If you’re getting your oil changed, or your changing it yourself, you’ll likely come across many of options. From premium to synthetic oil, as well as 10W-30 or 20W-50, you’re going to have some decisions you need to make. If you’re not the most car-savvy person, you may feel a little lost when you’re standing in the oil isle at the department store.

Conventional Oil


Image via Flickr by Clean Wal-Mart

Image via Flickr by Clean Wal-Mart

Most standard cars come with conventional oil. In addition, many small commercial vehicles only need a conventional oil. This oil comes in a variety of viscosities¬†ensuring that there are options for nearly every vehicle on the road. When you get your oil changed by professionals, you will have the option of conventional or synthetic oil. In addition, the majority of the oil options you find at the store are conventional. These oils work well to lubricate most vehicles and keep them running, whether it’s warm or cold.

Synthetic Blend Oil

Synthetic blend oil is generally more expensive than the conventional oils. This oil combines natural oil and created, synthetic oil. While this oil can be used in most engines, it has been created to use on vehicles that will be towing heavy loads and those that are working in high temperatures. Synthetic blend oils are popular with those who drive bigger vehicles, such as trucks and SUVs, because of the better towing capacity. Most vehicles can use a synthetic blend without any problem, but it’s important to keep in mind that it is more expensive, and many feel that it isn’t worth the extra price.

Full Synthetic Oil

The most expensive option is full synthetic oil. This is created oil that can stand much higher extremes in temperature. Whether you’re running in extremely cold weather or high temperatures, synthetic oil is going to work in the largest range. In addition, when using synthetic oil, you can go a little longer without an oil change. However, make sure to check your owner’s manual for the car. Not all vehicles are made to use synthetic oil, and while it’s a great option for high-tech engines, it may not be a good option for your vehicle.


The viscosity of the oil is the resistance to flow. This is going to help you decide what specific oil is best for your car. Again, check the owner’s manual, as it will likely have suggestions on the oil viscosity. The first number in a viscosity rating is its resistance at 0*F, while the second is at 212*F. So basically put, 10W-30 has a resistance of 10 in the winter and a 30 viscosity in the summer. It’s important to make sure that your oil stays thick enough to do its job, without clogging up the engine.

Picking out the right oil is an important job. One of the best resources you have is your owner’s manual. Every car is different, so what works in one car may not work well in another. Make sure you’re getting the right oil to keep your car going.