Motor Oil 101

You need water and food to survive, but your vehicle needs gas and oil. To keep your vehicle in good mechanical health, it needs regular tune-ups and quality fluids, including motor oil.

Synthetic vs. conventional oil

When it’s time to change your oil, you have to choose between synthetic and conventional oil. A technician can help you decide which one’s best for your vehicle. Of course, there are some basic things to know about motor oil that’ll help you make the right choice.

First off, oil lubricates the moving parts in your engine to reduce friction. Oil is what prevents dirt build-up on your engine parts and ensures a stable temperature regardless of the speed at which the engine is running or whether it’s hot or cold outside.

Over the years, oil manufacturers have developed products that are tailored to the demands of trucks, diesel engines, motorcycles, tractors . . . basically, anything with an engine! The introduction of synthetic oil, which is more powerful and lasts longer, changed things. The biggest difference is that synthetic oil flows faster and better, making it easier to start your engine.

Wear factors

Certain conventional oils are still very effective, but you’re better off asking an expert who will take into consideration a number of different factors. In certain cases, an additive (high‑mileage or anti-rust, for instance) could also be a plus. Obviously, in winter, some additives or even a good synthetic oil can help your engine run more smoothly.

The service life of your motor oil depends on a number of factors, including the age of your vehicle, whether you have a standard or turbocharged engine, and how far or for how long you travel. You should generally get your oil changed every four months or every 8,000 km (follow the manufacturer’s recommendations).

For more personalized advice, feel free to ask your technician the next time you go in for a tune-up!