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Motor Oil Matters: Choosing the Right Oil for Your Vehicle's Health

Published on May 10, 2023 by Talia Mushinsky

You know what you rarely see in action but is crucial to the health of your beloved vehicle: motor oil. Even experienced mechanics sometimes overlook the importance of choosing the right oil for their cars, and I bet many of you have been using the same oil for years. But it's always good to double-check and be aware of the latest information.


As Erin Findley, a Valvoline™ Senior Scientist, points out, we don't usually see the effects of an oil change directly. It's not like a car wash where the difference is obvious. The real impact of the oil we use shows up later, deep inside our engines.


Many people still stick to the old "3,000-mile rule" for oil changes, but Valvoline suggests we should follow our owner's manual for the recommended frequency and oil type. Motor oil is made up of two main components: base oil and additives. These additives help reduce wear, clean up dirt, and protect our engines from temperature extremes.


So, if you're going too long between oil changes, you might think you're saving money, but in reality, you could be damaging your engine. Instead, check your owner's manual and make sure you're using the right oil for your car. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Look for the API Doughnut: The API (American Petroleum Institute) certification on the back of the motor oil bottle indicates that the oil has passed various engine tests. The words "Resource Conserving" inside the doughnut show that the oil has undergone additional testing for fuel economy.
  • ILSAC Starburst Symbol: This symbol on the front of the bottle means the oil meets the standards set by the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee.
  • The "W Factor": The "W" in oil viscosity ratings stands for Winter. It used to be common to switch between 10W-30 and 10W-40 depending on the season. However, now we have multi-grade oils like 5W-30, which can be used year-round, eliminating the need to change viscosity with the seasons.

At the end of the day, it's crucial to pay attention to the type of motor oil we use in our vehicles. Consult your owner's manual, follow the recommendations, and keep an eye out for certification symbols to ensure you're making the best choice for your engine. Your car will thank you for it!


Remember, if you ever have any questions when it comes to your vehicle, our professional technicians at Kunes Hyundai of Quincy's Service Center are here to help. Find your nearest service center here.

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