Everything You Need to Know About Motor Oil

Splashing and clean motor oil

Why is an oil change important?

Why is regular bathing important? It keeps you clean. Same goes for motor oil: it gets “worn” during its lifecycle. Regularly scheduled oil changes will help keep your engine clean and avoid the potentially engine-damaging effects contaminated oil can inflict. If you want to maximize engine performance, and most importantly, engine life, don’t skimp on your engine’s most vital lubricant.

How does motor oil breakdown?

Oil is pretty temperamental. One second it is slick, but then, before you know it, slick mutates into ‘ick.’ Let’s take a look at what’s going on in that engine of yours while you’re out cruising around.

  • Motor oil becomes less effective over time. Constant exposure to heat, moisture and air leads to oil degradation (oxidation). The end result? Oil thickening, sludge, deposit formation and corrosive wear. Sounds awful, right? Well it is, and all these nasty elements can take a toll on your engine. You don’t want those troublemakers knocking around your engine parts.
  • Oil additives depleted, oil life finished. When oil additives are completely exhausted, oil can no longer handle the dirt and metals that are freely floating around, causing the oxidation that creates sludge. Most importantly, old oil can no longer protect your engine against corrosion and wear when it breaks down. Picture your engine oil trying to work its way through hard and sticky sludge that’s clogged up oil passageways in your engine. Doesn’t sound very effective, does it? (Not to mention all the havoc these added barriers can inflict on your engine.) Leaving oil in your engine well past the recommended oil change date can result in disastrous conditions and expensive repairs.

Changing your oil on schedule will remove contaminated oil and replenish your engine with fresh oil. Proper lubrication provides the best protection.

How does oil travel through my engine?

Very smoothly. Oil is pumped through small engine passageways lubricating all moving parts while acting as a cooling agent to reduce engine heat. Talk about a pretty important job. Your engine’s survival is counting on it. Sit back and relax. We’ll show you how it works:

What are all the parts involved in making sure the oil pumps through the engine effectively?

  • The Moving Parts: Valve train, main and rod bearings, piston rings and cylinder walls all need lubrication in order to prevent metal on metal friction in the engine.
  • The Oil Pan: This is where your oil chillaxes, waiting to be propelled into action by the oil pump. Once the pump gets the oil moving, the oil travels through tiny oil passage ways, lubricating all the functioning parts and then finally dropping back down to the oil pan. Cycle complete.
  • The Oil Pump: This part is crucial to engine lubrication. The oil pump is responsible for creating the pressure that pushes your oil throughout your engine parts. Without it, your oil would just sit in the pan. And that’s not very useful.
  • The Oil Filter: The oil filter captures any harmful debris, metal or dirt that’s entered your oil system. The better condition your oil filter is in, the better protected your engine will be. A dirty filter is as useful as a dirty napkin. And the only use for that is in the trash bin.

What are the technical differences between synthetic blend, high mileage and full synthetic oil types?

Looks like we’ve got a future motor oil connoisseur on our hands — here’s a quick guide to understanding the different oil types:

  • Synthetic blend Kendall engine oils with Liquid Titanium® are formulated with a mixture of synthetic base stocks and conventional base stocks combining the features and benefits of the synthetic and the cost benefits of the conventional base.
  • High-mileage Kendall engine oils with Liquid Titanium® typically contain swelling additives to rejuvenate aging engine seals. Over time, these rubber seals dry out, crack and lose their flexibility. The swelling additive helps revitalize your seals so you can minimize physical (external) oil leaks as well as reduce exhaust smoke from internal oil leaks (oil leaking past seals into the combustion chamber). High-mileage oils may also be formulated with higher levels of antioxidant and/or anti-wear additives to provide better protection for older vehicles.
  • Full-synthetic Kendall engine oils with Liquid Titanium® are 100% man-made, offering performance benefits you won’t get from conventional oil: better oxidation resistance at high temperatures for reduced dirt accumulation and longer service life; better low-temperature effectiveness for easier starting and pump-ability in cold weather.

What happens if I don’t get an oil change?

Don’t play with fire, because that’s exactly what you’re doing with the life of your car if you wait too long to change your oil. Skipping oil changes, exceeding mileage or going long periods of time before your next oil change can accelerate the wear on the vital parts that keep your car running smoothly, eventually leading to premature engine breakdown.

Repairing engine damage can be a big hit to your wallet, so don’t wait to get an oil change. You might regret it.

Need the condition of your engine inspected? We can help.

Can my oil change schedule differ from manufacturer recommendations?

Believe it or not, it can — and often does. Check the manufacturer recommendation found in your owner’s manual. It typically lists oil change schedules for normal driving conditions and severe conditions. Make sure you pay attention to the listed driving conditions that distinguish the two. Severe conditions, such as hotter climates and frequent short trips, can shorten the life of your oil. If the change oil light appears, come in immediately if not sooner.

If my car has an “Oil Life System” can I change it less often?

You’re on to something here. Oil Life Systems are a more recent advancement by automobile manufacturers and they’re designed to constantly monitor your driving conditions and mileage to determine the life expectancy of your oil. It’s common myth Oil Life System measures your oil condition. Although it measures mileage traveled and outside condition factors such as heat, your owner’s manual will provide you with a very clear oil change schedule based on your specific vehicle and driving conditions.

Quick Tip: Think of regularly scheduled oil changes as cheap insurance against more expensive repairs. Not following manufacturer recommended oil change intervals can lead to sludge build up, resulting in engine damage and very costly repairs. Not fun. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended oil change interval based on the driving conditions you put your vehicle through.

Schedule your next oil change with our oil experts.

What is the best type of oil for my car?

The best type of oil is usually the one listed in your vehicle owner’s manual. However, if you have a high performance vehicle, do a lot of towing or live in extremely hot or cold climates, your car can benefit greatly from a synthetic blend or full synthetic oil.

Quick Tip: Factor in the age of your vehicle when selecting your motor oil. When your car hits 75,000 miles, your engine may require a high mileage oil designed to maintain and preserve your engine for the long haul. All in the name of keeping your baby purring to its fullest potential.

Learn about the different types of Kendall Oils we carry.

What do different oil grades (SAE 5W-20) mean?

Caution: As always, check with your owner’s manual and your oil tech before you make any adjustments to the oil grade you use in your engine. Pour in the wrong oil type and very damaging effects can occur.

Now Let’s decode life’s biggest mystery:

  • SAE = Society of Automotive Engineers.The SAE designation describes the viscosity grade of oil commonly used for passenger cars, vans, SUV’s, and light-duty trucks, etc.
  • W is for Winter. And the number before the W lets you know how easily this oil will pump at low temperatures. 0W is for very low temperatures, while higher numbers (10W) are designed for milder winter weather.
  • The last number stands for ‘summer.’ While the first number is associated with the winter temperatures, the last number determines the oil thickness at 100°C. High numbers (50) are thicker than lower numbers (20) at that temperature.
  • Thicker oils form a thicker file for better the high temperature protection. Heavier viscosity (thicker) oils provide superior protection at high temperatures, during towing and transporting heavy loads (engine generates more heat under these operating conditions). When oil heats up, it thins out. If you drive under extreme conditions, thicker oil will perform better in your engine as it thins out under extreme temperatures.
  • Thinner oils makes it easier to start your car in the winter. It’s the dead of winter; do you know the importance of your ‘W’? Well it plays a big role in whether or not your car will start ease or, potentially, not at all. Lower numbers (0W) will perform the best in cold winter while higher (20W) numbers are designed for milder winter weather. Check with us to make sure you have the right oil for your region.

Warning: Never switch oil types based on instincts or guesstimates. Check your owner’s manual first, but also check with one of our oil experts to determine the ideal oil grade based on your driving conditions and vehicle specifications.

Quick fact: Multigrade oils (10W-30) can be used over a wider temperature range than single grade oils.

Call us and find the motor oil that suits your car best.

How does Kendall compare to other brands of motor oil?

Kendall® engine oils are designed to excel. They are engineered to meet or exceed industry standards and Original Equipment Manufacturer’s oil specifications for engine protection.

They are also enhanced with Liquid Titanium®, a unique additive designed for greater wear protection and increased fuel economy. Liquid Titanium is only found in Kendall motor oils, available at all of our Firestone Complete Auto Care stores.

What is the advantage of Liquid Titanium?

Liquid Titanium is advanced engine protection available in Kendall motor oil. Pretty cool, right? With Liquid Titanium, you’ll have an extra layer of protection flowing through your engine to reduce friction among moving parts. Oil protects your engine by keeping it lubricated as the moving parts rub on one another and heat up. But what about when oil completes its cycle? If it drops back down to your oil pan and doesn’t leave a residual bond, as Liquid Titanium does, metal on metal friction can occur.

Liquid Titanium:

  • Superior engine protection under extreme operating conditions. This exclusive formula provides stronger protection for your hard working engine. By bonding to your engine’s critical parts Liquid Titanium gives your engine an extra layer of protection so you can reduce metal-on-metal friction under those brutal extreme conditions. With Liquid Titanium, you’ll now have extra protection to keep your engine running longer.
  • Less Work. More efficiency. Energy conserved. With reduced friction among moving parts, it takes less work to keep the engine running. The result? Increased fuel efficiency. It makes sense: the less energy lost due to friction, the less fuel is consumed by your engine. With all the oil changes we perform, Liquid Titanium saved motorists almost 20 million gallons of gas, last year alone. Wow. But, another pay-off? Less carbon dioxide exhausted. You can call Liquid Titanium “Energy Saving” and “Environment Protecting.”

What is a valve train?

The valve train controls multiple parts in order to manage the amount of air and fuel that enters the combustion chamber at all times.

What are main and rod bearings?

Main and rod bearings are half cylinder metal fittings that are lubricated so that the crankshaft, connecting rods and engine block function smoothly and avoid friction.

What are piston rings?

Piston rings are typically a set of three rings that: provide seals for the combustion chambers, transfer piston heat and manage engine oil consumption.

What are cylinder walls?

Inside each cylinder are walls in which the pistons travel between. These walls must remain lubricated with oil at all times to ensure the pistons don’t create friction inside any of your vehicle’s cylinders.

What is a crankshaft?

The crankshaft is connected to the pistons, providing precise and accurate piston rotation inside your vehicle’s cylinders. The crankshaft should always remain lubricated as it rotates inside the main and rod bearings.

Why choose Firestone Complete Auto Care vs. ‘fast lube’ places?

Most “In-and-out” oil change shops provide very limited benefits outside of a fast oil change. Firestone Complete Auto Care offers so much more. Consider us your one stop shop for all your maintenance, repair and tires needs. We staff over 2,200 ASE certified general technicians nationwide, giving you the most complete service out there.

As part of our free Courtesy Check, we’ll give you the option of a 19 point inspection to determine the condition of your visible car parts. We can also perform a more comprehensive Complete Vehicle Inspection. This covers over 200 parts and makes sure your car is functioning properly.

Should your vehicle need maintenance, repairs or tires, we’ll let you know and give you the option of having it serviced right away. No more jumping around town and making extra appointments on multiple days for your vehicle’s needs. Talk about added convenience and time saved.

Get a more complete oil change. Schedule yours at Firestone Complete Auto Care.

Call 571-612-2127
Store # 592021
Firestone Complete Auto Care
21800 Towncenter Plz Ste 277
Sterling, VA 20164-1824

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