Oil is one of the fundamental liquids for our vehicle. That is why it is key to adjust to the oil that the manufacturer of our car recommends. However, there are other factors that also matter and that should be considered when choosing that oil.
Within our engine, oil is probably the most important liquid of all it contains. This oil is responsible for lubricating the different metal parts that move inside, which prevents their wear, overheating and loss of engine power due to greater friction. But the oil is also responsible for cooling the engine, transferring part of the heat to the crankcase, while removing all kinds of debris from the internal circuits such as coal, dust, exterior dirt and everything that should not be there.
That’s why it’s so important to know what oil our car uses. An issue in which, on paper, there is not much room to change options regarding what the manufacturer tells us. However, in practice the thing changes, since there are some additional factors that may lead us to have to choose a different oil. Something that has to do mainly with the environment in which the vehicle moves and also the type of use we give it. A series of issues that we do not always have in mind and that, for the well-being and better functioning of our engine,it is essential to know.
What type of oil does my vehicle need?
We have all asked ourselves this question: what oil does my car use? A question with an answer as easy as going to the manual of the manufacturer of our car and see what type of oil is recommended to use. Eye, because we talk about a recommendation so that, except in very rare exceptions, we will be able to change the used oil according to the rest of the parameters that we will see throughout this article.
Typically, the manual indicates the type of oil needed (5W 30, 10W 40, etc.) as well as the standards that this oil must meet, in case the manufacturer requires any specific standard. However, we are not going to indicate the use of a specific brand, unless we talk about an oil so concrete that it is only manufactured by a single company, although this is not usual. At best, the manual may recommend the use of oils of a certain brand, although this is more a matter of marketing than a real need. Therefore, it is our choice of the brand of oil that we want to use, although always subject, as a general rule, to the requirements of SAE viscosity and the specific standards that the oil must meet in accordance with what is established by the manufacturer.
The weather matters
On the basis of the original manufacturer’s recommendation, it is time to start analyzing specific aspects of the use of the vehicle. And one of these aspects has to do with the weather in which the vehicle will move.
One of the issues measured by the SAE scale is the viscosity of the oil, which is directly related to a certain temperature range. And this scale also tells us what are the ambient temperatures for which this oil is recommended. The first number, which is accompanied by the W, indicates the minimum cold or winter operating temperature, while the second indicates the hot or summer operating temperature.
The problem arises when we have a recommendation designed for a vehicle in general, which does not adapt to the weather conditions where the vehicle is traveling. In the case of Spain, especially the further south, temperatures soar in summer to 40 degrees, which implies a higher consumption of oil, especially in those vehicles that use more fluid oils or with a lower SAE scale.
In these cases it can be interesting to verify if we can opt for an oil with a larger SAE scale, which keeps the lubrication stable at these high temperatures. Because it is useless to have the best 5W30 oil in our engine if in the summer days the protective layer is not going to be adequate, due to the excessive fluidity of that oil. The case of 5W30, the example we have used, we talk about an oil suitable for temperatures up to 30 degrees, losing some quality of grease the more the temperature rises. Anyway, this change should always be discussed with our trusted mechanic, to tell us if it is really worth it and what new oil we should use.
Another important aspect when choosing engine oil is the use we give to the vehicle. In general, the recommended oils have been designed for conventional use, which mixes city driving with road driving. However, this is not the reality that some drivers live. So if your car is only going to roll around the city, you may want to make the jump to a denser oil, due to the greater lubrication requirement of urban circulation.
Something similar occurs in those vehicles that circulate with trailers or caravans. These vehicles are forced to roll at higher speeds than those of conventional tourism, so that in these cases it can also be interesting to make the leap to an oil that works better at high temperatures. In any case, professional advice in this regard remains essential.
Finally, we cannot forget the age of the vehicle. In cars with more than 100,000 kilometers it is usually advisable to move to a somewhat denser oil, so that that protective layer is thicker and reduces the deterioration that the engine already has for its own use, which a thinner oil could not do properly.