Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

What motor oil to use

If you are in doubt as to what motor oil to use, what motor oil to use in winter, what motor oil is thicker, read this post.

This article is just one in a series. If you’d like to know more about oil click on the links below.

Choosing the right motor oil

Chrysler’s 3.5-liter engine has oil sludge issues

High mileage oil and oil filters

Oil Viscosity Warning

Synthetic Oil Facts and Myths

Synthetic oil versus conventional oil

What motor oil to use

What oil brand is best

What oil should you use

When to change oil

Best Oil filter

Every day I see people in auto forums asking what motor oil they should use in their car. And I always read answers from some people who say it’s best to use a higher viscosity oil than the one recommended by the car maker. Those people are IDIOTS. These new engines are not at all like the engines from the ‘60’s. And the latest motor oils aren’t even in the same ballpark as those primitive motor oils.

Oil is rated by viscosity, API and ILSAC rating (SM, SN, etc) AND specific car makers specifications. For example, AUDI specifies that in addition to meeting viscosity and ILSAC, the oil for a 2009 A6 must also meet VW 502.00 specifications. AUDI and VW are having lots of sludge problems because of a bad engine design and owners who didn’t use the proper motor oil. Some people blame specific brands like Valvoline. But it’s not the brand. It’s the spec that was wrong.

Motor oil, what oil to use, what viscosity

Oil filter filled with sludge

If you use an oil of the proper viscosity and ILSAC rating, but the oil doesn’t meet the rest of the manufacturer’s specs, you’re going to cause damage. If your manufacturer lists that kind of spec, you MUST use a motor oil that meets that spec.
Another example is GM. GM REQUIRES DEXOS motor oil in their new vehicles. DEXOS motor oil has a specially formulated additive package designed specifically for their new engines. It not only provides the proper wear protection, but it’s also designed to work with the oil life monitoring systems. If you deviate from GM recommendations for viscosity and spec, you not only lose your warranty, but will wear out your engine—PERIOD.
And, if you have a car with a turbo and don’t use the correct motor oil, you can destroy the turbo. So read your owner’s manual and find the viscosity recommendations, the API, and ILSAC rating, AND any additional specs. Anyone who says there’s no difference in oil isn’t up to date on motor oil.

Buying the correct oil is CRITICAL to the life of your engine.

You CAN’T screw around by substituting your own seat of the pants preferences instead of the manufacturer’s recommendations.

For more information on what can happen if you use the wrong viscosity motor oil, click here.

For information on what brand of motor oil is best, click here.

For more information on DEXOS oil, click here.

For more information on high mileage oil, click here.

For information on synthetic oil facts versus myths, click here.


© 2012 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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