What Kind of Oil Change Do I Need?
If you look in the owner’s manual for your car, you’ll see a recommendation for what kind of oil to use when you get an oil change. But that’s not the end of the story. For example, if you drive a 2016 Honda Civic, it’ll tell you to use Genuine Honda premium-grade 0W-20. Okay, well, what does that mean? Will my engine explode if I don’t use Genuine Honda? Will it run better if I pay extra for the pricey synthetic option? What’s the difference, anyway?
At our service center, we think it’s important to have good answers for these kinds of questions. Even if you never plan on changing your own oil, it’s nice to know a little more about what’s going on under the hood. We’ve got answers.
Motor Oil 101
Those two numbers, 0W-20, are the most important piece of information for choosing the right oil. They represent a rating for how viscous the oil should be (in other words, how easily it flows). If the oil is too thick, the engine will be less efficient and hard to start. But if the oil flows too easily, it won’t seal and lubricate the engine as well as it should, which causes its own problems. If you’re changing your own oil, just make sure those two numbers match the manual.
If you don’t change your own oil, you probably won’t even need to worry about the viscosity. We’ll take care of that. But you’ll still need to choose whether to buy conventional or synthetic.
Is it worth paying more for synthetic? Depends on the car. Vehicles with high-performance engines should use synthetic. For most cars, it won’t make much of a difference in performance, so you might as well stick with conventional.
Truck owners or SUV owners who do a lot of hauling and towing might want to consider a synthetic/conventional blend. This type of oil offers a little more protection for a hard-working engine, while still costing less than a full synthetic.
Finally, there’s high-mileage oil, which contains additives to help protect and maintain the rubber seals in an older car’s engine. Definitely do consider using high-mileage oil if your car has more than 75,000 miles on it: it’ll help the engine run more smoothly and last longer.