Does it matter what motor oil I use in my vehicle?

The short answer is...YES!!!

Think of it this way: motor oil is to a vehicle what blood is to the body. We know that there are different blood types, and if you find yourself in need of a blood transfusion you can only use the type of blood that is intended for your body. Accepting blood that is not compatible with your body has a devastating consequence-- death.

Motor oil is no different. Using low quality motor oil in your vehicle during an oil change can not only void your manufacturer's warranty, it can result in damage requiring costly repairs including needing to have your engine rebuilt.

How do you know what oil is right for your vehicle?

It's simple, the manufacturer tells you! All automotive manufacturer's provide oil recommendations for all vehicle models. It is imperative to adhere to the manufacturer's recommendation not only to ensure you maintain your vehicle's warranty, but also to increase the longevity of your vehicle's lifespan.

How do you interpret the naming convention of motor oil?

The different "types" of motor oil refer to the different viscosities of the oil. For example, say your manufacturer recommends using a 10W-30 motor oil. The first number, in this case 10, indicates the viscosity of the oil at colder temperatures. The "W" simply means winter, and the last number (30) indicates the viscosity of the oil at higher temperatures.

What is viscosity and why does it matter?

Put simply, viscosity is the thickness of a fluid. Using oil that is the proper viscosity for your vehicle ensures that the oil will be able to properly flow through the engine to keep it cool and act as a lubricant. If the oil is too thick for your vehicle, it may cause your car not to start in colder temperatures because it can't properly flow through the engine. If the oil is too thin, hot temperatures could cause the oil to break down and lose its lubricative properties.

What are the risks of using "cheap" motor oil?

You're probably familiar with the old adage "you get what you pay for" and that holds true for motor oil. Cheaper motor oils are more prone to having impurities and are more likely to break down quickly. These factors can result in:

  • poor fuel economy
  • clogged PCV valve
  • oil leaks
  • inadequate lubrication

Takeaway: It is more cost effective to have regular oil changes using high quality oil recommended by the manufacturer then to use cheaper alternatives and risk damages causing expensive repairs or resulting in a shortened lifespan for your vehicle.

At Wilton Auto and Tire Center, we always recommend regular oil changes as part of your vehicle's preventative maintenance, and we only use the highest quality oil, Mobil 1.

Written by Wilton Auto & Tire Center