How to Choose Engine Oil: Your Ultimate Guide

Engine oil helps your car run smoothly. So, to choose the right engine oil might seem difficult, and that’s when your manufacturer’s manual comes in handy.

choosing the right engine oil might seem hard, but start by checking your car’s manual.

It tells you what kind of oil to use. Understanding why oil is important will help you choose the right type.

This article explains different options to make it easier for you to change your oil.

An image illustrating How to Choose Engine Oil
Credits: advancedenginetech

Understanding Why Engine Oil Matters

Engine oil, sometimes called motor oil, is like the lifeblood of your car.

It’s crucial for keeping your car running well since it lubricates all the moving parts inside the engine.

This lubrication helps reduce friction and stops the moving parts from wearing out too soon.

Furthermore, engine oil helps carry away heat from the engine, which stops it from getting too hot and causing problems like engine breakdowns.

Good engine oils also come with extra additives that clean the engine by getting rid of nasty dirt and pollutants.

It’s like having a team of super cleaners inside your engine, always keeping it nice and tidy.

So, choose the right engine oil to give your engine a longer life and ensure it runs as smoothly as possible.

How to Choose Engine Oil for Your Car

When choosing the right engine oil, you need to consider the following factors:

Viscosity Grade

Oil viscosity refers to how thick or thin the oil is.

When examining different oil products, you may encounter confusing codes comprising letters and numbers on the packaging.

Thinner viscosity oils flow faster through your engine, while thicker ones flow more slowly.

Higher viscosity oils have higher numbers on the container label, indicating greater resistance to flow through the engine.

Using oil with a viscosity that’s too high can make your engine sluggish and less responsive.

Thicker oil requires more energy, in the form of fuel, for your engine to overcome its resistance and reach where it needs to go.

Modern engines are designed with tighter tolerances and typically require lighter viscosity oils for optimal performance. For instance, an oil rated as 0W-40 is preferable for fuel efficiency.

Depending on the season, you need a different viscosity grade for your oil. The car’s manual or the oil cap will tell you which one to use.


Did you know that engine oil needs certification too? Several manufacturers make sure their oils meet certain industry standards.

Here are some certifications:

  • API (American Petroleum Institute) Certification: This rates oils based on their ability to protect against corrosion, wear, oxidation, and dispersing power. The letters ‘C’ and ‘S’ indicate whether it’s for diesel or petroleum engines. You can find out what your vehicle needs in the manual or by asking a mechanic.
  • ACEA (Association of Certified European Automakers): This certification uses a number and a letter to show the oil’s quality and suitability for different types of engines.
  • SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers): This tells you the viscosity grade, which you can find on the oil container.
    Always check for these certifications to make sure you’re getting the right oil for your car. It ensures that the oil meets the standards recommended by your car’s manufacturer and tells you what kind of performance to expect

Engine Oil Type

The final thing to think about as you choose the right engine oil for your car is the type of oil.

Knowing the model and make of your car makes this decision easier. Simply check your car’s manual to see what kind of oil your engine needs.

It’s important to understand the main differences between the types of engine oil:

  • Mineral Oils: These have lower resistance to heat and oxidation. They usually last for about 5000 kilometres before needing a change, which can save you money. If your car’s engine is older and always used mineral oil, sticking with it can provide extra protection and performance.
  • Synthetic Oil: This type is chemically modified to improve engine performance and contains fewer impurities. Synthetic oils are high-quality, with good resistance to heat and oxidation. They can last around 10000 kilometres before needing to be changed. They enhance engine performance, save fuel, and reduce friction.
  • Semi-synthetic Oil: This is a mix of fully synthetic and mineral oils, offering benefits from both. Using it can improve engine performance and protection against heat, corrosion, and oxidation.

Note that, choosing the right engine oil for your vehicle can be tricky, but it’s important for prolonging its life and performance.

Focus on the viscosity grade, certifications, and type of oil to make a smart choice.

Additionally, remember to check your vehicle’s manual for specific oil specifications and be careful when selecting oil to avoid problems.

Considering these aspects will help optimize your vehicle’s performance and extend its lifespan.

Follow Your Manufacturer’s Recommendations

Your car’s manufacturer knows exactly what your engine needs, so it’s important to stick to their recommendations when you choose engine oil.

They give you this info in the owner’s manual that comes with your car when you buy it.

Moreover, the manual tells you what type of oil to use, how thick it should be, how much to put in, and when to change it.

Therefore, ignoring these instructions could damage your engine, make it less efficient, and shorten its life.

Driving Conditions and Choosing Engine Oil

Your choice of engine oil can be heavily influenced by your driving conditions.

Factors like temperature, distance, and your driving style all play a role in choosing which engine oil is right for your car.

  • Temperature:

Engine Oils perform differently at various temperatures.

In colder places, it’s better to use oil with a lower ‘W’ rating, like 0W or 5W.

In warmer areas, oils with higher viscosity ratings, such as 10W or 15W, might be better.

  • Distance:

How far you typically drive affects your engine oil choice too.

Shorter trips can make the oil break down quicker because the engine doesn’t warm up fully. In this case, a high-quality synthetic oil with good viscosity stability might be a better option.

  • Driving style:

If you drive aggressively or at high speeds, your engine faces more strain.

It’s best to use a high-performance oil that can keep its thickness and properties even under tough conditions.

On the other hand, if you drive more calmly, regular oil may suffice.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What affects engine oil choice?

When choosing engine oil, consider its thickness, ingredients, driving habits, mileage, manufacturer recommendations, and environmental impact. Check your car’s manual for more details.

  • Which oil is better, 5W-30 or 10W-30?

It depends on your needs. 5W-30 works well in cold weather, while 10W-30 is thicker and better for hot weather. Consult your manual or a mechanic for advice based on your car and climate.

  • Is Mobil the best oil brand?

Mobil is known for its quality, but the best oil for your car depends on your vehicle, driving style, and preferences.

  • How do I know which engine oil my car needs?

Refer to your car’s manual for specific advice based on its design, engine, and performance. If unsure, consult a mechanic or contact the manufacturer.


Choosing the right engine oil is just as important as keeping up with regular check-ups to keep your car running smoothly.

Think about things like the oil’s thickness, any extra ingredients it has, how you drive, how old your car is, what the manufacturer suggests, and its impact on the environment when choosing your oil.

By looking at all these factors, you can choose the oil that’s best for your car’s needs.

This choice will help keep your engine in good shape, improve performance, and make your car last longer.

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