Have you ever been in your car, driving on the highway, and suddenly the oil level warning lights start glowing on the dashboard? You halt at the next service station to buy a bottle of engine oil. Do you see the various engine oil options on the shelf and have no idea which one to go for?
While buying engine oil, there’s a set of things you need to check. Here’s how you can do that:
Your manufacturer has already made it easy for you. If you browse through your owner’s manual, you’ll find its recommended oil weight listed. In normal scenarios, just go with what is listed there. However, in extreme seasons, you might want to adjust accordingly.
All engine oils will have a viscosity grade, described by two numbers separated by a W. __W__. W stands for winter. The number preceding it tells you the viscosity of the oil when it’s cold. Basically, how thick this oil will be when you’re starting your car after a cold winter night. It goes from zero to twenty-five by steps of five. A rule of thumb is that if you subtract 35 from this number, you’ll get the lower temperature the oil can tolerate. E.g. A 0W__ oil can tolerate -35ºC.
The number after W is called the high-temperature grade, and it goes from 8 to 60. When the engine is running, it indicates the viscosity of the oil. The lower the number, the lower the viscosity at 100ºC, or thinner is the oil. Today, the most common ones are between 16-40—the thinner the oil, the less the fuel consumption. For the high-temperature grade, stick to what is written in the manual of the car.
It indicates the make and model of engines in which the oil can be used. It is driven by specification. Just remember that each engine needs a specific oil, which should be approved by the manufacturer of your car. The oils go through hundreds of laboratory and engine tests specifically chosen by the car manufacturers to be approved.
Nowadays, there’s a whole variety of motor oil types to choose from, which are listed as follows: