Should you buy cheap motor oil?

Do you know how much you regularly spend on oil changes? An oil change is the most basic maintenance item for your car. The conventional rule used to be getting an oil change every 3,000 miles, but many newer cars have different standards. You should always consult your car manual for your maintenance schedule. At the very least, every few months, your vehicle will need an oil change. That is going to cost you a few bucks, and the cost can add up over time.

Newer cars are designed to run more efficiently and for longer than ever before. The average vehicle is designed to last for nearly 200,000 miles, with proper maintenance. If you want your car to last you should expect to spend some money each year maintaining it. Costs vary based on the brand of car you may have. Here’s a great chart from the consumer report to help you get a sense of the yearly cost of car maintenance for different brands.

The big choice you must make when you take your car for an oil change is to use conventional or synthetic oil. Conventional oil is cheaper, averaging around $70 for an oil change. Synthetic oil is a little more expensive. The price difference between conventional and synthetic oil is about $30. If your only concern is saving money, a traditional oil change makes sense. But this choice may end up costing you more in the long run.

According to AAA, synthetic oil is better for your engine. In a 2017 study, synthetic oil outperformed conventional oil by 47%. It is better at protecting your car engine from extreme temperatures, preventing deposit buildups, reducing oil slugging, and helps protect your engine when towing heavy loads. It’s also less likely to break down over time and can help prolong the life of your engine.

The oil you choose each time you get an oil change is significant. Motor oil is the lubricant that keeps your engine running well. If you decide to use cheap oil that doesn’t protect your car engine, you’ll likely be forced to pay for more repairs over time. Mechanics see this time and time again.

How do you choose the right oil for your car? First, check your car manual. It will list the oil weight that is best for your engine. This standard is the benchmark for where you start choosing your oils. Make sure the oil you choose is from a reputable brand by looking for the API (American Petroleum Institute) starburst symbol. You’ll also want to find the service standard, which is SL. This marker indicates the oil has passed the latest standardized API testing.

Next, you have to focus on the viscosity level that is best for your engine and how you drive. Motor oil thins in the heat and thickens in the cold. Consider the conditions you drive your vehicle in and how you drive when considering viscosity. You can find the viscosity number in the API service donut label, which will indicate if the oil has passed the energy-conserving test.

Once you’ve identified the type of oil that would be best for your engine, you still have a lot of choices. The motor oil market is full of products for specific vehicle engines and conditions.

There are many different types of motor oil, including:

 Premium conventional oil is used in many new car engines. It is suitable for up to 4000 miles before a change is needed.
 Full synthetic oil is best for high tech engines. It tends to be more expensive but can offer better long-term protection.
 Synthetic blend oil is a mix of conventional and synthetic oil. It’s cheaper than full synthetic and can offer more protection than conventional oil.
 High Mileage oil is designed for cars with an older engine that may have deposit build-ups and engine issues from years of use. A high mileage oil helps improve engine efficiency and protect the engine from damage.

Choosing the right engine oil is a choice you must make again and again for your car. If you want the cheapest option every time you get an oil change, your engine will suffer the consequences. We recommend some of the best oils out there, Valvoline motor oils. They have a variety of formulas that are designed and tested for every engine condition. Valvoline has been a leader in motor oil technology for nearly 150 years. All Valvoline oils can meet the five required tests for API and ILSAC testing.

Our team will recommend the oils that are best for your engine. Many of our customers are business owners with multiples vehicles or quick lubes that service all types of vehicles. The cost of regular maintenance can add up. That’s why keeping your cars in the best shape is so essential. We help our clients order the supplies they need to keep their fleets in tip-top shape and to help them provide everyday drivers the premium products they need to keep their vehicles running. If you have any questions about which types of oils to use, give us a call. We’ll make sure that you have what you need.

Can you trust a grease compatibility chart?

Have you ever had the experience of working on a piece of machinery and getting some grease on your hands? It can be pretty hard to remove. Unlike oil and other lubricant products, grease lubricants are more of a long-term lubrication solution. They are meant to stay on equipment for longer, and they are intended to be challenging to come off.

Grease products are a type of lubricant, but they are more solid or semi-solid. They can be handy for lubricating machinery and components that need long term protection or cannot contain a liquid lubricant. Grease lubricants are usually smeared on equipment components until they wear off. The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) defines lubricating grease as “a solid to a semi-fluid product of dispersion of a thickening agent in a liquid lubricant.” Many different types of machinery require grease lubricants, from heavy equipment to bicycle chains. Grease lubricants can be an essential part of maintaining the mechanical process.

Grease lubricants are made up of three components: base oil, thickener, and additives. Together these products create a lubrication solution that can help engines and machinery perform better. These types of lubricants are easy to contain, can act as a sealant against spillage, are more resistant to contamination, and don’t need to be regularly monitored. Types of machinery that benefit from grease lubricants may:

 Run intermittently or remain in storage for periods. Grease lubricants stay in place to provide long term protection.
 Machinery that is difficult to lubricate consistently.
 Machinery used in extreme temperature conditions, at high or low speeds, or under pressure.
 Older mechanisms with worn-out parts.

Grease lubricants are a great way to protect your equipment. The problem occurs when it’s time to change the type of grease you are using or remove it altogether. It gets stuck in nooks and crannies in machinery and adding another grease product can cause a reaction. Unless you remove each component and clean it to remove the old grease, there will almost always be some mixture of the old grease and the new grease. You want to choose a chemically similar product to the previous one used. Manufacturers have created grease compatibility charts to help users choose the right types of products, especially when switching lubricants.

A significant issue of grease compatibility charts is that they are often unreliable or directly contradict one another. Most tables are based on thickener types and don’t take into account additives, base oils, and other factors. Grease charts rank compatibility as one of three classifications:

 Compatible: The mixture is chemically similar.
 Borderline: The combination is significantly different.
 Incompatible: The mixture is entirely different and may cause an adverse reaction.

These three risk factors are not enough to make an educated choice. They don’t consider many other factors that could affect performance. In a recent article from Lubes ‘n’ Greases magazine, it was reported that “a review of 21 grease compatibility charts found online show[ed] major inconsistencies.” The report concluded that “it was obvious that trusting these compatibility charts is unreasonable and potentially dangerous to grease-lubricated machinery.”

Compatibility testing must be completed to ensure the product is right for the equipment and the conditions. To determine if a grease mixture is compatible with your circumstances, it must meet a few characteristics:

 Maintain a comparable dropping point to the individual greases.
 Maintain mechanical stability with the range of the individual greases.
 Maintain a consistent constituency even after a temperature change.

Most charts contradict one another or even completely disagree with each other. When incompatible greases mix problems can occur. In a recent article in Machine Lubrication it is was found that “many mixtures will initially soften, often to the point of migration through seals or away from lubricated surfaces. Some mixtures will cause the thickener to release the oil, and the separated phase will run freely from the bearing, gear, or housing. Other mixtures will harden initially and cause component load issues and poor grease motility.” These are just a few of the concerns of a grease mixture. That’s why it’s so important to be careful.

Using the wrong products together can damage your equipment, leading to lost time and costly repairs. It can be complicated to remove grease lubricants once placed on machinery. That’s why you always need to check first before applying. We consider how our clients use their machinery and the conditions they use it in. We tailor our client’s orders to help keep their equipment running and in good order. If you have questions about grease lubricants, ask us. We can’t help you get the grease off your hands, or even off your equipment, but we can make sure that the new products you put on wouldn’t cause a reaction!