As automotive engines became more advanced, so did the need to accommodate them by developing different types of oil to lubricate the components. What type of oil is right for your car depends on several different variables. At Big Jim’s Automotive, we ensure that the highest quality oil and lubricants are used on your specific vehicle. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of oil that we may use on your vehicle when you stop by:


It’s All About Viscosity

Car owners hear the term viscosity all the time, but few of us know what that term means. In a nutshell, the viscosity is oil’s resistance to flow. Naturally, thicker oil will have a greater resistance to flow than thinner oil. In the automotive industry, certain letters are used to denote the level of viscosity that oil has at zero degrees Fahrenheit. For instance, a W stands for the winter season. The lower the number on the label, the less thick it becomes during frigid temperatures. An example of this would be something like:


●        5W-30 oil would be less thick in freezing temperatures

●        10W-30 oil would be thicker in freezing temperatures


Thus, a vehicle in a colder climate would operate more smoothly using 5W-30 oil. Conversely, a vehicle in hotter climates would require a 10W-30 oil so that it doesn’t thin out in the heat. Essentially, the oil needs to flow at a certain rate at a given temperature inside of a specified engine to keep the engine from burning up. Its viscosity under all the conditions, would determine what type of motor oil goes into your car.


5 Main Types of Motor Oil

Now that you understand viscosity, then choosing an appropriate type of oil becomes easier. There are five main categories of oil that are available for the average road vehicle:


1.      Conventional Oil (API, SAE Standard)
Conventional oil is the most widely produced and most affordable type of oil for vehicles. If you baby your car and have the oil changed as scheduled, then you’ll never need more than conventional oil.

2.      Premium Conventional Oil (SL or Higher Standard)
Perfect for brand new model cars, especially sedans. Most mechanics will fill your car with 5W-20 or 5W-30, although some models require 10W-30. As your car gets older, you may want to switch to conventional oil.

3.      Full-Synthetic Oil
Standard engines do not need full-synthetic oil. Engines that have additional hi-tech features, however, may require this type of oil to ensure that drivers will get a longer-lasting performance out of the car. Full-synthetic oil does exceptionally well in extreme temperatures low or high. If your car doesn’t need synthetic oil, then don’t use it. You may be wasting your money.

4.      Synthetic-Blend Oil
If you drive a heavy truck, SUV, Jeep, or another vehicle that puts a lot of stress on your engine, then synthetic-blend oil is your best bet. It is specially designed for engines that have to work hard under heavier weight. Synthetic-blend oil will provide adequate protection for your vehicle.

5.      High-Mileage Oil
Do you have a car that has more than 75,000 miles on it? You may want to look into using high-mileage oil for your vehicle. Seal conditioners are integrated into the oil to expand and improve the flexibility of all seals inside the engine. Careful though, high-mileage oil isn’t for all vehicles. You’ll need to find out if it is good for yours.


The best way to find out what type of engine oil is best for you car is to visit the oil experts at Big Jim’s Auto. We offer full oil changes and can make a recommendation as to which oil your vehicle operates best on. Call us today at 319-261-0999 or come by and visit our shop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We offer free estimates!