When it comes to motor oil, the technology and regulations have become more sophisticated over the years. Consumers, including professional technicians, have a lot of choices when it comes to selecting a motor oil. As a consumer, you may be wondering what category your engine falls into and how do you select the right motor oil for your vehicle?
To answer these questions, you need to understand categories for motor oil and what they mean. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) developed seven categories for motor oils – 0W-20, 5W-20, 5W-30, 10W-30, 10W-40, 15W-40, and 20W-50 These categories refer to the viscosity, or thickness of the oil; which then determines its application on a vehicle.
As automotive technology continues to advance and more efficient engines are produced, the types of motor oil on the market continue to grow and consumers can easily become confused on which motor oil is best for their vehicle. Lower viscosity motor oils are designed for an improved low-temperature start-up as well as improved fuel mileage per federal government CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) requirements.