The Relationship Between Oil Choices and Engine Temperatures

Choosing the right oil for your engine is of utmost importance to ensure your engine has a long life and good performance. Depending on the type of engine you have and its working conditions, you’ll have to pick out the right oil from many different products with varying oil weight ratings.

When you’re shopping for oil you’ll see many different oil weight options, such as SAE50, 10W-30, 0W-20, and more. You’ll also see engine oils that say they’re for high mileage, fuel economy, and maximum performance.

Understanding how the oil relates to engine temperatures and other operation factors can help you choose the best oil for your engine and give you better insight into how the mechanics of your engine work.

Oil Weight and Temperature

The numbers previously mentioned, such as 10W-30, represent the oil weight for a particular engine oil. Different engines require different oil weight ratings to function properly.

There can be one or two numbers in an oil weight rating. These numbers describe the viscosity of the oil at varying temperatures. For instance, 10W has a rating of 10 for winter conditions, when the oil is cold. Once the oil warms up with the engine, the rating will be 30, which is the oil weight for when the oil is hot.

Usually, the cold oil weight is measured for temperatures between -40°F to 14°F. The normal oil weight rating is measured at temperatures above 212°F.

There’s a good reason why there needs to be two different levels of viscosity in the oil for cold and warm engines. Whenever you start your engine, the oil needs to quickly flow through all the mechanical parts to prevent damage to them. If the oil did not have additives that allow it to be less viscous when cold, it would not travel through the engine fast enough to accomplish this task.

On the other hand, when the engine is already warm, having a thin oil could result in less lubrication than a thicker oil, causing additional wear on the engine.

Sometimes the effect of improper engine oil can be less pronounced, like if your engine requires 5W-30 but you use 10W-30. Using 10W instead of 5W will cause your engine to have a harder time starting in cold conditions, but once the engine reaches its normal operating temperature that won’t matter at all. It’s still better to use the proper oil, however. Saving a few dollars isn’t worth the risk to your engine, regardless of how many cold starts you think you’ll have.

Picking the Correct Oil for Your Engine

You should review the documentation from your engine’s manufacturer when shopping for engine oil. The correct oil for your engine might change depending on your use case and the temperatures you operate the engine at.

When you want high-performance oil that you can trust to give your engine the best lubrication, AMSOIL is always here. Contact us today, and we’ll explain your oil options in full detail to ensure that you get the very best for your engine.