Engine Oil Basics For New Owners

Whether you're a new driver or just new to owning your own car, one of the key things that you need to learn about is the oil in the engine. Oil is a vital part of your engine's operation, and without it, the engine could seize. For those who are unfamiliar with it, here are some things that you should know about the oil that goes into your car's engine.

The Weight Rating Is Important

For anybody buying engine oil, understanding the weight rating or viscosity is important. Choosing the wrong one could result in insufficient lubrication in your engine, which can lead to costly repairs. With so many different viscosity ratings, it's sometimes hard to know which one is right to buy. Your car's owners manual will tell you what your engine operates best at. The rating is determined by the number of seconds it takes the oil to flow through a tube at operating temperature.

Just remember that if you live in an area where the weather gets significantly cold during the winter, you need to avoid the single weight oils. Those are the ones that are rated, for example, SAE 35. Instead, look for a dual rated oil, such as 10W40. The W always follows the viscosity rating for the winter temperatures, so you'll know how the oil handles cold weather.

Oil Changes Are Important To Keep Up With

Especially for first-time vehicle owners, remembering to have an oil change done regularly can be challenging. It's important that oil changes are done on a regular basis, though. If you leave the oil too long, it can actually pick up a lot of debris and discoloration. This can alter its viscosity and render it less effective in your engine.

Most people assume their car is due for an oil change when the oil looks like it's darkened in color. Unfortunately, that's not always the best indicator. With many new oils having detergent additives, the oil will actually darken in color fairly soon after putting it in the engine. That's because the detergent is drawing out all of the particles throughout the engine, and that discolors the oil. Don't go by appearance for your oil change. Talk to your mechanic about how often you should have it done and schedule them in a timely way.

For more information, contact a local mechanic like Small & Sons Oil Dist Co today. He or she can evaluate your engine oil and help you take proper care of your car.