The Slippery Facts about the Oil in Your Car

When shopping for oil for your car, you'll notice a couple of aisles dedicated to this slippery substance in your local auto supplies store. All oil is not alike and each of them have a particular purpose. Here is the low down on motor oils and why it's important to pick out the right one when changing the oil in your car.

What Oil Does for Your Engine

Ultimately, oil is about managing the heat in your engine. Your engine is full of metal parts rubbing against each other. Metal against metal creates a large amount of friction, which generates heat. In just a few minutes of running your engine without any oil in it, the engine will seize up and stop running. The metal parts will warp from the heat and some may fuse together. Your engine needs the right type of oil in the right amount to lubricate those metal parts so they can work together without being damaged by the heat. The different oils you see in the auto parts store are for different engine types and driving conditions.

Premium Conventional Oils

In spite of the name, these are the standard types of oil in use today. These are based on the basic oil that has been around since the invention of the internal combustion engine. Additives have been added to better control the viscosity of the oil under high temperatures. This oil is available in different weights to meet extreme hot and cold weather conditions. They can be used in most car engines today.

Full Synthetic Oils

Newer car engines are made with a higher precision to increase their performance. Different metals are often used in these high-performance luxury car engines and they require more lubrication than they can get from the natural organic oils pumped from the ground. Man-made, synthetic oils were developed to support the heat produced in these engines. They work best at the higher heat levels, they do not thin out as much at higher temperatures, and produce less deposits in the engine. Older cars, and especially those with high mileage, do not run as well using full synthetic oils.

Synthetic Blend Oils

This oil is a mixture of synthetic and organic oils to produce a lubricant designed for cars and trucks that carry heavy loads. The additional weight produces more stress and heat in the engine. This oil performs well at high temperatures over long periods of time to keep the engine cool. This is a good choice if you pull a boat or trailer with your car.

High-Mileage Oils

An engine with many miles on it has worn parts creating greater space between them. The additional space needs more lubrication to fill the gaps while the engine is running. High-mileage oils have a higher viscosity at high temperatures so you don't lose the lubrication benefits as your engine heats up. This is your choice if you have an older, high-mileage car.

When shopping for oil at your auto supply store, start with the oil recommended by your car's owner's manual and make adjustments for high mileage or pulling heavy loads. The more efficient the lubrication is in your car, the longer your car's engine will last.