What Type of Car Oil in Winter?

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Learn all about the types of oil you should use to winterize your car, extend its life, and improve safety in this free vehicle maintenance and safety video.

Part of the Video Series: How to Winterize a Car
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Video Transcript

In this clip, we're going to talk about the engine oil and the difference in viscosities for summer and winter driving. What we have here are the two most common engine oils used. We have 10W-30 and 5W-30. In the wintertime, it's better to run a lesser viscosity oil. When these oils cool down, they will get thicker and thicker and thicker. In the wintertime, in my professional opinion, you're going to want to run a slightly lighter weight oil. What happens is as your vehicle sits overnight and the temperatures plummet, your oil is going to get really, really thick, thicker than it should be in order to lubricate the internal engine components right away. In the winter, I suggest using the 5W-30. The "5" indicates it has a lesser viscosity rate and that it will actually get pumped to the critical engine components a little faster. In the summertime, you're going to want to use a marginally, heavy engine oil, just so that it coats and lubricates better on initial startup. As you can see, the viscosity weight, the "10", is twice as thick as the "5". That's the difference between the two oils. If you buy a vehicle in Alaska, it will actually come with a very, very light oil. It'll come with a 5W-30. If you buy a vehicle in Florida, it will come with a--it could be even a 20W-50 or a 20W-30 oil. That's just a tip for you. In my professional opinion, in the wintertime, you want to run the lighter weight oil. In the summertime, you want to run the higher weight oil. And that's especially important for older vehicles who already have some internal engine wear.


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