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What Type Of Motor Oil Does Your Car Need?

Approaching the motor oil section in your local superstore can be a daunting experience. There are seemingly countless brands and varieties of what you may have thought was just simple oil! In this article, we’re going to outline every aspect of motor oil and what you need to know to make choosing one simpler than ever.

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ViscosityOil Change

The most basic determinant of the right type of engine oil is viscosity, or the rate of flow. Oil’s viscosity will be notated on the front of its container and will look something like this: 5W-20. The number proceeding the ‘W’ refers to how much the oil will thicken in the cold. Therefore, in lower temperatures where oil tends to thicken, drivers are better off with 0W or 5W options.

Resistance to Thinning

The second number indicates the oil’s resistance to thinning out at high operating temperatures. Oil of a lower second number will thin out more quickly than that of a higher number. Drivers are advised to consult their owner’s manuals for a viscosity range appropriate to their vehicles and take operating temperatures into consideration when choosing their engine oil.

Conventional vs Synthetic

Once you’ve chosen a suitable viscosity, you’ll want to consider either conventional or synthetic motor oil. A good rule of thumb in doing so is to consider the frequency of your oil changes. Using a synthetic variety usually means oil changes are needed less frequently. When choosing an oil type, you’ll want to consult your owner’s manual or service center to confirm whether your car is new enough to benefit from synthetic oil.

Fully Synthetics

Fully synthetic oils are generally reserved for newer, high-tech engines, while partially synthetic oils are suited for older engines that must perform at higher temperatures with greater demands. Common examples of these types of vehicles are SUVs and pick-up trucks.

High-MileageMotor Oil

For drivers with vehicles boasting more than 75,000 miles, there is another option to consider. High-mileage oil is designed with special additives to keep your engine as clean as possible and protect the integrity of components when possible. These anti-wear chemicals can stop harmful friction in older engines.


A final distinction to make is between straight weight and multi-grade oils. Multi-grade oils contain an additive included to improve viscosity under pressure. The majority of oils sold today are multi-grade. Although, straight weight oils do comparably well in moderate temperatures.

The most important thing you can do when choosing an oil is to read your owner’s manual. Check the suggested viscosity range, consider the operating temperatures your car is likely to experience, and choose your oil. Remember, paying a premium for oil today, can mean a healthier car tomorrow.

Montgomeryville Nissan’s service center technicians can assist you with any questions or issues you may be having with your car. You can visit us at 991 Bethlehem Pike, Montgomeryville, PA 18936, or schedule your next oil change online today.