased it for oil changes, as long as you go to a reputable place. Your dealership will often perform other tasks while changing your oil such as filter, radiator and transmission checks.