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Types of Car Engine Oils And When to Use Them

Types of Car Engine Oils And When to Use Them

Have you ever felt like you needed advice on which engine oil to choose for your gorgeous and precious car? But you felt overwhelmed and confused with the many options available, right?

Selecting the most suitable Car Engine Oil may feel tricky and, at times, DAUNTING! You need to consider the compatibility of your car engine with the oil based on several factors. Whether it’s speed, viscosity, endurance, resistance to corrosion, or simply the budget, you need to ensure the lubricant satisfies the “thirst” of the engine. 

But don’t worry! We will guide you on the most efficient and suitable engine oil solutions for your needs, comparing the types of car engine oils (lubricants), their usability, and their grades. This article will assist you in deciding the “perfect fit” for your beloved vehicle!

Types of Car Engine Oils

Choosing the right type of lubricant is critical to ensuring the optimum performance of your car’s engine. Engine oil lubricates and protects the engine’s internal parts, providing robust performance and durability for the car. With the multitude of engine oils available in the market, you need to understand the differences and know when to use each type.  

Generally, car lubricants are categorized into four types:

  1. Conventional Oil
  2. Synthetic Oil
  3. Semi or Blended Synthetic Oil
  4. High-Mileage Oil

Let’s take a look at the four types:

Conventional Engine Oil: 

Also known as mineral oil, conventional engine oil derives from standard crude oil. Offering basic protection and lubrication, this type of lubricant suits most engines but requires regular upgrades and filling. This constant oil filling is caused by its lower resistance to heat and Oxidation.  

Conventional oil suits older vehicles or those with less demanding driving conditions.

Synthetic Engine Oil: 

The artificially engineered, synthetic car engine oil offers drivers superior performance and stronger protection. Synthetic lubricants are refined by extracting impurities and cleaning the oil for a more consistent internal build.

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Synthetic oil ensures you enjoy the following:

  • Better resistance to heat, 
  • Vigorous Oxidation 
  • Enhanced engine protection, 
  • Improved fuel efficiency, and 
  • Longer oil-change intervals

The features mentioned above make synthetic engine oil the “ideal fit” for modern-day power-packed engines and high-performance vehicles.

Semi or Blended Synthetic Oil

These types of car lubricants combine synthetic and conventional oils. As the name implies, the mixture of this oil creates a balance between performance and affordability. Synthetic blends present more protection and durability when compared to traditional oils. This oil is also more budget-friendly than full-fledged synthetic oil.  

Semi-Synthetic lubricants are best suited to vehicles that work under moderate driving conditions. 

High-Mileage Engine Oil:

The fourth type of engine oil is the most artificial, specialized, and blended of the lot. High-mileage engine oil is particularly developed for vehicles traveling 75,000 miles or more. 

High-Mileage oil additives 

  • Help reduce oil leaks, 
  • Condition engine seals, and 
  • Minimize engine wear in older engines.  

This type of oil provides more robust protection and longer lifespans for engines through higher mileage.

When To Use Each Type of Engine Oil:

As mentioned earlier, several factors, like the durability of your vehicle, driving conditions, oil viscosity, the engine’s resistance to corrosion, etc., determine your choice of oil. Also, you should check the manufacturer’s manual or guidebook to know the recommendations.

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Some general recommendations for using each type are as follows:

  • Conventional Engine Oil works best with older vehicles or those operating under normal driving conditions. These vehicles need frequent oil changes.
  • Synthetic Engine Oil ideally suits the modern, latest engines that are high-performing and operate in extreme driving conditions. This oil boosts protection, improves fuel efficiency, and elongates oil change intervals.
  • Semi-Synthetic Blend Engine Oil matches best with vehicles that function under moderate driving conditions, balancing performance and affordability.  
  • High-Mileage Engine Oil boosts older, more used vehicles with higher mileage. This oil is formulated to add extra protection and improve engine performance.

Understanding Engine Oil Grades:

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) developed a rating system for car engine oils based on viscosity. Viscosity refers to the oil’s resistance to flow. Thin fluids, like water, have low viscosity, while thick ones, like honey, have high viscosity. Car lubricant oil’s viscosity can change when heated or cooled. SAE engine oil grades classify oil types based on viscosity.

Engine oils require a multi-grade viscosity to perform efficiently at various temperatures. An oil with an SAE viscosity grade of 0W-20 must have a “0”, indicating its cold-temperature viscosity rating, with “W” denoting” Winter ” and “20 ” indicating its high-temperature viscosity rating. Multi-grade viscosity engine lubricant ensures adequate flow in low temperatures and protects the engine in high temperatures.

For example, an oil with a grading of 5W-30 or SAE 0W-30 will flow better at lower temperatures than an oil graded as SAE 10W-30. However, it will still provide good protection at higher temperatures.

Please check the car’s user manual to choose the right oil specification, viscosity grade, and oil changing interval. Going over the car or engine manual should be your first step before moving forward with any choice or decision. 

Which One Should You Use?

Determining the right engine oil for your vehicle requires thorough checking, analyzing, and understanding of your car. Always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations mentioned in your car’s manual. To ensure optimal performance, you should prioritize using the recommended oil type and viscosity grade. This all-important measure ensures lasting engine performance and prevents any potential damage.  

If you feel uncertain, you can consult a trusted mechanic or contact the oil manufacturer for guidance and more detailed information. You should ensure your car engine complements the engine oil. 

In conclusion, selecting the proper engine oil for your car is crucial to maintaining the car’s longevity, functionality, and performance. You should understand the different types of car engine oils and their applications. This will help you make more informed and effective decisions.  

Also, take into account the following factors when selecting the oil type and viscosity grade of your vehicle:

  • Tenure or number of years used,
  • Driving conditions, 
  • Functionality patterns, and 
  • Manufacturer’s recommendations 

Adequately and appropriately changing your engine oil, using the appropriate type, and following the recommended interval times will strengthen and sustain your engine’s operational effectiveness and efficiency for many more years, more than you can apprehend!

Kevin Williams is an automotive enthusiast and expert writer with a passion for all things related to cars. With a wealth of knowledge in the world of vehicles, Kevin's mission is to provide informative articles that empower car enthusiasts to make informed decisions about their automotive interests. With extensive experience, Kevin has contributed numerous articles to Cars Cache, covering a wide spectrum of topics from vehicle reviews to maintenance tips and more.


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