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February 11, 2019

What Oil Should You Use for Your Vehicle?

Oil is essential to the performance and health of your vehicle, so why wouldn’t you want to choose the right one for you? With so many different types of oil on the market, it can be tricky to make the right choice. Remember that the professionals at Thunderbird Automotive are always here to help you make the right decision and complete your oil change.

Why Does Oil Matter?

Oil is part of what makes your vehicle’s engine run properly. It keeps all of the intricate moving parts lubricated and prevents overheating. If you don’t have oil changes on a regular basis for your car, sludge and dirt can accumulate in the engine, and things won’t be lubricated as well. The longer that you wait to swap out dirty oil, the higher the chances are that you’ll need an engine replacement in the future.

Know Your Labels

There are two labels you should see on every bottle of legitimate oil. The first one is from the American Petroleum Institute (API). When the API deems a certain oil to be satisfactory, there will be an SL rating on the front. This will tell you what the oil is appropriate for. The other label will include a viscosity number and tell you whether or not the oil passed the Energy Conserving test. When selecting an oil, you should choose one approved for usage in your engine.

Understanding Viscosity

Viscosity is a measure of how resistant a liquid is to flowing. For example, water is much less viscous than honey. Viscosity for oils is rated at 0 degrees and 212 degrees. The first number in a rating comes before “W,” which stands for winter. The second number represents the rating at 212 degrees. What does that mean? A 10W-30 oil is less viscous at cold temperatures than a 20W-50 rated oil.  The more resistant an oil is to thinning, the higher that the second number will be. When choosing oil, thicker oil typically offers more lubrication between all of the moving parts. However, that doesn’t mean you should purchase the thickest oil possible.

Why Are There So Many Oils?

When you spend time in an auto store, you’ll notice dozens of oils that are labeled for a wide range of vehicles and purposes including oils for high-mileage cars, new vehicles, high-tech engines, off-road SUVs and more. If you choose premium conventional oil, that is the standard oil used in new cars. Your owner’s manual should specify which rating is best for your vehicle.

Full synthetic oil is ideal for high-tech and high-performance engines. These oils offer great performance for a long period of time, and they flow well at both low and high temperatures. However, they are costly and not necessary for every vehicle. Synthetic blend oils are a combination of high-performance synthetic oil and traditional oil. They are ideal for cars that experience high temperatures and heavier loads, and as a result, many drivers of SUVs and pickup trucks utilize them. Finally, there are high mileage oils. If you have an older vehicle with hundreds of miles on it, this oil can help to keep your car in great shape for a longer period.

When looking at types of oils, remember that more does not always equal better. Some additives are appropriate for different types of vehicles, and blindly choosing your oil is a bad idea. We always suggest talking to your mechanic to select the right blend or oil for your car.

Keep Your Automobile in Great Shape with Thunderbird Automotive

Thunderbird Automotive is a leader in auto repair and maintenance in Phoenix, AZ thanks to our awesome customer service, broad range of repair services and expertise. To learn more about our services and get your vehicle checked out, please contact us at (602) 938-3631.

February 11, 2019