Most of us know that we need to change our car’s engine oil frequently. This keeps all of the engine parts properly lubricated and running well. What we may not know is what type of oil to use. There are lots of choices out there, but only some of them are right for your car. We asked auto experts to share guidance on choosing the best oil for your particular engine. Here’s what they had to say.

Lauren Fix

Lauren Fix

Lauren Fix lives life in the fast lane–literally. When this automotive expert, author, spokesperson, keynote speaker, TV personality, ASE certified technician, race car driver, wife, and mother of two roars past, heads turn.

Changing your own oil is empowering and can save you money. Here are the tools you will need to do it properly:

  1. Proper oil – find that information in your owner’s manual. The service schedule will also tell you how often to change your oil. I suggest full synthetic oil to get the most life from your engine, and it’s a greener choice and gets better fuel economy.
  2. A container larger enough to hold at least 8 quarts.
  3. Jack stands (2) or ramps. Never rely on the jack itself, that is very dangerous.
  4. 1/2” or 3/8” socket set. You will use this to remove the drain plug on the bottom of the oil pan. You may have to remove a plastic or metal tray underneath the vehicle. Reference your owner’s manual or look online if you are unsure.
  5. Oil filter wrench. These wrenches are NOT standard. Some German cars require a special wrench. Do not start the project unless you have the correct tools. On newer vehicles, you replace the inner filter and not the whole filter as one piece. Reference your owner’s manual to be sure.
  6. Oil filter – purchase the filter assembly or filter insert. I suggest getting the best filter possible, synthetic premium filters are your best choice.
  7. Funnel – to add in new oil. Do not overflow.
  8. Paper towels or shop rags. This is not a clean job.
  9. Hand soap – use something with grit in it to clean the oil and grease off your skin.

The best brand of oil for your vehicle is truly subjective as every brand will show you studies and tests indicating that their oil is the best oil for your car.

Here’s what’s not subjective: Look at your oil cap and owner’s manual. There will be an oil viscosity listed (something like 0W20 or 5W30), and the best oil for your car comes only in that viscosity. Viscosity is most simply understood as the weight or thickness of the oil—how the oil responds to changing of shape and its flow resistance. If your car requires a synthetic oil then you should use a synthetic oil in the correct viscosity.

Chaya Milchtein

Chaya Milchtein

Automotive Educator

Chaya Milchtein is the blogger behind Mechanic Shop Femme and an automotive industry expert. Starting her automotive career early, she’s invested in educating the average consumer about their vehicle.

Jack Murphy

Jack Murphy is a car enthusiast and an author at Hobbies: eating, sleeping, and living cars.

Believe it or not, the best way to find the best oil for your car is through your owner’s manual. In this manual, the car designers have laid out almost everything that will give your car longevity and allow you to make the most out of it.

The mistake lots of people do is to read random blogs and chose oil/accessories from there. But that simply might not match your car’s standard.

Go for 5W-20 or 5W-30 if you are in a lower temperature area. And if you are in a hot climate, you might even consider10W-30. If you are confused, call a mechanic.

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