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What Type of Oil Does My Car Take?

With so many different types of motor oil, it can become overwhelming in determining which type of oil is best - luckily, Firestone Complete Auto Care has the answer. When you bring your car in for an oil change service, Firestone Complete Auto Care can tell you exactly what type of oil your car needs. Our expert automotive technicians can look up your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations and also take into account the age and odometer miles on your vehicle. We can tell you what you need over the phone, or at any of our Firestone Complete Auto Care stores (we've got more than 1,700 locations). We will discuss the basic background on the various types of oil including synthetic motor oil, best blends, high mileage oil and other considerations for your car, and more importantly, you’ll learn what type of oil you need.

Motor Oil Types

There are four types of motor oil:

  • Full synthetic oil is ideal for vehicles demanding nothing but peak level performance and high levels of lubrication. Full synthetic provides higher viscosity levels, resistance to oxidation and thermal breakdown and helps fight against oil sludge - plus full synthetic also helps improved fuel efficiency and can even increase vehicle horsepower by reducing engine drag.
  • Synthetic blend oils offer the best of both worlds including characteristics of full synthetic oil, but at a much lower price. Also, synthetic blends make it easy for drivers to make the switch from conventional to synthetic oil, which is why it's becoming increasingly popular among today's savvy driver.
  • Conventional motor oil is the most commonly used oil. Conventional motor oil is ideal for light-duty, late-model cars with low to average mileage.
  • High mileage oil is designed for cars with more than 75,000 miles because it can help reduce oil consumption, minimize leaks and oil seepage - plus it can help reduce smoke and emissions in older engines.

About Motor Oil Viscosity Ratings

All motor oils have viscosity ratings designated by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The most common oil viscosity rating is 5W-30. In any oil viscosity rating, the first number is the cold-temperature viscosity - this number is attached to the W, which stands for winter. The second number is the high-temperature viscosity rating.

Motor Oil Additives

Motor oil can also come with additives, which make up 5 to 30 percent of the oil. Motor oils can include additives such as:

  • Antioxidants
  • Anti-wear agents
  • Detergents
  • Dispersants
  • Foam inhibitors
  • Friction modifiers
  • Pour-point depressants
  • Rust/corrosion inhibitors
  • Viscosity-index improvers

Determining the best motor oil for your vehicle – whether synthetic, synthetic blend, high-mileage or conventional oil - is related to several factors. Some are external factors such as the climate you live in, your driving habits, or even the age of your engine. Other factors are fixed based on your vehicle’s engine type and the manufacturer's specifications. This may be more than you wanted to know about the types of oil used in cars, but leave it to Firestone Complete Auto Care to give you complete information about your car. You don't have to be an expert on motor oil - that's why we’re here. Visit or make an appointment at your neighborhood Firestone Complete Auto Care store today. Our tire and auto service professionals are always ready to serve you.