When it’s time to take your vehicle in for a routine oil change, chances are you rely on your auto repair technicians to select the appropriate type of oil. While technicians are well-educated and more than qualified to make that determination, it’s always a good idea to be informed about your vehicle, too. Knowing which type of oil is appropriate for your vehicle’s engine can help you make more informed decisions about proper maintenance. If you get overwhelmed just walking into the oil aisle of your local parts dealer, AA Auto Tech in Hastings, MN, is here to explain what to look for when selecting an oil for your vehicle. 


Know the Difference: Synthetic, Conventional, or High-Mileage?

If you’ve ever ventured into the automotive oil section of your local parts shop, you’ve seen the vast range of motor oils available today. Some labels display “full synthetic” while others feature a blend of synthetic and conventional oil. Still, others claim to be appropriate for high-mileage vehicles—how can you possibly know where the differences lie? Here’s a breakdown:


●        Full Synthetic. This highly refined oil must pass stringent testing as it’s designed for high-performance, high-tech engines. Synthetic oil maintains a more consistent flow at high temperatures, produces less resistance, reduces engine deposits, and offers superior performance and longevity. Due to its high-caliber performance, full synthetic oil is typically far pricier than its counterparts

●        Synthetic Blend. As its name implies, a synthetic blend combines synthetic oil and conventional oil. Typically, truck owners select this oil type due to its ability to protect engines under heavy loads and high temperatures.

●        Conventional. Conventional oil is less refined than full synthetic but well-suited to most light-duty vehicles. Conventional oil degrades more rapidly than synthetic, increases engine deposits, and does not maintain the same high-level flow under high temperatures.

●        High-Mileage. This type of oil contains additives, conditioners, and detergents designed to clean buildup from engines with 75,000 miles or more. High-mileage oil is also more effective at reducing friction because it maintains a higher viscosity over time.


Refer to Your Owner’s Manual

When in doubt, always refer to your vehicle owner’s manual. The manual includes information on the manufacturer-recommended type of oil for your vehicle, as well as the appropriate oil viscosity for the engine. Depending on your climate and the time of year, you may need to adjust the type of oil you use, and your manual will cover that information as well. When you take your vehicle to a skilled auto maintenance shop for its routine oil change, the technicians will know exactly which type of oil to use. 


For Better Performance, Use Synthetic

Even if your vehicle manual doesn’t stipulate synthetic motor oil, your engine may benefit from a higher quality product. Because synthetic oil is highly refined and contains additives that encourage better performance, it can give older motors a much-needed boost. Not only is synthetic oil better at eliminating buildup within your vehicle’s motor, but it also maintains a higher viscosity, which reduces engine friction.


One of the greatest benefits of synthetic oil is it can actually save you money over the long run because it increases the efficiency of your engine. However, auto repair technicians warn against switching to synthetic oil if your vehicle’s motor was built before 1990. In older, high-mileage motors, sometimes, buildup around seals and gaskets can keep the engine from leaking. If synthetic oil effectively breaks down that buildup, you could be left with engine leaks and burning oil.


Reliable Auto Maintenance in the Twin Cities

No matter what type of vehicle you drive, or the type of oil it requires, at AA Auto Tech, we know exactly how to maintain your engine. Whether you need a quick oil change, a filter replacement, or factory-recommended maintenance, our full-service team guarantees a job well done. For questions about your upcoming vehicle maintenance or to schedule your service appointment, give us a call at 651-437-2218 or feel free to message us on our contact page.