What Kind of Oil Should I Put in My Car?

It seems like it should be easy to select an oil for your car, but different types and numbers offer so many choices. Like all responsible car owners, you want to get your oil change right. If you’re thinking about doing it yourself, we can help. These are the questions we hear most often at our Bloomington, MN auto service center.

What Do the Numbers and That “W” Mean?

The numbers on a quart of oil indicate its viscosity grade. Most car maintenance motor oils are labeled 10W-30 or 10W-40. The 10 tells you the oil has an established maximum viscosity at low temperatures. The “W” stands for winter.

The 30 or 40 is your assurance that an oil meets viscosity requirements at 100 degrees Celsius. A lower number means the oil is thinner. Stick with oils that carry the American Petroleum Institute symbol. The API’s starburst label certifies that viscosity and quality have been industry-tested.

Are Different Motor Oils Really Different?

An oil change is pretty straightforward until you consider all your options. It can seem confusing, but most motor oils fall into one of these four categories.

  • Conventional Premium – This is the standard oil for most light-duty vehicles and new cars. It usually contains additives that hold up to high temperatures and keep the oil from breaking down.
  • Full Synthetic – Produced for high-tech engines, synthetic oil withstands high temperatures and extreme driving conditions. It’s often recommended for luxury class vehicles.
  • Synthetic Blend – A mix of organic oil and synthetics works best with big engines in heavy-duty vehicles.
  • Higher Mileage – This oil’s high viscosity is a good choice for older vehicles and new cars built to last longer.

How Do You Choose the Best Oil for Your Car?

Start by referencing the car maintenance section of your owner’s manual. Stick with the guidelines, but consider any recommendations for different climates.

It’s important to use oil with the right viscosity for your car’s engine. If you’re not sure, check with your automotive pro. He or she can tell you which type of oil is best for your vehicle based on its make, model, and age.

We’re Always Happy to Help

If you change your mind about that DIY oil change, we’re happy to help. Our complete car maintenance services cover everything. Stop by our Bloomington, MN shop or any other convenient Kennedy Transmission location. We’re always here to make your life on the road a little easier.

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