How to Choose the Right Type of Oil for Your Vehicle

Choosing the right type of engine oil is crucial to keep your vehicle running smoothly for years to come. With oil being the lifeblood of your engine, using the manufacturer’s recommended grade and formulation is key to preventing unnecessary wear and maximising performance. There are three main categories of engine oils – conventional, synthetic blends, and full synthetics. Understanding the difference between these types of motor oils, along with your driving habits, will ensure you select the best oil for your vehicle’s needs.

Conventional Motor Oils

Conventional motor oils, sometimes referred to as mineral oils, are refined from crude oil and make up the majority of engine lubricants on the market. They contain basic additives to help reduce engine wear and improve performance. Conventional oils work well for normal driving conditions and offer a balance of affordability and protection. Most manufacturers recommend these traditional oils for vehicles with over 75,000 miles that require basic lubrication.

Synthetic Blend Oils

Synthetic blend oils combine conventional mineral oil with synthetic oil, typically at a 70/30 ratio. The synthetic component allows the oil to flow better in cold temperatures while retaining the lubricating properties of traditional oil. Synthetic blends offer several advantages over conventional oil including better performance in extreme temperatures, improved fuel economy, and reduced engine wear. They work extremely well for stop-and-go driving, frequent short trips, and extreme climate conditions.

Most automakers recommend using synthetic blends for newer engines to enhance performance and durability. For example, the oil for the Ford TRANSIT consists of synthetic blends to provide added wear protection for high-mileage commercial use.

Full Synthetic Oils

As the premium oil option, full synthetic oils are chemically engineered from synthetic base oils rather than crude oil. Their higher-quality molecular structure allows full synthetic motor oils to withstand much higher temperatures without breaking down while flowing better in cold climates. They offer superior protection against deposits, rust, and corrosion even under severe driving routines.

Full synthetics feature the latest additive packages for reduced friction, increased horsepower, and exceptional wear control. Though higher in upfront cost, their superior endurance often makes them the most cost-effective oils over time. Full synthetic oils are best for high-performance vehicles, engines over 75,000 miles, and extreme driving.

Nanotechnology and Engine-Specific Oils

Advancements in nanotechnology have led to oils reinforced with tiny nanoparticles that can dramatically reduce friction and wear. These nano-oils provide added protection for high-performance vehicles.

Oil manufacturers have also started tailoring formulations for specific engine types like turbocharged, hybrid, and high-mileage motors. These bespoke oils contain custom additives that target the unique needs of these modern engines whether it’s preventing sludge in turbos or conditioning seals in aging engines.

More environmentally-friendly low-viscosity oils have also been developed to lower emissions and align with greener policies and consumer demand. Overall, technological breakthroughs and custom blending are taking engine oil performance to new levels.

Choosing the Right Oil for Your Vehicle

When selecting the right type of oil, start by consulting your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s specific recommendation. Most automakers suggest oil weights and performance standards developed by SAE International or API. These recommendations account for your engine design, oil circulation system, and normal operating conditions.

Driving Habits and Climate

You’ll also want to consider your driving habits and climate. Full synthetics and synthetic blends are ideal for stop-and-go traffic, frequent short trips, extreme hot or cold weather, and towing heavy loads. If you primarily drive on the motorway and take longer trips in moderate weather, conventional oil will suffice. Higher mileage engines over 75,000 miles benefit from the extra protection of synthetic blends or full synthetics to reverse wear and prevent leaks. 

Frequency of Oil Changes

Make sure to change your oil regularly within the recommended interval which typically falls between 3,000-10,000 miles. Keep an eye out for viscosity levels as oil tends to thin with high engine temperatures over time. By selecting the proper formulation, grade, and changing oil frequently, you’ll keep your engine running smoothly for years down the road.

The oil you choose for your engine plays a key role in its lifespan and functionality. Conventional, synthetic blends, and full synthetic oils all offer different levels of wear protection, high-temperature performance, and cold flow. Make sure to follow your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended viscosity grade, service category, and driving conditions for your vehicle’s needs.

Ensuring you use the right motor oil will deliver clean operation, improved fuel economy, and superior engine reliability no matter how many miles are on the odometer.