What Are the Different Types of Engine Oil?

Different Types of Engine Oil

Engine oil is the most important lubricant in terms of maintaining the functionality and performance of motor vehicles. Automakers often recommend one or more types of engine oil for their models. These recommendations are based on climate, vehicle use, and mileage. Engine oils are classified by their formulation, grade, and certification. The basic categories denote formulation and mileage. The National City auto insurance experts at American Tri-Star explain the differences between common types of engine oil.

Conventional Motor Oil

This used to be the only engine oil manufactured for many decades. It mostly comes from refined petroleum or natural gas and is seldom recommended these days. Conventional oil tends to be the most affordable, but its protection against heat and engine wear is limited. Even classic cars that are not driven daily are better off with more advanced formulations on the market. Even if comes from fossil fuels, conventional motor oil is sometimes called mineral oil.

Synthetic Oil

This motor oil is the result of extensive laboratory research into synthetic compounds that have advanced viscosity and engine protection properties. The stability and overall performance synthetic oil provides makes it the preferred choice of automotive service technicians. This type of oil costs more than its conventional counterpart, but it does not require very frequent changes.

Synthetic Blend Oil

The base lubricant of this oil is petroleum or natural gas. The rest of the components are formulated from synthetic additives and chemicals that offer better protection than conventional oil. Synthetic blends are recommended for passenger vehicles and light trucks that carry many passengers, run at high RPMs, or are subject to long hours of operations. Some commercial taxi fleets and bus lines purchase their own synthetic blend based on local driving conditions.

High Mileage Engine Oil

This type of oil is recommended when the odometer of a passenger car, light truck, or SUV surpasses 75,000 miles. It may also be recommended when cars are being driven more than 15,000 miles each year. The idea behind high mileage oil is that engine breakdown and the ensuing sludge can be prevented with higher viscosity blends. The additives used in high mileage formulation are designed to coat engine components and preserve their integrity.

Engine Oil Grades

The viscosity and operating temperature of engine oils are graded by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The certification of this grade is indicated on the label of each oil container. In the case of SAE 5W-30 oil, the grade indicates an ideal viscosity in low temperatures. Similarly, 10W-40 oil provides optimal protection at higher temperatures. The American Petroleum Institute further issues engine oil certifications according to energy conservation in terms of the lubricant’s contribution to fuel efficiency. Furthermore, the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee issues a grade depending on the type of fuel vehicles use. For most passenger vehicles, the API/ILSAC designation is a dark seal that indicates optimal use in gasoline vehicles.

Much like there are different types of engine oil, there are also different types of car insurance coverage you can choose from. For reliable auto insurance quotes, National City vehicle owners can turn to American Tri-Star Insurance. We also offer affordable motorcycle and RV insurance. Call 619-474-3900 today to speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable agents.