Why Motor Oil Matters

By on September 12, 2013

Api oil ratings

Most vehicle owners know surprisingly little about motor oil, a fact which is moderately surprising, given the prevalence of motor oil in our day to day lives. All internal combustion engines use motor oil, including cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, go karts, snowmobiles, boats, tractors, construction equipment, aircrafts, and generators. It’s hardly surprising that Americans are major consumers of oil, producing about 1.3 billion gallons of used oil every year.

Though most vehicle owners know that motor oil is important and that they should get an oil change every once in a while, most are quite unfamiliar with the standards associated with motor oil and the finer points of motor oil type.

Motor Oil Standards

Contrary to what many believe, a motor oil’s quality is incredibly important for proper functioning of a vehicle. That’s why the American Petroleum Institute, API, has set standards helping consumers to identify the best motor oils on the shelf. Api standards are used to certify motor oils as high quality. The best motor oils have passed API inspection and are marked with the API service symbol which resembles a donut and the certification mark which resembles a starburst. The best motor oils can be made from virgin oil or re refined oil, both of which are completely safe to use in a vehicle.

Motor Oil Types

It’s important for vehicle owners to know the best motor oils for their particular vehicles. Owners manuals will give recommendations, though most operators don’t know what the abbreviations mean. The number refers to SAE viscosity gradings and range from zero to 60 with 0 representing the lowest viscosity. Some viscosity gradings are suffixed with the letter “W” for “winter,” indicating their cold start viscosity. Many mistakenly think that the “W” stands for weight.

Another option for motor oil is re refined oil which has been re processed after prior use. The benefits to the environment are fairly obvious. Re refined oil not only lessens the need for drilling, but eliminates improper dumping of oil which can form scum on water that stops sunlight and oxygen from entering the water, thereby killing fish, frogs, plants, and other life forms.

The best motor oils should always be sought by vehicle owners, not only to extend the lives of their vehicles but to protect the environment. Educate yourself and be sure to purchase only licensed motor oil that will do the best for your engine. Learn more about this topic here.

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15 Comments

  1. Scarlett Kelly

    November 15, 2013 at 4:21 am

    I kind of thought all motor oil was the same. My bad. Here’s hoping I haven’t done too much damage…

  2. Allan Walsh

    May 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    How can you tell the difference between virgin and re refined motor oil?

  3. Leslie Sanchez

    June 26, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    How can you tell the difference between virgin and re refined motor oil?

  4. Larry Herrera

    August 25, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    How can you tell the difference between virgin and re refined motor oil?

  5. Gene Coleman

    September 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    How can you tell the difference between virgin and re refined motor oil?

  6. Ariana Wage

    October 24, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    How can you tell the difference between virgin and re refined motor oil?

  7. Gabriella Diaz

    November 23, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    How can you tell the difference between virgin and re refined motor oil?

  8. Samantha Morris

    December 23, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    How can you tell the difference between virgin and re refined motor oil?

  9. Elizabeth Bowen

    January 22, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    How can you tell the difference between virgin and re refined motor oil?

  10. Randall Green

    February 21, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    How can you tell the difference between virgin and re refined motor oil?

  11. Jeremy Fletcher

    March 23, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    How can you tell the difference between virgin and re refined motor oil?

  12. Scarlett Thornton

    April 22, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    How can you tell the difference between virgin and re refined motor oil?

  13. Ernest Reyes

    May 22, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    How can you tell the difference between virgin and re refined motor oil?

  14. Claude Romero

    June 21, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    How can you tell the difference between virgin and re refined motor oil?

  15. Marc Mitchell

    July 21, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    How can you tell the difference between virgin and re refined motor oil?

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