Engine Oil Change Service and the life of your car.
Engine Oil Change Service is important to the life of your car. All these fluids and lubricants can all be very confusing; Engine oil, coolant, antifreeze, brake fluid, transmission oil, power steering. All these fluids are vital to the health if your car. A healthy car saves money and promotes reliability.
1. The right oil
What are all these fluids and lubricants? Does it matter what kind of oil or coolant I put in my car? Some of it is green some of it is red. Some fluids are clear and some are even blue or orange. The colors usually indicate which one is right for your Car, truck or SUV.
Engine oils all look the same. Using the wrong oil in your engine can damage even destroy it.
There are synthic engine oils, synthetic blends and conventional oils. Every engine oil has a couple of ratings. The first most recognized is the weight or viscosity rating expressed in numbers written on the container under the letters SAE (Society of Automotive Engneers).
2. What is oil “weight?”
Two numbers separated by a W indicate the engine oil’s weight or viscosity. The W after the first number refers to the thickness or viscosity of the oil in cold weather. Think W for winter driving.
The second number indicates viscosity when the oil gets hot. The higher the number the thicker the oil. 5W30 oil is less viscous when it is cold. 10W30 is heavier when it’s cold.
The correct weight of your car’s oil is very specific. The best viscousity for your can depends on ambient temperatures found in the climate here you live. A car that lives in Florida may use a different recommended viscosity from the same car living in Minisota in the winter. Lower numbers can improve starting and milage. With modern chemical engineering the first number may even be 0. Hot oil Viscosity is indicated by the second number. It is very important to not exceed the car’s recommended hot viscosity, the number after the W. To high of a viscosity can actually starve the engine of it’s critical lubrication.
Refer to the owners manual to find what oil your car takes.
3. The right protection
The API (American Petrolium Institute) rating is an important designation. This rating for engine oil consists of a group of letters. These letters signify how well the oil protects against engine sludge, oxidation, component wear, oil consumption and deposits.
You will find the API rating in a circle or dot on the side of the oil container.
Decode the oil’s protection level by noticing the the two letters starting with S. The higher the second letter the more up to date it’s technology. SN is the current most up to date rating for today’s gasoline powered cars. Labels indicating an API rating of SA – SH are out dated and should not be used. Using outdated oil could cause engine damage.
If you drive a diesel powered car or truck you will want to look for oil of the correct viscosity and an API rating starting with the letter C for compression ignition or Diesel engine. Please note some oils have both. API oils recommend for Diesel engines wil have the letters CH, CI,CJ or CK. Again refer to your manufacturers owners manual of take your vehicle to a certified trained mechanic.
4. The Right Time
How often should I change my engine oil? It really depends. Most manufacturers are recommending an engine oil change service at 5,000 miles. Some manufacturers recommend 7,500 miles or more between oil changes. Old timers recommend an oil change every 3,000 to 3500 miles. Who is right?
Engine oil technology has improved engine oils since SA API rated oil. 5,000 miles betwween oil changes under normal driving conditions using SN rated oil with a good filter is not unreasonable. Change your oil more often if you drive short distances of five to ten miles at a time or live in an area with extreme temperatures. More often is always better. Driving habits and conditions make a big difference.
Be sure to check your engine oil level between services.