The Ultimate Auto Lubricant Guide

The performance of your car is significantly dependent upon keeping its moving parts lubricated and cool. It’s so important that not keeping your vehicle lubricated can cause significant engine problems. Despite the many advancements in the automotive field, auto lubricant remains one of the most important elements of a vehicle’s performance, especially if your goal is to ensure your car runs optimally. Quite frankly, that should be the goal of every car owner. It almost goes without saying that choosing the right lubricant for your car is imperative.

Most people seek the help of an auto mechanic when they need auto-lubricating oil because it’s often difficult to understand the many options that are available. For starters, the standards are international and comprehensive. Here are the governing bodies: American Petroleum Institute (API), International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC), European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and Japanese Automotive Standards Organization (JASO). These are all regulatory agencies that oversee the quality standards for motor oil.

You’ll find the acronyms for the above referenced organizations on all bottles of motor oil. When you look at the label on a bottle of motor oil, you’ll also find information about whether that particular oil meets the standards for energy conservation, high temperatures and SL service ratings, among other details. The best way to determine which type of motor oil should be used for your car is to read the maintenance manual. Your manual will find details about the kind of oil that the manufacturer recommends. Once you’ve reviewed the maintenance manual, you can match it against the information on the motor oil bottle to ensure you choose the right one.

A key aspect of ensuring your car is properly lubricated is to verify the viscosity, which is an indicator of the oil’s thickness. The reason why thickness is important is because it determines the resistance of flow, and your vehicle has a specific requirement. The required viscosity is information that you’ll find in your owner’s manual. Cold and hot are two grades from which you can choose.

A common viscosity is 10W-30. This refers to the amount of resistance the oil has in cold and hot temperatures, respectively; 10W is cold and 30 is hot. The second number should be higher if you want more resistance. Why does the thickness of oil matter? Because if oil is too thick when the weather is cold, it’s hard for the engine to get started. On the flip side, problems can arise if the oil is too thick when the weather is hot. Essentially, the viscosity that you choose depends on the weather. You can also find oils that are specifically designed for new model cars, off-road vehicles and high-tech engines.

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