A lot of people see their car as more than a possession. They see it as a tool which enables them to pursue a certain lifestyle. Whether it is a slow drive around the block, a commute to work or a road trip you need your car to be in a perfect condition to undertake such a feat. Still, in order to do so, you need to take proper care of your car, which takes a lot of effort, knowledge and above all – motivation.
Some people resolve this by simply taking their car to a mechanic every 3-4 months for a regular checkup, get an oil change service, and let a professional give their car a once-over. But there are those who enjoy cars and have the knowledge to do this themselves. These people prefer to perform most routine maintenance tasks on their own. One such example is changing the oil but in order to do it properly, you must first know how to pick the right oil. Here’s a short guide that might help you figure this out.
1. How often should you change your oil?
Before we even start, it’s vital that you know how often should you change your oil in the first place. Here, there are several schools of thought. Some say that you should do so every 10,000 miles, others advocate that 5,000 is more than enough, while the most extreme ones change the oil in their car every 3,000 miles. Roughly, this is somewhere between 3-4 months (depending on how much you travel on a daily basis) but it is much more reliable to track the meter and note down when was the last time you changed the oil.
2. What is oil viscosity?
The first thing you need to car oil is that the viscosity is perhaps its most important trait. Roughly speaking, this is oil’s resistance to flow and it may determine how well your car behaves at different temperatures. The thicker it is, the greater the viscosity which means that it performs better in high temperatures. If the oil in question is of the lighter grade it gives your engine an easier start, which is a particularly helpful trait in low temperatures.
This brings us to the above-discussed topic of how often you should change the oil. As you can see, there is more than just mileage in question here, seeing as how a sudden climate change in your region may make it worth your while to replace the oil earlier than you intended. Even though some may deem this as ‘too expensive’ it’s worth the cost if you want your vehicle to perform well no matter the outside conditions.
3. Look out for major brands
Finally, you need to keep in mind that in this industry brand speaks volumes. You see, a car is an expensive investment, which means that you don’t want to risk ruining its engine with a low-quality oil. Overall, you have three major oil types: mineral, synthetic and semi-synthetic. Synthetic oils are usually the most expensive ones but also behave best in extremely low temperatures. Moreover, keep in mind that the type of oil that is best for your vehicle may be mentioned in the user manual, which should be the first thing you consult.
Needless to say, each of these oil types has a brand that excels in it. For instance, if you want to go for a high-end full synthetic oil, you cannot go wrong with Castrol. On the other hand, Mobil and Valvoline produce great semi-synthetic oils, while for a mineral one, you would probably go with Shell Helix.
As you can see, the choice of the best oil for your car usually isn’t that clear-cut. Sure, while synthetic oil may be the optimal choice for most vehicles, it might not sit well with your particular car model. Furthermore, the oil that performs great in the summer doesn’t necessarily have to be the one you would choose for a harsh winter. Overall, there are many things to consider before choosing the oil to use and it is always great to know what you are up against before you pass the final decision.