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Motor Oil

Motor oil is essential to lubricating and cooling your car's engine. Without it, the friction from the metal sliding against metal will quickly destroy your engine. In addition to replacing any oil that may have leaked from your engine, you need to periodically change the oil and oil filter because the oil will become dirty, and dirty oil can also cause significant engine damage.

Oil thins as it heats up, so most motor oil today is formulated with synthetic components to give it different characteristics at different temperatures (hence the name "multi-grade" oil). To reflect the multi-grade properties, motor oil is labeled with two numbers. The first number (attached to the "W") represents the oil's viscosity in winter (at 0° F). The second number, represents the oil's viscosity in summer (at 212° F). "Viscosity" is the difficulty with which the oil flows, with a lower number being more fluid, and a higher number being more like molasses. Hence, a 0W-40 oil remains more liquid in both summer and winter than a 10W-50 oil. However, keep in mind three facts:

  • the two viscosities ratings are not absolute measurements; that is, a 10W-40 rating indicates that the oil behaves like 10 grade oil at the low temperature and 40 grade oil at the higher temperature; it does not say that the oil is four times more liquid at the colder temperature.
  • thinner is good during cold starts and thicker is good doing heavy use on hot days; thus, premium oils have a lower cold temperature and a higher hot temperature grades
  • ultimately, choose the oil weight recommended by your car's manufacturer.

Where to Shop (click to visit)
PartsAmerica- The on-line presence for two of the largest auto part retailers in America: CSK Auto (Checker, Schucks and Kragen) and Advance Auto Parts. PartsAmerica provides quick and easy access to nearly $1.5B in inventory and 3,000 locations in all 50 states. Search their real-time inventory, purchase items on-line, pick up and return at a local store, or have products delivered to their home or business.

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