You’ve been told time and time again that getting regular oil changes is an essential part of your routine car maintenance. But those oil changes can get expensive after a while, especially if you’re a driver who puts a lot of miles on their car in a given year. When you’re at the auto shop, you may notice the budget oil sitting on the shelf and wonder: is it really so bad to put cheap oil in your car?
What can cheap oil do to your car?
The fact of the matter is that like a lot of other things in life, you get what you pay for when it comes to oil. Cheap oil is, unfortunately, low quality. Even though the initial cost is low, the long-term cost can be significant. That’s because cheap oils break down faster than their more expensive cousins, potentially doing a lot of damage to your engine.
Cheap oil can…
- Gum up and ‘fail’, increasing the friction and heat inside your engine instead of decreasing the friction.
- Inadequately lubricate the parts inside your engine, leading to excess wear and tear on your engine.
- Fail and contribute to ‘sludge’, a thick, dark substance that can damage or destroy your engine if left long enough.
- Gum up around compression or oil rings, causing oil to enter the combustion chamber and burn there.
- Increase your engine’s fuel consumption since the parts are working harder than they should.
- Reduce your engine’s normal power levels.
- Cause blockages in your engine, leading to issues with your car’s exhaust system.
Quality oil, on the other hand, is designed for long-term operation. This means less wear and tear on the engine parts, better fuel economy, and no impact on your engine’s power level. This type of oil often contains additives to help your engine operate smoothly, such as detergents that help keep the interior of your engine clean. These additives can increase the lifespan of your oil, meaning you’ll have to stop in for oil changes less frequently.
You’ll quickly notice that there are a lot of types of quality oil available, but which should you buy?
Which engine oil should you use?
First of all, you need to check your owner’s manual to find the recommended type of oil for your vehicle. The technicians who designed your vehicle have already gone through extensive testing to figure out which type of oil will help your engine last as long as possible without losing efficiency. (Note: Sometimes, your recommended oil type is listed on or near your oil cap.)
With this number in hand, the shelf at the auto store becomes slightly less daunting. Now, all you need to figure out is which type to use – conventional, synthetic, or a blend. What’s the difference?
- Conventional: Conventional oil is typically less expensive than synthetic or synthetic blend, but it’s important to know a few things about this option. First, it can contain impurities that lead to deposit buildups. It may also be less effective at reducing the friction between engine parts, increasing the wear and tear on vehicle components. Conventional oil also doesn’t have as wide a range of temperatures in which it can perform optimally, so extreme heat and extreme cold can affect its efficiency.
- Synthetic: Synthetic oils are often designed for specific uses, such as high-mileage, high-performance, or even high-use vehicles such as work or tow trucks. This type of oil is highly refined and contains few impurities, creates few deposits, and has minimal friction. Synthetic oils also work well in many types of temperatures.
- Synthetic blend: Just like the name suggests, synthetic blends both conventional and synthetic oil for a good intersection between cost and performance, and is a good option for everyday driving.
Oil Changes And More At T3 Atlanta
If you need to have your oil changed, get routine maintenance, or have more significant repairs due to an accident, T3 Atlanta can help. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff has over 25 years of experience repairing Nissan, Lexus, Infiniti, and Toyota vehicles in Atlanta. We’ll help your car stay in great condition so you can sit back and enjoy your ride.