Differences Between Oils and Fuel Types
You may ask yourself why is oil even important and why are there so many different variations of oil – Oil is actually a very crucial component of how the engine functions and operates. The oil is what helps keep the parts that move within the engine from overheating, and the oil also keeps the parts lubricated so that they are able to move and operate appropriately. Without oil, the friction of the parts moving so quickly would increase the heat and cause them to operate slower and eventually fail. The engine wouldn’t even be able to start up for more than a few moments without all of oils great qualities.
There are a few steps you’re going to need to go through in order to successfully choose the perfect oil for your vehicle. The first thing that you’re going to need to know is the oil weight that the manufacturer has specified for you car – This can be found directly in the owner’s manual. If you’ve never heard of the API, American Petroleum Institute, it’s a perfect time to be aware of this institute because it’s purpose is to conduct tests with different oils and makes sure they are safe and well-off.
Next is choosing the thickness of the oil, a very crucial step to finding the oil that is right for your engine and vehicle. The reason why choosing the thickness of the oil is so important is because it relies on the climate of where you live. What this exactly means is that when the temperature is hotter, the oil then needs to be thicker, or also known as having a higher viscosity. When the temperature is cooler, the oil has to have a lower viscosity so that the oil doesn’t have the potential of thickening up when in use. Finding which oil is suitable for the temperature of your engine will be found on the label of the viscosity number. API labels, where you will find the viscosity, will also show you if the oil meets the standards of the SAE, Society of Automotive Engineers.
If you’re still confused on how to understand or decipher the viscosity grades, here’s another more in depth overview. Like it was mentioned before, thicker oil means a higher viscosity and for better understanding, viscosity shows just how quickly or slowly the oil moves throughout the engine. When looking at labels trying to find the viscosity, it will look similar to this “SAE 20”; it could be different letters and numbers in the front, such as 5w30.
SAE 20, for example, means that it has a lower viscosity than say SAE 40. SAE 20 will therefore move at a faster rate because it has a lower viscosity meaning that it isn’t as thick and in most cases higher viscosities of oils do indeed provide more protection to the engine. For the example of 5w30, the “w” that is used represents the oils reaction to colder climate, such as winter. (This is not to say that the “w” stands for winter!) So to better understand, if there is 5w30 and 10w30, 5w30 will be your best bet for use in colder temperatures. Something to always remember though is to go with what your owners manual tells you is best for your vehicle
Now, choosing the oil that is best fit for the age and type of your car. There are four different choices of oils – Premium Conventional Oil, Synthetic Blend Oil, Full Synthetic Oil and High Mileage Oil.
- Premium Conventional Oil is standard for cars that are new. When you have a new car and use this oil, it is best to change the oil almost every 4,000 miles. This is a great habit to form because regardless of which oil you choose to purchase for your vehicle, it is always important to maintain upkeep by regularly changing your oil and oil filter. Please refer to your owner’s manual for guidelines on servicing the oil.
- Synthetic Blend Oil is a combination of synthetic oil and organic oil. This oil is best used and most popular for SUVs and pickup trucks because of its tendency to provide protection for heavier loads, and also great for higher temperatures
- Full Synthetic Oils are predominantly for engines that are high tech and high performance. Unless your car specifically needs this oil, then it would not be something you need to use, which is actually to your benefit because it is quite expensive and really not even necessary for most engines.
- Higher Mileage Oil is an oil designed for older cars that have a significant amount of mileage. So if your vehicle is older and has tons of mileage, this oil will for sure be more suitable. Another tip to take into consideration for older cars is to change the oil more frequently to make sure the engine will continue to run properly.
When choosing which gasoline you’re going to pump into your vehicle, it’s good to know what those choices you have at the gas station actually means. For example: octane levels and fuel grade.
Octane levels are what make the difference in the grade of gasoline you choose to purchase. The octane levels can normally range from around 87 to 93. The higher the octane level the greater resistance to knocking. Knocking is when air and fuel mix and they fire off too quickly – This can also happen when the mixture leaks out before the spark plug fires.
Your first instinct when filling your tank with fuel is to pick the regular unleaded gas. This gas has the octane level of around 87. Regular unleaded gas is also the cheapest choice of fuel and is most of the time good for your vehicle, especially in today’s society where engines are built to compensate for the lower octane levels.
Mid-grade gasoline has an octane level of 89. Although this gas is only about two octane levels higher than regular unleaded gas, there are some potential benefits that it could bring. It has been said that using mid-grade gasoline could actually give your fuel economy a slight positive nudge. A selective benefit for the vehicles that have a pinging noise when they accelerate could potentially be easily resolved by using mid-grade gas. For those who don’t know what pinging is it just means when there is a rattling noise that engines make when accelerating.
Premium gas, also known as the most expensive gas, has octane levels that range from 91 to 93. This gasoline is definitely not for all vehicles and isn’t necessarily even designed to be used for all vehicles. Premium grade fuel is for vehicles with high performance engines, a Chevrolet Corvette for example. Vehicles that aren’t particularly high performance won’t even get the perks of using superior octane fuel because it won’t make a difference. It is best to always consult your owner’s manual when choosing which grade gasoline to use.
Still a little lost? Pop on over to Drivers Auto Mart. We’re always happy to help.