We all know that we need to get our oil changed about every 3,000 miles based on your manufactures recommendations. What we don’t know is how to reply when the mechanic asks “What kind of oil do you want?”. To most of us what follows is a meaningless string of numbers and letters that may or may not launch the space shuttle. This month we will take a look at what it all means.
Synthetic vs. Conventional
The first question the service tech usually asks is “Would you like conventional or synthetic motor oil?”. Let’s take a quick peek at the differences between the two. Conventional oil is crude oil that has been refined and cleaned to become the usable oil we all know. We put it in everything from our cars and motorcycles to our lawn mowers. In recent decades synthetic oil was introduced to the market. It begins its life as crude oil then has additives that change the way it performs. It lasts longer, reduces deposits, flows better at cold temperatures, and maintains lubrication better at high temperatures. So why wouldn’t we all use synthetic? It is more expensive and not all cars really need it. In fact, it’s really only high-performance cars that require more performance than conventional oil requires. It’s kind of like giving an amateur golfer use Tiger Woods’ golf clubs. They may be better, but we can still shank the ball into the water if we don’t have the skills to match.
By the Numbers
The numbers on the bottle all have to do with viscosity. Viscosity is a fluid’s resistance to flow (how well it coats). This is listed as a two-number letter combination such as 10W-40. The viscosity is rated at two different temperatures. First at 0° F which is the winter rating and the first number. It’s the 10W part of our number code. A 5W is rated for colder weather than a 10W. The second number is found by measuring the viscosity at 212°F. The higher the second number the better it coats at this temperature, which keeps parts lubricated minimizing friction.
Hopefully, this will help you next time you are getting your oil changed so you can make an informed decision on what oil is right for you and your car. If in doubt, call us. We’re always here to help you. (910) 483-2958
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7611 Clinton Road
Stedman, NC 28391