Types and grades of oil

We should all try to check the oil level on the dipstick every couple of weeks and before any long journey. If you would prefer one of us to do it, just pop in and we’ll check for free.

If you check yourself and need to top-up then you’ll need to make sure you use oil of the right grade and specification.

Engine oils are graded according to their viscosity – basically how thick or thin they are. Viscosity changes with temperature.

Modern oils are thinner (have a lower viscosity). This helps the engine turn over more easily, and ensures that the oil can circulate quickly around the engine soon after start up. Thinner oil helps fuel consumption too.

In the UK oil operating temperatures range from a cold start in winter to normal driving conditions in (our blazing?!) summers. To deal with this, engine oils are ‘multi-grade’ – additives known as viscosity improvers are used to give them one viscosity when cold and another when hot.

Both grades are marked clearly on the oil container, eg 5W–30. The first number is the winter or cold temperature grade, and the second the high temperature grade.

Check the car handbook for details of the grade(s) of oil that can be used.

If your vehicle is diesel and newer than 2007, it may be fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF). FOR THESE ENGINES IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT LOW ASH OIL IS USED.

Or just ask us – we keep all grades of oil in stock.

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