Synthetic, Semi-Synthetic or Conventional?

Synthetic, Semi-Synthetic or Conventional?

Baxter, Eric.  "How to Choose the Right Oil for Your Car or Truck"  16 May 2011.  HowStuffWorks.com. <http://auto.howstuffworks.com/how-to-choose-the-right-oil-for-your-car-or-truck.htm>  07 October 2015.

Often times a manufacturer will suggest two or more motor oil viscosities for an engine, such as a 5W-20 or 5W-30, based on several different factors -- including temperature. The reason for this is that engines often need a different viscosity based on operating conditions. Knowing how scientists see viscosity will help an owner determine the best oil for the engine.

Viscosity, at its most basic, is a fluid's resistance to flow. Within theengine oil world, viscosity is notated with the common "XW-XX." The number preceding the "W" rates the oil's flow at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17.8 degrees Celsius). The "W" stands for winter, not weight as many people think. The lower the number here, the less it thickens in the cold. So 5W-30 viscosity engine oil thickens less in the cold than a 10W-30, but more than a 0W-30. An engine in a colder climate,

where motor oil tends to thicken because of lower temperatures, would benefit from 0W or 5W viscosity. A car in Death Valley would need a higher number to keep the oil from thinning out too much.

The second number after the "W" indicates the oil's viscosity measured at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius). This number represents the oil's resistance to thinning at high temperatures. For example, 10W-30 oil will thin out at higher temperatures faster than 10W-40 will.

The owner's manual will advise the best viscosity range and the owner can then work within those parameters.

With the right viscosity in mind, it's time to start shopping for a type of oil. Most commuters follow the 3-month and 3,000-mile (4,828-kilometer) rule. Frequent oil changes means there's less tendency to need other types of oil than conventional. However some car companies, like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, recommend onlysynthetic oil in their cars. The following list, as well as the car's owner's manual, will provide a good idea of what type of oil to use. It's also a good rule of thumb not to switch between types. If your car started with conventional, stick with that. If it first used synthetic, be wary about switching to conventional.

  • Conventional Oil: This is the oil used in bulk at dealerships and is the cheapest at the auto store, too. Most adhere to API and SAE standards but offer little in the way of additive packages. This is good oil for owners that are religious about frequent oil changes and have low-mile (but well broken-in) engines.
  • Premium Conventional Oil: This is the standard new-car oil. Most leading brands have one for SL, or highest level, service. Most are available in the common viscosities. Car manufacturers usually specify 5W-20 or 5W-30 oil, though some require 10W-30. These three ratings cover just about every light-duty vehicle on the road, though this is changing as engines become more precise and fussy about specific types oil.
  • Full-synthetic Oil: These oils are made for high-tech engines. If these oils pass stringent special tests (indicated by their labeling), it means they have superior, longer-lasting performance in all the critical areas, from viscosity index to protection against engine deposits. They flow better at low temperatures and maintain peak lubrication at high temperatures. While excellent oil, synthetics are about three times as expensive as conventional oil and not always necessary for most engines. Use the owner's manual as a guide. If it doesn't call for synthetic oil, using it will only be an additional expense that may not add anything to the engine's performance or life.
  • Synthetic-blend Oil: This is essentially premium conventional oil hit with a dose of synthetic. They're formulated to offer better protection during heavier engine loads and the associated higher engine temperatures. These oils are popular with pick-up and SUV drivers because they do offer better protection, but usually cost only a fraction more than premium conventional oils.
  • High-mileage Oil: More than 60 percent of vehicles on the road have more than 75,000 miles (120,701 kilometers) on the odometer. Playing to this growing market, oil refiners and labs developed high-mileage oils. Seal conditioners are added to the oil (the oil can be synthetic or conventional) to expand and increase the flexibility of internal engine seals. The conditioners are very precise and can benefit some engines while not affecting others.
Rate this blog entry:
12
Continue reading
5098 Hits

10 Ways Car Owners Can Extend the Life of a Vehicle

10 Ways Car Owners Can Extend the Life of a Vehicle

Whether you drive an old Buick or a new Camry, you want to keep your ride going as long as possible, but it’s easier said than done. While in the middle of life’s daily hustle, you might be letting proper car care slide. Over the years, that will add extra wear and ultimately shorten the life of the vehicle.

Getting the most out of your car is easier than you might think. Once the warranty runs out or your service package expires, simple maintenance procedures (at small investments) are the key to avoiding expensive vehicle repairs. Reader’s Digest was good enough to point out a robust 74 tips to keep your car humming longer. That’s one tall, if instructive, order. Here are 10 tips for a more manageable assignment when trying to extend the life of your vehicle.

1. Rotate your tires

You ought to have your car’s tires rotated when it goes in for servicing, but if you are off the warranty, you are on your own. Goodyear recommends having the job done every 3,000 to 6,000 miles. Check your owner’s manual for the figure the manufacturer suggests for your vehicle, but once every six months is a good standard to follow. Some tire companies offer free rotations every 6,000 miles for the life of the tires when you buy their products.

2. Run your air conditioner in winter

With the temperature below freezing, the idea of running your car’s air conditioner in the winter might sound terrifying, but it helps your keep your cooling system working for the next time you actually need it (i.e., next summer). Otherwise, the moving parts can seize up and cause malfunctions come summertime. Pick a day when the weather is manageable, and you are fully bundled up to get the AC going.

3. Engine cleaning

Washing your car’s exterior is taken for granted, but opening the hood and washing the engine every few years is a way to prolong the life of the vehicle. Removing the sludge that accumulates on an engine’s exterior helps keep the parts from overheating, which will allow you to stay away from the mechanic. Electrical parts and the air intake should be protected when you perform this task, so ask for advice at the auto parts store before you get into engine cleaning.

4. How to protect a car in storage

If you aren’t going to use your car for several weeks, there are steps you should take to protect its operation. Reader’s Digest suggests filling up the gas tank to avoid condensation and adding a fuel stabilizer to keep parts in working order while it sits idle. In addition, removing the battery from your car will protect it from damage and potential drain. Finally, wash and wax your car so the exterior remains protected in your absence. It will be much better off when you return.

5. Antifreeze maintenance

Over the years, coolant-antifreeze breaks down and becomes susceptible to contamination, which will shorten the life of your vehicle. Follow your owner’s manual to get old antifreeze out of your car’s cooling system. Three years will be the breaking point for most antifreeze products, but it could happen sooner with cheap products. This bit of maintenance protects your radiator, keeps your heater from failing, and helps keep the car’s thermostat in working order.

6. Wash your car in winter

Washing your car in winter can feel like Lucille Ball in her skit at the chocolate factory. As soon as you have it clean, some car comes splashing through a frozen slush puddle and ruins it. That evening, a snowfall might hit and ensure your car looks hideous for the coming weeks.

Rather than a cosmetic solution, washing in winter is about protecting your car from rust and corrosion. The salt and dirt from the road presents a big danger to your car’s undercarriage during the winter months. Routine washings will help you minimize this threat.

7. Transmission maintenance

Cars need fluid replaced in the automatic transmission every few years or 25,000 miles, depending on your make and model. Vehicles you use to tow need the fluid replaced more frequently. If you drive stick, manual transmissions need lubricant changes every 50,000 miles. Synthetic motor oil is the most recommended option for maintaining your vehicle longer, but your owner’s manual will have details for the particular model.

8. Filter changes

Everyone knows the filters in HVAC systems and cars need changing on a regular schedule, but life often stops you from getting it done. Clogged fuel and oil filters make automobile engines work harder to perform standard functions, so keep an eye out for issues and observe the recommended maintenance in your owner’s manual. Air filters and transmission filters also need changing on a regular basis. Even when your might not see obviously clogged filters, this bit of preventive maintenance is one of the easiest things for an owner to do to prolong the life of your car.

9. Protect vehicles from the sun

Sunlight will eat away paint and leave your car vulnerable to rust. If you can’t keep it in a garage, at least try to keep it out of the sun. Reader’s Digest suggests getting a car cover to give your car protection against moisture, bird droppings, and other debris. Covers also give you a line of defense against random damage that can occur to a car sitting on a residential street or in a parking lot.

10. Change oil more often than recommended

What do you get by avoiding frequent oil changes? Other than saving a few dollars, there is little advantage for car owners who wait the maximum time (or longer) to replace motor oil. A higher frequency of oil changes keeps corrosive materials out of the engine and helps you keep your car on the road longer. Drivers who are often caught in city traffic should especially follow this advice. As with fuel economy, city driving can put a hurt on your automobile’s engine. Oil changes help minimize the long-term impact.

 

Rate this blog entry:
2
Continue reading
1710 Hits