Understanding Oil Viscosity
If you change your vehicle's oil at home, instead of with the experts at Springdale Automotive in Brownsboro, Kentucky, you might already know that not all motor oils are made the same. Some are designed for high-performance cars, while others are made for vehicles that have more miles on the odometer. One key factor of different motor oils is viscosity — how thick the oil is or how easily it pours. When we talk about oil viscosity, we are talking about the consistency of the oil at different temperatures.
Why Viscosity Matters
Why does it matter how your oil “pours” at different temperatures? It's already in your car, isn't it? We use the idea of pouring to help drivers imagine the consistency of the motor oil. Does it pour like water or honey? The difference could impact how easily it flows throughout the engine and how well it does its job! Oil viscosity is also important in providing benefits beyond normal engine performance. Using an oil with a certain viscosity range could reduce friction on parts, help your car run better in extreme temperature, and ease the engine under heavy loads.
How to Choose
So, how do you know which viscosity to look for when buying new motor oil? You can find an oil's viscosity — it's “resistance to flow” — labeled on the bottle in the form of paired numbers and letters, something like “5W-30.” Remember that viscosity is affected by temperature — oil thickens as it cools and thins as it heats — so ratings are used to represent viscosity when the specific oil is cold or hot. The first number tells you the viscosity rating at zero degrees Fahrenheit. The lower the number, the less it thickens in colder weather. As for the second number, the higher it is, the less it thins in hotter temperatures.
When choosing a motor oil, you'll mainly want to follow your vehicle's recommendations. Check the owner's manual for guidance! You'll also want to consider the local climate in your area. Generally, a “5W” is recommended for winter use, but some synthetic oils with a “0W” are also formulated for easy flow when cold.
If you have questions about the best motor oil for your vehicle, don't hesitate to ask the experts at Springdale Automotive in Brownsboro, Kentucky! We are happy to help!