Motor oil is a vital engine component designed to lubricate the engine to reduce friction between the moving parts and to keep the engine working at its optimum temperature. All cars use engine oil besides EVs and some of them use additional componentry such as oil coolants to further reduce heat.
It is essential that you replace the engine oil according to your manufacturer’s recommendations if you want to keep your engine working at its best. Engine oil is also designed to clean the insides of your engine by removing all the contaminants and dirt deposits from within.
If you own a car with a 4-cylinder engine, you are likely going to need around 5 quarts of oil to fill up the tank completely. A 6-cylinder engine uses around 6 quarts while an 8-cylinder engine generally uses up to 8 quarts of oil. These might vary slightly also depending on the engine displacement and capacity.
If you want to precisely find out how much oil your engine needs, be sure to consult yourself with the owner’s manual or ask your dealer about it. There are different types of oils out there, so be sure to choose the right one for your car.
Choosing the right type of oil for your car
There are many factors you need to consider if you want to change the oil yourself. The first one is the right type of oil for your car. Conventional oil is mostly associated with older vehicles even though it can be used for newer cars as well, but it’s better to avoid that because you would have to change the oil more frequently.
Synthetic oil is the most popular type of oil out there because it offers special synthetic properties which ensure deep engine cleaning and they don’t need replacing all that often. Synthetic oils are equipped with all sorts of additives that offer more consistent flow both in warm and cold weather.
There are also many other engine oil options depending on specific types of vehicles such as high-mileage cars or heavy commercial cars. Be that as it may, you need to opt for the type of oil that best suits your car’s needs, and the owner’s manual is the place where you will find such information.
Engine oil viscosity – Warm weather vs cold weather
Oil viscosity refers to how easily engine oil flows depending on the outside temperature. Thin or low viscosity oils are made for winter driving because they flow way easier during winter which means that oil viscosity levels such as these are perfect for colder climates.
On the other hand, thick or high-viscosity motor oil blends are primarily used for better high-temperature working environments because they are better at maintaining thickness and oil pressure. Thin oils are far better than thick oils during winter because they turn the engine a lot easier which also means less energy is being wasted in the process.
Oil viscosity is usually measured with the “XW-XX” oil viscosity classification. As such, oil blends such as 0W or 5W are mostly used for winter while oil blends such as 15W or 20W are primarily used for summer driving.
DIY oil change – Step by step guide
Up until this point, you should be well aware of which type of oil your car takes and how much of it. This means that now should have all the information necessary to perform an oil change yourself. The first thing you need to do is jack the car up safely in order to have enough space to work under the car comfortably.
Find the dedicated oil drain plugs located under the engine and drain the old oil out completely. For this purpose, you should also find a bucket of some sort because 5-8 quarts of oil is a lot of fluid. Be sure to dispose of old oil at designated motor oil disposal sites for environmental reasons.
While changing engine oil, you should also take this opportunity to replace oil filters as well. After you’ve replaced the filter, put the drain plugs back in place and prepare to fill the oil tank up. After this, you first need to check the oil level with the trusted dipstick method and also pay close attention to any potential leaks.
How much does it cost to replace motor oil?
It depends on the type of oil you are using and the size and type of your engine. Larger displacement engines use more motor oil, and diesel engines use more engine oil compared to gas engines. However, if you use conventional oil, you are looking at a $35-$75 bill on average.
On the other hand, if you are using synthetic blends, a full replacement costs anywhere between $70 and $150. Some higher-end cars are even more expensive than that. For a spot of context, it costs $21k to change the oil in your Bugatti Veyron hypercar.
Why EVs don’t need oil?
Electric vehicles don’t need oil because the electric engine has fewer moving parts when compared to a gas or diesel engine. Because an EV derives its power from a high-voltage battery, there is no need for pistons and cylinders which are the main reason why normal engines use oil.
However, EVs do need regular fluid checks and replacements besides oil. Hybrid cars are equipped with gas engines and electric engines which means that they also need oil replacements in the same way a regular car does.
What happens if you run your car on a low oil level?
If you don’t replace or fill up your motor oil levels often, you are likely going to destroy your engine completely. The first problem you will encounter is the increased level of engine wear and tear because the friction between moving parts is far greater.
Furthermore, because the friction is greater your engine will also suffer from higher operating temperatures which might even set the engine on fire. Finally, if your engine oil levels are low, your engine might lock itself completely if too much debris and dirt forms inside the engine.