What’s the Best Motor Oil to Use During the Winter Months?

October 1, 2017 8:35 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

You probably don’t give much thought to the oil that goes into your engine—unless you do your own oil changes, of course. For most drivers, whatever their mechanic recommends is what they choose. But if you’re someone who wants to get the very best performance out of their vehicle, it might be a smart idea to consider the variations between different motor oils.

For example, knowing which motor oil variety is the ideal choice during the winter months could mean better performance and engine protection when the temperatures outside start to take a downward dip. Selecting the right motor oil for the winter season is a question you might consider asking your mechanic in Madison, TN.

Understanding Viscosity

One of the chief differentiators of motor oil is viscosity. The scientific definition of viscosity is a liquid’s resistance to flow. For the layman, this refers to the general consistency of the liquid—thicker liquids (like molasses) have high viscosity, while thinner liquids (like water) have a low viscosity.

Your engine oil’s viscosity has a profound impact on its ability to lubricate and protect the car’s engine. You see, the engine gets hot when in operation—really hot. Engine oil needs to be able to survive these high temps without breaking down or evaporating. Viscosity can dictate this.

Winter Formulations

You might notice that all of the various motor oils have a combination of numbers and letters, like 10W-40 for example. This string of characters is actually information about the oil’s viscosity and how it’ll hold up to temperatures.

The first number is viscosity at zero degrees Fahrenheit; the second number is the viscosity at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The W actually stands for “winter,” to help tip off vehicle owners that it’s winter-rated oil.

During winter, it’s especially important to find an oil that performs well at low temperatures. The first number in the oil formulation needs to be lower in this case, to ensure better viscosity at lower temperatures.

What’s the Best Option?

The best option for winter motor oil really depends on your engine. That being said, however, 5W and 0W oils are often your best bet. Oil that’s too thick can make it hard to start your engine or maintain engine function during the cold winter months. You’ll also want an oil that is viscous enough to flow at low temperatures.

Ask your mechanic in Madison, TN about low viscosity wintertime oils and get their expert opinion on what’s best for your engine. Switching out your regular 10W-30 oil for a 5W-20 oil during the colder months of the year might make a noticeable difference in your ability to start your car and keep it running smoothly.

Conversely, if you’re someone who does their own oil changes, make sure to consult your vehicle’s manual regarding winter oil recommendations. Many will list the ideal winter oil and most oils can be purchased over the counter at your local auto parts or hardware store. Visit your mechanic today to learn more!

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