Oil Change 101

Oil Change

How Often Do I Need an Oil Change?

Most experts would agree that you should change your oil every 5,000 to 7,5000 kms. Considering the average Canadian drives roughly 18,000km per year, that’s 2-3 oil changes per year. However, giving an estimate that suits every oil, in every vehicle, in all driving conditions is, at best, ignorant. So many things can affect your oil change interval including:

  • Aggressive driving
  • Cold starts
  • Short driving trips
  • Extensive idling
  • Towing
  • Driving in dusty areas

So if you practice a lot of those driving habits, change your oil more often than suggested. But, if you use synthetic oil, you can change your oil less often. The important thing is to follow the advice of your trusted mechanic. Chances are no one understands your engine better.

What Does the Oil Rating Mean?

From the outside, oil ratings can seem a little confusing. Let’s take 20W-50 oil for example. The W stands for winter, and the two numbers refer to viscosity at different temperatures. An oil’s viscosity is measured at two temperatures. Its winter rating (in front of the W) is measured at -18 C and the summer viscosity is measured at 100 C.

What is Viscosity?

Viscosity is your oil’s thickness. As oil heats up it thins out which is bad for your engine. Oils resistant to thinning at high temperatures have a high second number in the oil rating. At cold temperatures, your oil thickens. Excessively viscous oil make it harder for your engine to start and worsens fuel economy. In winter, you should use oil that has low first number – preferably 5W or even 0W for some synthetic oils.

If you get an oil change at Capital GMC Buick, we’ll ensure the oil is right for your engine and the climate.

Synthetic Oil

Synthetic oil is not a magical compound. It’s just regular oil that’s been refined to a greater degree. Synthetic oil has a number of benefits including greater longevity. Further, synthetic oil resists thickening at low temperatures and has a far higher boiling point, so it performs better at high temperatures, too. It can even improve engine horsepower and torque and many reports suggest it marginally improves fuel efficiency.

Well, it sounds like synthetic oil is a magical compound – shouldn’t everyone use it? Well, not all vehicles recommend you use synthetic oil. And if your vehicle isn’t high performance, or you’re not worried about extra protection for your engine, you may not be willing to pay the extra cost of synthetic oil. In that case, sticking to the oil recommended by your manufacturer should treat your engine perfectly well – the most important thing is that you change your oil regularly.

If you have any more questions about your oil, filters, or engine in general, don’t hesitate to ask one of Capital GMC Buick’s service experts. And if you need an oil change just stop by Capital GMC Buick Certified Service Express or book an appointment and we’ll take care of the rest. 


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