*MCT photo
*MCT photo

As the saying goes — Bermuda is another world. On this tiny island of about 20 square miles, the driving conditions are very unique. It’s a lot of short-distance driving with stops and starts, which can wreak havoc on your vehicle’s engine. That’s why changing your vehicle oil and filter every 5,000 to 7,500 miles is recommended. But there are so many different kinds of motor oil. How do you choose the right one?

The first thing to consider is viscosity, which is a fluid’s resistance to flow. With engine oil, viscosity is notated with the common “XW-XX”. The number preceding the “W” rates the oil’s flow at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17.8 degrees Celsius). The “W” stands for winter, not weight as many people think. The lower the number here, the less it thickens in the cold. The second number after the “W” indicates the oil’s viscosity measured at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius). This number represents the oil’s resistance to thinning at high temperatures. 

Most new passenger vehicles use either 5W30 or 10W30 oil. Since we live in the sub-tropical climate of Bermuda and don’t operate our vehicles in cold climates, then 10W30 is acceptable as long as the manufacturer specifies that it is permissible to use it. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will list the types of oil that are best for your vehicle given its mileage, the type of driving you do and even ambient temperatures. 

With the right viscosity in mind, it’s time to start shopping for a type of oil. Frequent oil changes means there’s less tendency to need other types of oil than conventional. However, some car companies, like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, recommend only synthetic oil in their cars. The following list, as well as the car’s owner’s manual, will provide a good idea of what type of oil to use. It’s also a good rule of thumb not to switch between oil types.

Premium conventional 0il: This is the standard oil for new cars and the most economical. All leading brands have a conventional oil available in several viscosities. It is good for owners who are vigilant about oil changes and have low-mileage, but well-broken-in engines.

Full synthetic 0il: This type of oil has superior, longer-lasting performance in all the critical areas, from viscosity index to protection against deposits. It flows better at low temperatures and maintains peak lubrication at high temperatures. However, synthetic oil is expensive and not every engine needs it. 

Again, follow your owner’s manual. If it doesn’t call for synthetic oil, using it will only be an additional expense that may not enhance the engine’s performance or life.

Synthetic blend oil: This type of oil is synthetic mixed with conventional oil, and is formulated to provide protection for somewhat heavier loads and high temperatures. Synthetic blends are popular with drivers of pickups and SUVs who want the high-load protection without the expense of a full synthetic. 

Higher mileage oil: Today’s vehicles last longer, and if you’re the type of person to squeeze every mile you can out of your vehicle, there are oils formulated for higher-mileage vehicles. 

These oils come in conventional or synthetic types but they add in other ingredients, such as seal conditioners, to expand and increase the flexibility of internal engine seals. In addition, there may be a higher level of anti-wear agents and corrosion inhibitors to get the most out of an ageing engine and keep it running longer.

Many consider oil the lifeblood of your vehicle’s engine. 

And just like matching the correct blood type to your body, you need to match the correct oil type to your vehicle. 

Krishna King is the after sales parts manager at Bermuda Motors Limited. For more information on automobile maintenance, contact Krishna King at Bermuda Motors: 292-0893 or KKing@bermudamotors.bm. Website: www.bermudamotors.bm