Good lubrication is absolutely critical for the performance and durability of your car’s engine. This means that you’re going to need to use the right oil for your particular engine as well as the conditions that your car will experience. These are some of the factors you’ll need to consider before deciding which oil to buy.
The viscosity of oil refers to the fluid’s resistance to flow, or simply, how thick it is. Each bottle of oil will have a code on it that refers to the viscosity of the oil. The manufacturer of your vehicle will indicate what viscosity oil you should use in your vehicle. This is different for each type of engine, fuel type as well as temperature where you will be using the vehicle. The code that is given refers firstly to the viscosity of the oil at 0 degrees Fahrenheit and the second number refers to the viscosity at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The first number that is given is followed by a “W” for winter. So, for example, the code 10W-40 indicates that the oil has a viscosity of 10 at the low temperature and 40 at the higher temperature. When oil gets hot then it gets thinner and loses its ability to properly lubricate your engine. At very low temperatures the oil becomes thicker and doesn’t flow around the engine parts easily resulting in more energy needed to turn the crankshaft.
For winter conditions you would normally need an oil with a 5W rating. Synthetic oils do have properties that are more tolerant to the lower temperatures. If you choose a 5W-20 or 5W-30 oil then you should be fine for most light vehicles and conditions.
You can also go to your local motor spares supplier and ask for an oil additive. These oil additives can improve the properties of the oil and can also assist in things like keeping your engine clean. In all cases make sure that you check your owner’s manual and change your oil regularly.