What Type Of Oil Does My Car Need?

When it’s time for your regular oil change, it’s important you get the job done the right way. You should know the procedure as well as what oil is needed.

Choosing the right oil is very important to be sure it will last and perform as long as it should. However, it can be a little confusing if you don’t know which type of oil your car needs.

Hopefully, this will help clear up the confusion and give you some tips to follow so you will have the right oil for your car.

Before choosing the right oil for your car, you need to know what viscosity is needed. You need to know what kind of oil is best for your car’s engine and read through the additives recommended by the manufacturer.

The best way to find out which oil is right for the car, read the oil specifications in the owner’s manual. You can go to an auto parts store or the manufacturer’s website if you need help. Just put in your license plate number or VIN number, and they will suggest the right choice of motor oil for your car.

Choosing The Right Motor Oil

Oil Check

Oil Viscosity

Viscosity refers to the weight of the oil. That’s the most important factor when choosing the right oil for your car. The viscosity rating shows how the oil flows at different temperatures. If the engine oil gets hot, it will be thinner, if it’s cold the oil will be thicker. Thicker oils offer more lubrication but it can be harder to get the oil through the engine parts. Thinner oil flows better but does not offer much protection.

To help out, the engine oil viscosity is written in this format – #W-##. The number is the viscosity of the oil and the W stands for Winter. So, if the number is SW-30, the oil is thinner at colder temperatures than the 10W-30. The number is located after the W describing how thick the oil will be at normal engine operating temperatures.

In most situations, 5W-30 and 10W-40 are the most used oils and work well in most conditions. You might use 0W-30 if you live in sub-zero temperatures and 15W40 if you live in hot, humid conditions.

Oil Type

Standard motor oil is the most common type available. It has been considered a regular oil type for many decades. You can use it with any light-duty or late-model car if you are looking for a cheaper price during an oil change.

At the other end of the scale, you can opt for a full synthetic oil. Synthetic oils are designed to improve oxidation and lubrication. This oil will fight against sludge buildup but it’s also the most expensive oil during an oil change. The upside, the added cost will give you more time between oil changes.

If you don’t want to spend that much money on oil, you can choose a synthetic blend of oil. The synthetic blend oil contains some of the features of synthetic oil but the mixture of conventional base oils will allow the price to be a little bit less. It’s a good middle-of-the-road option if you want to change from conventional to synthetic. That said, you should choose the recommended oil from the manufacturer.

You can also choose a high mileage oil for vehicles with more than 75,000 miles on the odometer. This oil is specifically designed to reduce oil leaks or seepage on engines with higher mileages. It will reduce oil consumption and create less smoke.


There are many additives that can be included with the oil you want, so you need to know what you are using. Some oils contain antioxidants that will slow down oxidation. Anti-wear agents are included to protect the external components from higher temperatures.

Detergents will keep deposits at a lower level while dispersants allow the oil to absorb solid contaminants before they can cause damage.

Dispersants are chemicals that are sprayed on the surface of an oil slick to break down oil into smaller droplets that will mix with water. Using foam inhibitors, the motor will not form as many bubbles.

Friction modifiers reduce the friction when an engine operates under high temperatures or when pulling a heavy load.

Rust and corrosion inhibitors are critical to reducing wear from moisture. Oil can also contain viscosity index improvers. With these additives, the engine oil will perform really well, even when temperatures fluctuate.

Factors you should consider before choosing Oil

Driving Habits

The Climate

Even though you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, you should also consider the climate. Most engine oils cover a variety of temperature gamuts.

If you live in a hotter climate, you probably would prefer using a higher-grade viscosity that resists thinning such as 10W-40. On the other hand, cooler climates demand something that will turn thin faster such as 5W-30.

Your Driving Habits

If you are someone who pushes your car to the extreme with high-performance vehicles, you should consider using a different kind of oil. Heading off-road or towing will cause your engine to work so much harder than normal. You should seriously consider using oil with special additives and you might also need to get your oil changed more frequently.

If you only drive short distances, you are not allowing your car’s engine to reach normal operating temperatures. When that happens, more condensation will build up in the engine which will lead to sludge build-up and higher emissions. Under these conditions, you should carefully choose what engine oil additives are being used and seriously consider something that will break down the sludge or prevent corrosion.

The Age Of The Engine

If you drive a newer vehicle, your engine is manufactured to different standards than older models. High-rev, multi-valve engines use a thinner oil or there could be damage when the engine starts up. With the older engines, you need thicker oil to create the right amount of oil pressure for internal components.

If your engine is older, you might want a high-mileage motor oil. These oils can offer more protection to help keep your engine running longer.

Can You Mix Different Oil Types?

Just because you can mix different oil types, does not mean you should. When you start mixing oil types, you are just wasting your money. When you add full synthetic motor oil with conventional oil, you are not extending the life of the oil. It will still have to be changed out as if it’s conventional oil. You are throwing away the quality of the synthetic oil.

The synthetic blend is not just a conventional oil mixed with synthetic, it’s specially formulated to offer better engine protection against the weather and driving conditions.

How Often Should Your Oil Be Changed?

Conventional oil should be changed every 3,000 miles or three months, whichever comes first. Some newer models can go a little bit longer between oil changes. Reference the service manual to find out what’s best.

The average engine running synthetic oil does not require an oil change for 6,000 or more miles. You can go up to 6ix months before having an oil change which will save you a lot of time. Even though you might spend more on synthetic oil, the less frequent oil changes will level it off.

When you have an oil change, be sure to have the filter changed out as well. If you stay with the old filter, you are allowing contamination to load up the filter. You will allow debris and dirt to get into fresh oil, reducing its effectiveness.

If you are having issues with your vehicle and you believe it may be due to the oil you can get your vehicle checked and the issue diagnosed and resolved by booking online today.

For further information on our services you can browse the site or get in touch with us by calling 019253 30468 or alternatively, you can email us directly at service@lowtonmotorcompany.co.uk. At Lowton Motor Company we service all vehicles produced by all the top manufacturers from the a Kia to a Porsche and everything in between. Our experienced technicians have access to and traning with all the latest technology. You can be sure your vehicle is in safe hands whether it’s in for a repair, a service or just the annual MOT.

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