Proper, routine vehicle maintenance is vital to avoid major repair bills and keep your vehicle running reliably for many years.  One of the most important services you can do to maintain your vehicle is to change the oil and oil filter regularly.  Your oil should be relatively clean, but still have a dark color to it once it runs through your engine.  Regularly check that the oil level is between the minimum and maximum lines.  Let’s look at typical motor oils you will find at your local store.

Motor Oil Basics

Motor oil is a confusing topic which always brings up many questions. Do I really need synthetic? Does my new car take conventional? When do I need to switch to high-mileage? Understanding the basics of the different types of motor oil will help you answer these questions. Whether you are changing your own oil or have a service center do it for you, understanding the how’s and why’s will help you make the intelligent decision that protects your investment.  The best method to keeping your engine’s moving parts well lubricated; keeping the engine cooler and also carry heat away from the moving parts; and lastly preventing the engine from seizing and dying, is to change the oil regularly, thereby protecting your vehicle investment.

Conventional Oil

Conventional oil is formulated with additive packages to ensure that it has the proper heat tolerance, breakdown resistance, and viscosity (thickness and fluidity) that engines require. For many vehicles, conventional oil gets the job done. However, depending on your road conditions and engine age, upgrading to a more robust motor oil may be the right solution.

High-Mileage Oil

If your vehicle has over 75,000 miles on the odometer, you may want to consider the high mileage oil.  High mileage oils contain seal conditioners that help protect seals, which in turn prevents oil evaporation, also known as burn-off.  Burn off is a problem that occurs more easily in older engine.  Some high mileage oils will contain extra anti-wear additives as well as additional dispersants and detergents to help break up any sludge and keep the engine’s moving parts cleaner.

Synthetic Oil

Synthetic or “full synthetic” oil is engineered specifically to provide the highest level of lubrication in high and low temperatures, which results in better overall engine protection. The superior cleansing properties of synthetic oil help keep your engine cleaner.

Though more expensive than conventional or high mileage motor oil, synthetic oil is considered by many to be the best type of oil that you can put in your car. However, not every car requires synthetic oil.

If your driving conditions are not ideal, synthetic oil might be the best option for you. If your daily commute consists of stop and go traffic, short trips, or very cold or hot temperatures, stepping up to synthetic might be the best case scenario.

Check your owner’s manual to determine whether you vehicle requires synthetic oil. Most new cars require synthetic oil but older cars should run just fine with a conventional oil unless your car has over 75,000 miles on it, in which case a high-mileage oil is recommended.

Motor oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle. Proper lubrication is essential to prevent your vehicle from breaking down. Routine oil checks and oil changes can keep you and your vehicle from running into costly and potentially disastrous repairs.  If you have not been up to date with your oil changes, I suggest you start soon.