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4 Different Types of Oil for Cars (with Pictures)

Car Mechanic Putting Car Oil

A great way to gain automotive experience is to change your own oil. If your car is not under warranty, changing the oil can be one of your highest maintenance costs, especially if you drive frequently or long distances. You can save labor and markup costs by doing it at home. However, several different types of motor oils are available, and using the correct one for your vehicle is essential. If you want to change the oil in your vehicle, keep reading as we look at the different types of oil so you can find out which one is right for you.

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The 4 Different Types of Oil for Cars

1. Conventional Motor Oil

Uses: Light-duty, late model cars

The motor oil is the most common, especially in older vehicles. It’s a refined petroleum product with additives that help it meet the needs of your engine. Conventional motor oil was around long before the other types, and it’s usually the cheapest solution, but it contains impurities and tends to break down sooner.

  • Inexpensive
  • Long history
  • Breaks down sooner than most other varieties

2. Full Synthetic Motor Oil

Full Synthetic Motor Oil
Image Credit: Pxhere
Uses: High-performance engines

Full synthetic motor oil is a manufactured oil that contains almost no impurities. It helps improve gas mileage and can withstand high and low temperatures better than conventional motor oil. It also has a strong oxidation resistance and helps prevent oil sludge buildup. The downside to full synthetic motor oil is that it is extremely expensive — it can cost two to four times as much as conventional motor oil.

  • Improves gas mileage
  • Withstands high and low temperatures well
  • Extremely expensive

3. Synthetic Blend Motor Oil

Uses: Most vehicles

Synthetic blend motor oil is just what it sounds like: a blend of conventional and full synthetic oils. The result is an oil that can withstand temperatures better than conventional oil, with less sludge buildup and oxidation at a lower cost than fully synthetic motor oil. While its protections are not as good as those of full synthetic motor oil, it’s a good middle-of-the-road option for many vehicle owners.

  • Less expensive than full synthetic motor oil
  • Improved protection over conventional motor oil
  • Not as good as full synthetic motor oil

4. High-Mileage Motor Oil

Uses: Older vehicles

As the name suggests, high-mileage motor oil has a special formula for engines above 75,000 miles. This soil contains additives that help condition the rubber seals in your engine to prevent oil leaks. It also contains detergents to help clean the engine and antioxidants to help it run better. The downside of using this oil on newer engines is that you’re purchasing additives that you don’t need.

  • Contains special detergents to clean the engines
  • Conditions rubber seals in the engine to keep them from wearing out
  • Expensive
  • Not for newer engines

divider 1 How Often Does My Car Need an Oil Change?

Most people consistently get their oil changed after a certain number of miles, depending on the type and age of the vehicle, how much you push the engine, and what type of oil you use. Most experts recommend changing your vehicle’s oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. A mechanic will change the oil filter at the same time to keep the engine running in peak condition for as long as possible.

What Kind of Oil Should I Use in My Car?

The type of oil that you use in your car will depend on several factors. Full synthetic motor oil is always the best choice, but its high cost may put it over budget for some people, and it’s not essential unless you are towing or racing, both of which can put considerable stress on the engine, demanding a better oil. A synthetic blend is the best choice for most people because the cost is more reasonable, and you receive plenty of benefits usually offered only to full synthetic motor oil users. If you have an older car with high mileage, you might consider using high-mileage oil to help condition the rubber gaskets and clean the engine.

What If I Mixed Synthetic Oil With Conventional Oil?

Mixing oils will not harm your engine. If you accidentally mix full synthetic motor oil with conventional motor oil, you inadvertently made synthetic blend motor oil and it will not harm your vehicle in any way. If you mix a synthetic blend with conventional motor oil, the result will be a weaker synthetic blend that will also not harm your engine. The biggest downside to mixing oils is that you never know how much synthetic oil is present to provide additional protection.

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While many people still use conventional motor oil, they can improve engine performance by upgrading to a synthetic blend, which will reduce oxidation and oil breakdown and enable it to withstand high- and low-temperature changes better. Full synthetic motor oil is expensive, but it’s a good choice if you put a great deal of strain on your vehicles by towing or driving fast. High-mileage oil can help you get a few more miles out of your old vehicle.

Featured Image Credit: IamTimEre, Pixabay


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