No matter what season it is, automobile owners should pop open the hood of their vehicles every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, or every 6 months, to check the engine’s oil. Why is this especially necessary in the winter? Engines tend to have a tougher time starting up as the temperature drops and still need to be properly lubricated at all times to run efficiently.
Oil’s Role in the Engine
Engines are incredibly hot when operating thanks to the amount of friction that takes place from its metal parts grinding against each other while powering a vehicle. That’s where oil comes into play – it lubricates all of these moving parts and keeps the engine from overheating and rusting over time. It’s only effective for so long, however, and eventually needs to be drained and replaced.
Checking for a Change
Check if your oil is ready for a change by examining the engine’s dipstick. Remember, always work with an engine that’s turned off and on level ground when you need to perform routine maintenance. Pull out the dipstick and wipe off any oil with a rag or paper towel. Put it back in and out again, inspecting the level and color of the oil this time. If the level is below the minimum line and light in color, you may just need to add more oil. If the oil is dark, it’s likely ready to be changed. A trusted auto mechanic can get the job done or you can do it on your own.
Choosing the Right Oil
Winter weather can have a negative impact on certain motor oils so you’ll want to choose the right one. If you’ve read our previous post regarding the different blends of gasoline during the summer and winter months, you must be wondering if oil has different blends as well. While there are conventional, synthetic, and high-mileage motor oils, their SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) viscosity grades are what matter for the various seasons. Your vehicle’s manual will tell you the exact grade to use.
Best Viscosity Grades for Winter
Viscosity is essentially a liquid’s ability to resist flowing due to its thickness. The viscosity of motor oil is considered low when the liquid is thinner (flows easily) and high when it’s thicker (flows slower). It also shifts when the temperature changes, thickening in the cold and thinning from the heat. That’s why the best grades for winter, and year-round, are actually multi-grade. You’ll see this on a bottle of motor oil marked as 5W-30, 10W-30, and so on. In this, the smaller number represents the viscosity in cold weather (lower is better for starting up the engine), the “W” stands for winter, and the larger number represents the viscosity as the engine heats up.
Don’t Forget the Filter
Engines also need a filter for motor oil. This ensures that any contaminates it has picked up in the engine are prevented from cycling back through. If you are upgrading to multi-grade oil, or switching to a lower viscosity oil, you’ll want to replace your current filter as well. Since motor oil is at its thickest when starting the engine, the filter needs to be strong enough to withstand any extra pressure. Revisit your vehicle’s manual to determine a proper oil filter.
Changing the Oil
Instead of providing a complete walkthrough for an oil change, we’re recommending that you utilize the internet by looking up instructions on your exact vehicle make and model. A few supplies you need, in addition to the oil and filter, are an oil drain pan, socket wrench, funnel, and car jack (with jack stands).
HSO Supplies Motor Oil
HSO carries all types of lubricants for automobiles, trucks, and off-road equipment. Through us, you can find the following motor oils:
- VP Lubricants
- Phillips 66
Contact us online or at 1-800-467-5044 to make your purchase.