What Oil Does My Car Need?
Asking “what oil does my car need?” — there’s no one right answer when it comes to engine oil, but some choices are better than others, and it depends on your vehicle. You’ll need to find out what the manufacturer recommends, check the labels, and finally choose between:
- Premium Conventional Oil
- Full Synthetic Oil
- Synthetic Blend Oil
- High-Mileage Oil
Check Your Owner’s Manual
If you’re driving a heavy-duty pickup from Maple Grove to Minnetonka each day, your oil needs will differ from someone driving a compact sedan or hatchback around Brooklyn Park, so the best place to start is your owner’s manual. It should tell you how often oil needs to be changed and let you know the temperature your vehicle operates in and what to look for in your oil.
Check the Label
Every container of reputable motor oil carries a label with two crucial pieces of information:
- The API label will tell you if the product meets current SL service ratings (C for diesel engines).
- The SAE viscosity number. Viscosity refers to an oil’s flow rate. For some vehicles, you need a more viscous motor oil, so refer to your owner’s manual.
Choose Between Oil Types
Finally, you’ll find several types of oil created to fill different needs, including:
- Premium Conventional Oil: Though dubbed “premium,” this is essentially the new standard. You’ll find it available in several viscosities, and it’s perfect for light-duty vehicles such as sedans, hatchbacks, crossovers, and some SUVs.
- Full Synthetic Oil: Designed with high-tech engines in mind, you’ll often find full synthetic oils used in luxury and performance-focused models. They last longer and offer superior protection against deposits, but they’re also expensive and not always necessary.
- Synthetic Blend Oil: Mixing synthetic oil with organic oil, blends are less volatile and can increase fuel economy. They’re often popular for pickups and large SUVs.
- High Mileage Oil: Modern vehicles last longer than older ones. If your odometer has hit six figures, you might want to consider using oil formulated for higher-mileage vehicles.