Prepping Your Oil For Winter

 

As the mercury in the thermometer begins to drop, you might start noticing some changes in how your car drives. In addition to keeping an eye out for leaf buildup on the roads, potentially slick conditions, and ensuring that your trunk is stocked with the necessary emergency supplies, you could see a drop in overall performance. Sluggish turnover or even inability to start your vehicle all indicate that your oil isn’t ready for the shift in temperature.

 

Check Your Rating

When your oil isn’t properly rated for lower temperatures, you get a thicker, gummier consistency that just isn’t as good at lubricating your system. Thicker oil doesn’t slip into the nooks and crannies of the engine to keep things running smoothly, and actually makes your engine work harder. Take a look at the rating of your oil, specifically the number on the left of the  w. The lower the number, the better it performs in the cold. A 10w30 rated oil will not work as well at lower temperatures as a 5w30.

 

Can’t You Just Add The Right Kind?

If you notice issues related to thicker oil, you should be careful about adding some of a different viscosity. Strictly speaking, there’s evidence on both sides of the argument for mixing oils. When you get an oil change, there is always some left over in the engine, so you’ll always end up with some mixture. Mixing a higher and a lower viscosity results in something in between. For the sake of simplicity and cost however, you don’t need to mix viscosities. If one thickness will do, stick with that to make it easier to consistently have the same results.

 

Get It Checked

Even if you’re fairly certain that your engine’s sluggishness is the result of thicker oil, you should still probably get it checked by a trained technician. There’s no harm in getting it checked if it is as simple as a quick oil change. If there is a greater problem, it’s nice to have that professional touch!

 
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