What oil should I use in my car? Most car owners take their vehicles to the garage for the oil change. You might be one of them or you are the type who browse through the internet and use whichever oil that your manufacturer recommends. Although either scenario seems to be okay, it is important to know a little more about what you are feeding into your car and having information concerning the best oil for your car. 5w30 vs 5w20, 5w40, 10w40: which grade motor oil should I use? If that is your question, then you are on the right path. It is necessary to compare the properties and specifications of engine oils so that you can know which oil to use in your car.
What Does xWy Actually Mean?
X and y stand for the viscosity of the oil while the W stands for winter. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) established the numerical code system which they use to grade the motor oils in accordance with the characteristic of their viscosity.
Due to the fact that the viscosity of oil changes with the change in temperature, several oil grades were established in order to provide protection for the engine of the vehicle across various temperatures. And that is why, on the label of the oils, you will see something like SAE 5W30, SAE 5W20, SAE 5W40, SAE, 10W40.
The number before the W describes the viscosity of the oil when temperatures are at their lowest. If the number is lower, then it means the oil is thinner and thus, best for a cold start or cold temperatures performance. The number that appears after the W describes how thick the oil is when the engine is operating at normal temperatures.
Multigrade oils such as 10W40, 5W30, are normally used widely because of the fact that, under all but extremely cold or hot conditions, they are thin to allow them to flow at temperatures which are low and at the same time, thick enough to allow them to perform very well when the temperatures are high. This means that the choice of viscosity would be different depending on the temperatures of where you stay. Different vehicles require different xWy and thus, you will have to consult with your manufacturer’s manual.
The x and y according to SAE, can be represented by viscosity characteristics ranging from 0, 5, 10, 15, 20,25, 30, 40, 50 and 60. Viscosity is the resistance of liquids to flow. Those which are runny and very thin are normally given a viscosity that is lower while those which are consistent and very thick like honey, are given a high value of viscosity.
It is important to remember that, engine oils change their viscosity when put in different temperatures, depending on the weather outside. As concerning the kinematic viscosity, the numerics are normally assigned based on the ability of the oil to flow via an average orifice when the temperature is regular. If it takes the oils longer periods to pass through then it means that the SAE code assigned will be high because the viscosity is high meaning, 5w30 has a higher viscosity than 5w20.
The viscosity grade of oil is determined by SAE, the Society of Automotive Engineers. It separates oils into mono or single grade and multigrade. For an oil to be termed as Multigrade, it has to fulfill two viscosity specifications and the viscosity grade will consist of two numbers such as 5w20 with 5 representing the low-temperature viscosity or winter, and 40 referring to the high-temperature viscosity or summer. Most of the engine oils that are available in the market are Multigrade. Monograde oils are normally restricted for a specific usage like lawnmower oils.
In comparison, Multigrade oils seem to be the preferred option for modern engines. They are able to keep the engine operating at an optimum viscosity range and at the same time, offer lubrication protection and consistent response. When it comes to single grade, they can be the best option in case the equipment in question is able to provide excellent constant control of temperature and oil cooling.
1. Single Grade
As defined by the SAE J300 type of classification, the single grade oil only covers a single requirement and thus, cannot be used as polymeric viscosity index improver. According to SAE J300, there are 11 viscosity grades with 6 being considered as winter grades and thus given the W designation.
The single winter grades, its dynamic viscosity are normally measured at various temperatures which are cold. Based on the coldest temperature that the oil is able to pass through, it is then graded as SAE viscosity 0W, 5W, 10W, 15W, 20W or 25W. The lower the temperature the oil can pass through, the lower the viscosity grade.
For nonwinter single grades, its kinematic viscosity is normally measured at a 100 degrees Celsius temperature. Based on what viscosity range it falls in at that particular temperature, the oil will then be able to be graded as SAE 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60. For SAE grade 20, 30 and 40, its minimum viscosity is measured at 150 degrees Celsius. The higher the SAE grade is, the higher the viscosity of the oil.
For multigrade oils, as opposed to the single grades which cover single requirement as stipulated by SAE J300 system of classification, they are able to cover multiple SAE grades and thus, can be used over a wide range of temperatures.
They are made from a blend of low viscosity oil which are added additives known as Viscosity Index Improver (VII). The VII improves the viscosity and temperature characteristics of oils. When oils have these additives, they get good starting and friction properties of thin oil at temperatures which are low with lubricating properties which are good of oil that is more viscous at higher temperatures.
How the VII works in the multigrade is that, when the temperature is low, they are able to curl themselves into a ball that is very tight which enables it to move freely with the molecules of the oil. With an increase in the temperature, they expand and form a large stringy structure that restricts the oil’s normal flow. When there is a reduction in the temperature, they settle back into their original shape.
More Details: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_oil
Choosing the Right Type of Motor Oil
There are various types of motor oil in the market and picking the right one for your car might be daunting. Remember that, each oil is meant for a certain purpose and thus, to pick the right one for your car, you will have to understand the significance of the viscosity ratings, oil additives, and classification codes.
1. Oil Additives
This is going to help in ensuring that the engine of your car keeps cool, corrosion free, and clean. There are various refiners which blend in various additives and they can be able to account up to 25 percent of the total amount that the oil costs.
2. Viscosity Ratings
Oil is identified and rated by its viscosity which then determines how it is going to flow. Multi viscosity is what modern vehicles run on. The lower the viscosity the thinner the oil is and the easier it is able to flow. To find out the viscosity of your particular car, check in the manufacturer’s manual.
3. Classification Codes Of Oils
The starburst that you will find on the container of the oil denotes that, the oil meets the current standards in regard to engine protection and fuel requirement standards
Questions To Ask Yourself Before Picking The Oil
- What are the oils which your vehicle has been running on? If it is fine and giving you no problems, then there is no need to change it.
- What is the recommended oil in your manufacturer’s manual? If your vehicle is still within the warrant, if you decide to use an alternative oil other than what is specified by the manufacturer, you are going to void the warrant.
- What is the temperature of the area you reside in? Is it plain or mountainous? Do you encounter temperature change? If you use multigrade oils, they will be able to cater to a variety of temperatures. The lower the number before W, the better the oil is going to work in cold
- What is the age of your car? If your vehicle has been running on single grade oil for most of its life, then it means that it has built up a lot of sludge as some of such oils don’t have detergent. And in case you suddenly switch to multi-grade, it will free all the sludge which might affect the engine in a negative way.
- What is the shape of the engine of your car? If your car is very old and it has always been running on single grade oil of 30 or 40, then multigrade will not be able to lubricate it well as the parts have become smaller, with wider spaces in between them. In order to keep the oil thick enough to be able to fill the gaps, you will have to switch to a heavier single grade oil as the vehicle gets older.
1. Conventional Oil
It is the oil which is used especially in dealerships and it tends to be the cheapest of the auto oils in the market. Most of them adhere to SAE and API standards, but at the same time, offer little in terms of additives. If you are religious about frequent oil change and own a low mile, but well broken in engine, then this is the oil for you.
2. Premium Conventional Oil
It is the standard new oil with most leading brands having one for SL or the highest level of service. You will find them available in most viscosities in the market. Some manufacturers will specify in the manual 5w30 or 5w20 but there are those which require up to 10w30. The three specified ratings tend to cover every light-duty vehicle on the road but it seems to be changing as engines are becoming more fussy and precise about certain types of oil.
3. Full-synthetic Oil
This is oils which are manufactured specifically for engines that are high tech. If they are able to pass the stringent tests which are indicated on their labels, then it means that they will offer long-lasting, superior performance in all the critical areas, from protection on engine deposits to viscosity index. At low temperatures, they are able to flow better and at the same time, at high temperatures, able to maintain peak lubrication. While high quality full synthetic oils cost three times the cost of other oils, they are not a necessity for most engines. It is best that you stick to the manufacturer’s manual. It is not a must you use full synthetic oil as it might just be an additional cost which might not add anything to your car engine.
4. Synthetic Blend Oil
The synthetic blend oil is a premium conventional oil which has some synthetic in it. Most of them are blended to offer the engine better protection during heavy engine loads that cause high temperatures in the engine. They are most popular with SUV and pick-up engine drivers due to the fact that they offer better protection and yet, cost just a fraction as compared to some conventional oils.
5. High-Mileage Oil
More than half of the vehicles on the road have done more than 75,000 miles on the odometer. And that is what made most oil manufacturers come up with the high mileage oils which have seal conditioners added to it to ensure that it increases and expands the flexibility of internal engine seals. The oil can either be conventional or synthetic. The conditioners which are added are very precise and this is capable of benefiting some engines while others don’t
Comparison Between 5w30 vs 5w20, 5w40 and 10w40
When you ensure that your car has the right engine oil, you ensure that it has the correct cooling, lubrication, cleaning, and internal component protection. Get the right specifications and amount of engine that is right for servicing your type of car. Check out the 5w30 vs 5w20, 5w40, 10w40 and choose the right one for your vehicle depending on the range that your car manufacturer has specified in the manual.
Each vehicle engine is manufactured around a certain engine oil grade viscosity and a specific specification. The various stresses and strains in a motor vehicle are behind the variety of specifications in the market. In order to maintain your engine well in terms of life span, efficiency, and performance, you will need to stick to the oil which your engine was designed around.