What Does Oil Weight Mean?
Should You Weigh Your Oil?
If you don't feel particularly mechanically inclined and have heard that you should choose the correct weight of motor oil, you may feel uncomfortable with your choices or have a few questions. At U.S. Automotive in Ozark, Missouri, we can help with that. First, if you're wondering about the term's literal meaning, the answer is "no." You don't need to weigh motor oil. Second, you never have to feel uncomfortable when you choose us for preventive maintenance services and auto repair. In business since the early 1980s, our experienced technicians take care of the mechanical part, and our entire staff is here to ensure that you have a great auto care experience.
Understanding the Numbers
Oil weight doesn't actually refer to the number you see if you place a quart of lubricant on your bathroom scales. It refers to viscosity, a measure of thickness or thinness that determines how well motor oil flows at a particular temperature. That's where the "W" on the oil container is sometimes misinterpreted. This letter doesn't indicate "weight." It refers to "winter." The number preceding the W relays the measure of the oil's ability to flow at a cold temperature, while the one following it provides the same measure at a hot temperature (210 degrees Fahrenheit). These designations are determined by the standards of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Both ends of the spectrum are important, but the key is to optimize performance by reaching a balance. On one hand, the lubricant needs to be thin enough to move around and coat the metal components to prevent excessive wear and friction damage. On the other, it needs to be thick enough to cling to those parts such that it lays down a protective barrier as well as suspends any free-floating debris, dirt, or metal shavings so that those contaminants aren't touching the parts. The higher the digit values, the thicker the oil. SAE designates two ratings--the cold and the hot--because the fluid has different properties across the varying temperatures, a feat that's accomplished through product additives.
Convenient Preventive Maintenance Services
Your vehicle's owner's manual will provide you with the manufacturer's guidelines for oil change service points, including oil change intervals, SAE oil specifications, and which kind of oil is recommended (conventional, full synthetic, or synthetic blend). When you rely on U.S. Automotive for preventive maintenance services, however, you don't have to worry about anything--not oil weight, not which oil filter fits your make and model, and not even whether you've properly reinserted the drain plug back into the oil pan. We take care of everything for you, even offering extra conveniences like a shuttle and loaner car or free wifi if you're waiting onsite.