Changing your oil on a regular schedule is the best way you can help improve the lifespan of your engine, but you may be wondering what type of oil you should choose for your vehicle. There are four basic different types of engine oil: Conventional, High-Mileage, Full Synthetic, and Synthetic blend engine oil. Before we get into the specifics of what each type of engine oil does for your car, we need to explain some of the terminology associated with engine oil.
Understanding the Terms on An Engine Oil Label
- Viscosity – Refers to the oil’s resistance to flow. Temperature affects viscosity levels in liquid. Engine oil will thicken as it cools and thin out as it heats.
- API Circle – Sometimes referred to as the ‘API Donut.” This is a label on your car’s engine that tells you which type of oil your vehicle requires. Following the API performance recommendation is crucial to obtain the most performance from your car for the longest period of time.
- ‘5W-40’ – This is an example rating that indicates the engine oil’s temperature and viscosity rating. The first portion, ‘5W,’ indicates what temperature the oil is rated to handle. The engine oil would be rated at 5 degrees Fahrenheit in this example. The second number indicates the oil’s resistance to thinning. The higher the number, the more the oil will resist thinning.
- SAE – Not your father’s fraternity. This stands for The Society of Automotive Engineers, an organization that governs and creates oil standards for the automotive industry.
What Are The Different Types of Engine Oil?
Conventional Engine Oil
Conventional engine oil is the most common type of engine oil. Many customers prefer the lower cost and familiarity associated with conventional motor oil, especially if their vehicle is only used for traditional driving, like daily drop-offs or driving to work. Conventional engine oil is made from newly refined crude oil, works best for light-duty engines, and is the cheapest option.
High-mileage engine oil contains additives and ingredients specifically designed for engines with 75,000 miles or more. High-mileage oil won’t increase your mile per gallon. Instead, it’s designed to help keep your engine with a high amount of mileage running smoothly. High-mileage oil works to reduce oil burn-off, oil leaks, compression loss, and emissions that may come from an engine with over 75,000 miles.
Full Synthetic Oil
Full Synthetic engine oil is specially formulated for the highest level of protection, performance, and peace of mind. That’s why the sticker price is often higher than the other types of engine oil. Synthetic oil is better for your engine in the long run and can lower your overall costs of maintenance with its performance benefits. Full synthetic oil is primarily a base of highly refined conventional oil combined with powder additives and a carrier oil that distributes the additives evenly throughout your engine. We recommend synthetic oil whenever applicable, as it is the most effective engine oil.
Synthetic Blend Oil
Synthetic blend oil is a mixture of synthetic and conventional oils. A true middle ground, synthetic blend oil provides better protection and performance than conventional oil but is not as effective as full synthetic oil. Synthetic oil is a lower-cost alternative to full synthetic oil that offers a higher grade of oil than you will find with conventional oil.
Schedule Your Oil Change With McCullough NAPA Auto Care
Oil changes are an essential service. McCullough NAPA stocks all the different types of engine oil and can perform a professional oil change for you. We can provide recommendations on which type of oil is best for your vehicle. We’ll also perform a multi-point inspection of your vehicle to ensure no other repairs are needed at the time of your appointment. Give us a call or contact us to schedule.