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Motor Oil: Which is Best For Your Car

Motor oils 'aint motor oils! It doesn't matter what car you drive or how you drive it, there is a good chance that there is a motor oil that has been specifically designed to meet your needs.  So what motor oil is best for your car?  This can be a difficult question to answer with a single statement because so many different variables exist.  Fortunately, once you understand the basics of what motor oil does and the options that are available, it will be easy for you to decide exactly which one is right for you. 

The Basics

Fundamentally, motor oil is used for lubrication.  Along with helping lubricate the moving parts in your engine, it can also help clean, prevent corrosion, cool the engine, and even seal potential cracks.  The most basic factor that you need to consider is the viscosity that your engine requires.  A majority of engines use 10W 30, however you can check your owner’s manual to be sure.  Every owner’s manual will have your required motor oil listed. 

The First Step to Choosing Which Motor Oil is Best For Your Car

The very first thing that you need to do once you know what viscosity is needed should be to find out what type of oil your engine needs.  Every type will fall into one of three categories – synthetic, synthetic blend, and conventional oil.  Synthetic oil has been around since the 1930's and was originally created for military applications.  Synthetics are popular because they are harder to break down which not only means that it lasts longer, but also that you will get less damage attributed to choosing low quality oil.

Synthetic blends are a combination of synthetic oil and conventional motor oil.  This blend aims to not only provide a longer lifespan for your oil, but also provide the strength needed for tough driving conditions such as long trips, start and stop driving, and hauling.  The final option is conventional motor oil which essentially comes straight from the earth.  However, its composition is not as pure as synthetic blends.  These additional containments and impurities can create “engine sludge” over time without proper car care.

Choosing the Right Brand of Motor Oil

Once you know the right viscosity as well as the right type of motor oil for your car, the final step is choosing which brand you like the best.  In general, you should take a look at the history of the brand, overall credibility, as well as any car manufacturers’ preference (although your specific car may not have a brand preference).  In general, the difference between many brands is minimal.  While there may be some performance differences over the long run, they are often negligible  Keep in mind that some brands do offer motor oil for specific scenarios such as cars over 100,000 or high performance motor oil.  If you fall into those situations, then certain brands should get preference over others.

As you can see, there is no single “best” motor oil.  First you need to determine what viscosity of motor oil your car needs.  Then you need to determine whether you want to use synthetics, blends, or conventional oil.  The final variable to consider is which brand best meets your specific criteria.

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