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How to choose the right oil for your car - Walmart

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How to choose the right oil for your car
The grade, performance specification and drain interval recommended by your car's
manufacturer are the key factors in determining the right oil. Keep reading to find out what
these terms mean and why they're important when it comes to choosing the right oil for your
Drain interval
The owner's manual for your vehicle should recommend a certain grade and performance
specification of oil to be used under normal driving conditions as well as the number of miles
you can drive before changing your oil (maximum drain interval). However, if you drive under
severe conditions—in extreme temperatures, in stop-and-go traffic, take frequent short trips or
do a lot of towing and hauling—the extra strain on your engine may necessitate more frequent
The average driver doesn't realize it, but the vast majority of driving falls into the latter
category, which is why most mechanics will change oil using the shorter drain interval
recommended by the manufacturer for use in more severe driving conditions.
The oil grade represents the oil's resistance to flow. The thicker (higher viscosity) the oil, the
slower it will flow. The grade is listed on the bottle as an SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers)
value (SAE 5W-30, SAE 10W-30, etc.). For multi-grade viscosity oils, these numbers represent
the cold-temperature viscosity symbolized by the letter "W" for winter. In the case of the
traditional 10W-30, the "10" represents decent flow through the engine in cold temps while the
"30" shows good protection at higher temps. SAE 5W-30 would be an upgrade as it has less
viscosity (or faster flow) in the cold while still providing protection under hotter conditions.
Most vehicles manufactured after 2005 recommend 5W-20 and 5W-30 grades along with 0W20. Always consult your vehicle's owner's manual for the proper grade.
Performance specifications
The American Petroleum Institute (API) defines oil specifications for gasoline and dieselpowered vehicles. To communicate the level of performance, the API utilizes a service symbol,
commonly known as the "API donut."
The API donut contains three parts (see image on the left, below):
The top part of the donut contains the performance level of the oil.
The center of the donut defines the viscosity grade.
The bottom of the donut states if the oil is resource- or energy-conserving.
The latest API category for gasoline engines is API SN. An oil must meet both the current API SN
engine protection standard as well as the fuel economy/emission system protection of ILSAC
GF-5 to display the API certification mark. This mark is commonly known as the "API starburst"
(see image on the right, above).
Other performance specifications
In some cases, information beyond API credentials can be important in choosing the right oil.
This includes manufacturer specifications for BMW, Mercedes Benz, VW and other European
dexos1В® (General Motors specification)
The dexos specification was designed by General Motors (GM) to complement the
requirements of GM engine technology. The dexos1 specification is designed for use in gasoline
engines and has replaced GM-LLA-025, GM6094M and GM4718M. Engine oil brands that have
been approved or licensed by GM bear the dexos1 logo on the bottle.
Shop our full selection of oil and oil filters at your local Walmart store or at
Important Wal-Mart Disclaimer: Proper service and repair procedures are vital to the safe, reliable operation of all
motor vehicles as well as the personal safety of those performing the repairs and those riding in the motor vehicles.
Standard safety procedures and precautions (including use of safety goggles and other safety equipment, proper
tools and equipment) should be followed at all times to limit the possibility of personal injury or improper service which
could damage the vehicle or compromise its safety. Personal injury could result from the failure to take adequate
safety precautions when repairing or maintaining your vehicle. Although this material has been prepared with the
intent to provide reliable information, no warranty or representation (express or implied), including the warranties of
merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither is any
liability assumed for loss or damage of any kind resulting from reliance on this material and Wal-Mart shall not be
liable for any loss or damage of any kind resulting from reliance on this material. Users employ the information
contained in this material at their own risk. This material is provided only as a helpful guide and does not replace the
information and instructions contained in the motor vehicle’s owner’s manual and product manufacturer’s
recommendations. Users are cautioned to consult the motor vehicle’s owner’s manual and product manufacturer’s
recommendations for additional information and instructions. Failure to follow the motor vehicle’s owner’s manual and
the product manufacturer’s recommendations could result in damage to your vehicle or personal injury.
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