Oil Viscosity: What You Need to Know

How can I make my oil changes last longer?

All vehicle owners hear about oil changes and how they are necessary to keep your vehicle running. Often the discussion stops there. The truth is, the oil used in your oil change makes a world of difference to your vehicle’s performance and its overall life on the road.

What does your oil do?

Simply put, fuel combustion produces tiny explosions that move the parts of your engine. That motion is then transferred through various parts until, eventually, your wheels move. The combustion alone produces a lot of heat, and then you add the heat from the friction of all those moving parts. Something needs to keep the engine cool, and the oil does exactly that. Your oil system lubricates the vital engine parts, reducing heat and friction to help them work more efficiently.

What does good oil look like?

A term you may not be familiar with is “oil viscosity,” which refers to the oil’s ability to pour at certain temperatures. New oil will be smooth, runny, and the color of light honey. Over time, as it repeatedly passes through the engine to cool it, your oil will pick up bits of debris from the engine parts and dirt that finds its way up from the road. As it ages, the oil also begins to evaporate as it absorbs the engine’s heat—the debris and loss of liquid cause the oil to become thicker. In terms of oil viscosity, thick oil does not pour easily and can’t pass as efficiently through your engine. This is why regular oil changes are necessary for an efficient engine, and the frequency depends on how quickly your oil ages.

What can I do to make my oil last longer?

Any good technician will tell you that your vehicle’s health and the health of your engine parts depend on your driving habits and your maintenance routine. When we describe the combustion process and all the heat your engine creates, we can also offer tips so you can lessen the demands on your engine. If you’re the type of driver that hits the pedal to the floor when the light turns green, try accelerating more slowly to give your engine time to build RPMs and shift efficiently. For drivers who regularly find themselves in traffic, leave plenty of distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. The less stopping and starting and reacting to their driving, the more efficient you are with your speed and braking.

Written by GT Peace Automotive