Updated October 17th, 2016

Not all oil engine oil is the same. Of course, no matter what type of vehicle you have, it needs oil for the engine to function. Here at Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto we recommend reviewing your owner's manual for the specific engine oil your vehicle takes. But, for a quick review - let's take a look at the different types of oil available on the market, each of which has a specific rating (or grade) to let you know what type of engines the oil is most compatible with. You may have heard terms such as 5W-30 or 10W-40 before; these codes represent the engine oil grade, and they are commonly used by auto repair shops and car manufacturers to differentiate between the different types of oil that are used for varying engine types.




Viscosity: The Determinant for Engine Oil Grades

Viscosity is a fancy word that basically means how fast a certain type of oil will flow through an engine system. Oil that has a thicker viscosity will not be as useful of a lubricant as oil that has a thinner viscosity. Viscosity is measured by a specialized tool known as a viscometer, and these measurements are then applied to a ratings system to determine engine oil grades. From these grades, mechanics and vehicle owners can then determine what will be the most appropriate oil to use for their particular engine.

Grades of Oil: A Quick Guide

There are three basic categories of engine oil: Fully synthetic, semi-synthetic and mineral. Within each category there are different oil grades to consider. Here's a quick-and-dirty guide to the different grades of engine oil that are on the market today:

* Fully Synthetic: This includes the 0W-30, 0W-40 and 5W-40 grades. This oil grade offers great fuel economy, enhances engine power and performance, and protects the engine from deposit build-ups and wear.

* Semi-Synthetic: This includes the 5W-30, 10W-40 and 15W-40 grades. This oil grade offers superior engine protection, less oil change intervals (i.e., you won't need to change the oil as often), and reduced engine wear.

* Mineral: This is what we would call "old school" oil, and includes the non-synthetic versions of the 10W-40 and 15W-40 grades. It provides a basic level of protection for a wide range of engines, but the only drawback is that you will need to change the oil more often if your vehicle requires this grade of oil.

Which Grade of Engine Oil Should You Use?

The easiest way to determine which grade of oil you should use for your vehicle is by looking in the owner's manual to see which engine oil grade your manufacturer recommends. Be sure to use only what the manufacturer suggests, rather than making any approximate substitutes. By "sticking to the script", you can be assured that your engine will be able to perform at optimal levels, and be protected from premature wear and tear. The technicians at your local Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto Purcellville location will be sure to provide your engine with the recommended grade of oil for your vehicle, so that you can hit the road with confidence.

For a convenient, quick, and professionally serviced oil change in Purcellville we have you and your family covered. Visit our website at to learn about our 8 locations throughout the Northern Virginia area to serve you.

Always check your owner’s manual for your vehicle model’s specific instructions before attempting any type of repair.