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Types of Oil for A Car: Your Complete Guide!

types of oil for a car

The common types of oil for a car are:

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  1. Conventional oil
  2. Full synthetic oil
  3. Synthetic blend oil
  4. High mileage oil

Choosing the right type of oil for a car depends heavily on a lot of factors. Whether you decide to go with conventional oil, synthetic oil, synthetic blend oil, or high mileage oil, you need to consider all surrounding factors so you don't go with the wrong type of motor oil that might impact your vehicle's performance.

For example, you might want to choose a specific type of motor oil suitable for the winter season, especially if you drive in areas with below-freezing temperatures. On the other hand, if you're driving a heavy-duty vehicle or a car with a lot of mileage, you might want to consider a high mileage oil instead of the normal conventional oil.

This article walks you through all types of oil for your car and highlights the main characteristics you will achieve when switching through this type of oil. We recommend that you go through your vehicle's owner’s manual and get an idea about whether you can switch to this type of oil or not before making a final decision.

Why does your vehicle need oil?

Before we highlight the details about the different types of oil for a car, it is important to understand that oil is one of the very critical fluids in the vehicle. Without motor oil, your engine can immediately seize, and you will end up needing a new engine.

The engine consists of many interacting components that grant against each other and generate a lot of friction. Too much friction leads to engine overheating, which is one of the worst enemies here vehicle's engine might cost you thousands of dollars on repairs. Using motor oil provides sufficient lubrication to the engine and eliminates any chances of friction that could lead to overheating.

Since oil breaks down over time, you will have to change your motor oil frequently depending on the type of motor oil you chose and what your vehicle's owner’s manual states. However, skipping an oil change is never a good idea because the oil will lose the main characteristics that lubricate the engine, and therefore, it will act like your engine has very low oil or doesn't have oil at all.

Oil change frequency differs significantly depending on what type of engine oil you decide to go with. Therefore, when choosing motor oil, you must keep an eye on the frequency of oil changes, which is critical, especially if you don't like frequent oil changes because you're busy or for any other reason.

Types of oil for a car

Motor oils are not the same, and they are a list of multi oils that you might come across when shopping for the next oil. Of course, each oil comes with its characteristics and provides certain benefits, but also it has its drawbacks as well. Therefore, let's walk through the list of motor oils that you might encounter and highlight the main pros and cons of each one:

  1. Conventional oil

Have you ever asked yourself, “what type of oil do most cars use?” The short answer is conventional oil. Most vehicles use conventional oil because it provides the basic characteristics that your engine needs to get the right level of lubrication without any risks of engine overheating.

The best feature about conventional oil is that it's affordable, and its price is much lower than the other oils mentioned in this list. However, the worst part about conventional oil is the frequency of oil changes. Since conventional oil breaks faster than the other types of oil, you'll have to change it more frequently than any other oil. Therefore, if you are a person who doesn't like frequent oil changes, conventional oil might not be the best option for you.

  1. Synthetic oil

Synthetic oil, or full synthetic motor oil, is the top type of motor oil. It comes with much higher viscosity levels and provides additional characteristics to prevent your engine from oxidation issues or thermal breakdowns.

Synthetic oil is recommended for heavy-duty vehicles or vehicles that require peak performance. For example, if you're driving a car that has a turbo engine or requires more power without stressing the engine, you might want to go with synthetic oil.

One of the best features of this oil is that it doesn't break down fast, so you don't have to worry about frequent oil changes. Some experts mentioned that you could wait on an oil change for up to one whole year without worrying about damaging the engine. But, of course, This doesn't mean that you don't want to keep an eye for symptoms indicating that your vehicle is due for an oil change.

Unfortunately, synthetic oil comes at a much higher price as compared to conventional oil. In some instances, you might pay two to three times, if not four times higher than the regular oil. Therefore, you must consult with your mechanic and confirm whether you need to switch to this type of oil or not before making a final decision.

The other thing to consider is your vehicle's compatibility. If you're driving an older car, you might want to think twice before switching to synthetic oil. Synthetic oil comes with specific chemicals that Heavily cleans up and degrades any sludge in your motor oil here as well. That's a good feature; it can be extremely dangerous for your engine's weak seals that you might have in the older cars.

  1. Synthetic blend oil

Synthetic blend oil is somewhere between conventional and synthetic oil. So experts decided to combine the tool and create a new type of oil that provides very good characteristics at a lower price.

Synthetic blend oil became one of the most popular types of oil among savviest drivers because it helps protect the engine and eliminates oxidation issues without breaking the budget.

  1. High mileage oil

Do you have a vehicle with more than 7500 miles? Then you should consider the high mileage oil! This oil comes with specific characteristics that protect your old engine and helps eliminate oxidation problems and other issues related to leakage or oil seepage. Thus, switching to high mileage oil means you don't have to worry about weird smokes and harmful emissions.

Does the type of oil for a car matter?

Of course! The type of oil is a big deal when protecting your engine and reducing oil change frequencies. As we highlighted in detail before, some oils might not require frequent changes like full synthetic oil. On the other hand, if you decide to stick with the conventional oil, you might need to visit the repair shop or perform the oil change yourself more frequently.

The other thing to consider is the high mileage oil. If you're driving a vehicle with a lot of mileage, going with conventional oil might not help you, especially if you deal with oil leaks frequently. Therefore, oil type can be a big deal for you and helps you achieve smooth engine performance without stressing the engine.

Keep in mind that you cannot switch to the top type of engine oil unless you confirm with your mechanic. This is because some vehicles may not be compatible with synthetic oil, and making the decision yourself can lead to harmful consequences that could cost you the entire engine.

What is the motor oil viscosity?

Have you ever noticed that your motor oil says something like “0W-20”? Or probably something like “20W-50”? These are all codes that indicate certain characteristics of your vehicle's oil. Decoding these numbers and letters is extremely important because it helps you identify what motor oil is suitable for your vehicle and highlights what oil you need to change if you're planning for the winter season.

The current, in general, represents an important characteristic of your oil. It highlights the oil viscosity. Oil viscosity refers to how fast your oil can flow, which is extremely important because the faster the flow, the easier it is for the oil to reach accessible locations among your engine and be lubricated properly.

The letter W in your engine oil indicates the oils winter. It tells how the oil helps your engine turn over during very cold temperatures. For example, when the letter W is associated with a small number, the oil runs faster and smoother during cold temperatures. The fastest and lowest number is typically 0W.

The second portion of the oil code represents the oil viscosity after the engine achieves the operating temperature, around 212 Fahrenheit. This feature can also be extremely important, especially if you're driving in a hot environment and there is a very high chance for the engine oil to evaporate.

Is it OK to mix 5W30 with 5W40?

Many of our readers continuously worry about mixing different types of oil. However, experts indicated that oils are miscible, which means you don't have to worry about mixing different types of oils as long as there are specified for engines.

For example, if you mixed one liter of a 5W40 oil with another liter of a 5W30, you should not get any issue, and you can safely use the mixture in your vehicle.

What happens if I use 5W40 instead of 5W30?

Again, switching between two different types of oils with different viscosities should not be a problem. However, you might lose some of the characteristics depending on which type of oil you decide to go with.

For example, going from a 5W30 to a 5W40 means losing some of the benefits at higher temperatures because the higher the number after the letter W indicates that the oil is more effective at higher temperatures.

Can I mix two different brands of motor oil?

That is also another yes. There are different types of brands for motor oils that you might come across. Mixing between different brands should not be a problem because you will immediately achieve a suitable mixture suitable for your engine. So, for example, if you decided to use one liter of AMSOIL oil with another liter from Mobil 1 oil, you should not have any problem.

Remember that mixing synthetic with conventional gets you a synthetic blend oil, which means that it doesn't have the top characteristics you will have when using a full synthetic oil.


The common types of engine oil are conventional oil, synthetic oil, synthetic blend oil, and high mileage oil. Choosing the type of oil depends heavily on many factors, including season, vehicles age, etc.

This article walked you through all types of oil that you might encounter, unhighlighted the main characteristic of each one. It identified the main pros and cons of each oil to help you make an informed decision about whether you should upgrade your vehicle's oil to achieve better characteristics or not.

Whether you went with the top and highest quality motor oil or not, if your vehicle doesn't have the basic level of mechanical status, upgrading the oil won't help. Therefore, before choosing the oil type, you want to ensure that your car does not have major mechanical problems associated with the engine. Otherwise, you'd better silver vehicle and used its value to purchase a better car that is worth the investment in synthetic oil.

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