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As the temperatures plunge, certain types of engine oil may not flow as easily as they did when it was warmer. Makes sense, doesn't it? Just like molasses gets thicker as the temperature goes down, engine oil does the same thing. So, maybe you're wondering if you have to change your oil as the seasons change so it's just the right thickness to lubricate your engine parts.
How well engine oil flows is called its viscosity. There are different types of oil—some that have just one viscosity and others called "multigrade" oils. Here's the difference.
A single viscosity oil will flow better when it's hot but not as well when it's cold. A multigrade oil is engineered so that its flow properties at cold temperatures are different than they are at warm temperatures. In other words, a multigrade oil can start out in colder temperatures acting like a thinner oil and then behave like a thicker oil when it's warm. That's a pretty cool trick and it's why multigrade engine oil is used in nearly all vehicles. Your vehicle's manufacturer has the correct viscosity of oil for your particular model included in the owner's manual.
Another choice you have to make when it comes to engine oil is whether you use conventional oil, synthetic oil or a blend of the two. Synthetic oils have some advantages over conventional, such as resisting breakdown better and withstanding higher temperatures.
Check with your service advisor to see which viscosity and type of oil is recommended for your vehicle. It's important that in cold weather, the oil flows through your engine at the right thickness so that parts are being properly lubricated. That will make sure you'll get good fuel economy and performance, no matter what the temperature is.
31533 125 1/2 Street
PRINCETON, MN 55371
If you keep up on technology trends, then you may be intrigued about synthetic motor oil. It was introduced in the 1960s when Mobil came up with it. Mobil's oil was different from conventional motor oil because it was first broken down to its basic molecules. Then, Mobil removed additional impurities from crude oil and "tailored them to the demands of modern engines."
Synthetic oil is becoming more popular now because of its advantages over conventional oil. It's more resistant to sludge forming in an engine. It is more efficient and protects engines better under temperature extremes. Because it allows drivers to go longer between oil changes, many feel it's more convenient.
The downside is that synthetic oil is more expensive, but because it doesn't need changing as often, the cost can be pretty comparable in the long run.
Those who drive high performance vehicles (think Audi, BMW, Mercedes) are already using synthetic oil if they're following their manufacturer's guidelines. Other manufacturers recommend a synthetic blend. So for those who are using conventional oil, you may want to consult your service advisor for some recommendations if you want to switch to synthetic.
If you're the type who always waits until the last-minute or doesn't ever get in quite in time for the recommended oil change interval, the longer gap required between changes with synthetic oil may appeal to you. In some cases, you can go up to 15,000 miles/24,000 km between changes.
If you drive in a very cold climate, synthetic oil can flow more easily at startup and may offer quicker engine protection. On the other hand, in hot climates, synthetic oil can resist heat breakdown better.
Or you may be one of those drivers who have been getting along fine with conventional oil changes. Millions do. Just remember that changing your oil is considered the most important maintenance you can do on your vehicle, so make sure it's done at the right time and with the oil that best suits your driving needs.
31533 125 1/2 Street
PRINCETON, MN 55371