Source(s): 10 years of being a mechanic, with a college degree. The scale rates oil from a low of 5 to a high of 50. The second number, 40, means that the viscosity of this multi-grade oil at 100°C (212°F) operating temperature corresponds to the viscosity of a single-grade 40 oil at same temperature.

News Sources: Rymax Lubricants, Valvoline. The News Wheel is a digital auto magazine providing readers with a fresh perspective on the latest car news. The “W” in the middle of each number set refers to “Winter.” On the left side of the “W,” that number references the viscosity of oil under colder temperatures.

Viscosity of these oils is measured at 212 degrees Fahrenheit; higher numbers indicate more viscous oil. aus oder wählen Sie 'Einstellungen verwalten', um weitere Informationen zu erhalten und eine Auswahl zu treffen.

What do all those number and letters mean? The thing to keep in mind about motor oil is that its main job is to protect your engine from wear caused by the friction created when moving parts rub against each other at high speeds and high temperatures. -- Q U E S T I O N: Motor oil: SAE 30, 10W-40, 20W-50. Of course, you can save a lot of money by doing your own oil changes.

For example, a 5W-30 oil will have the viscosity of a 5-weight oil when temperatures are cold but work as well as a 30-weight oil when the engine heats up. Generally speaking, oil with sequentially higher designation codes supersede previous codes and are compatible with engines built to run with oil from earlier designations. So, those numbers on a quart of oil? However, if you live in an extremely cold climate or just want better fuel economy, you can use a “0W” viscosity grade while keeping the recommended operating temperature viscosity grade (the second number) the same (e.g. As a result, there can be more space between the parts of a 100,000-mile engine than in the engine of a brand new car. My suggestion: Refer to the owner’s manual that came with your car.

On that happens, the oil circulation in the engine will be very poor. In such liquids, for example, viscosity may decrease as temperature rises until a critical point is reached and then the liquid may suddenly become more viscous. The standard unit of measure for viscosity is either the centistoke or the centipoise. It takes fuel to make an engine run, but it also takes oil to keep it alive. But not all liquids behave in accordance with the dictates of Newtonian Viscosity. The first number describes viscosity at low temperatures. The letters Whatever the engine oil’s viscosity, the numbers are usually preceded by “SAE,” which stands for the Society of Automotive Engineers, the organization whose viscosity standards determine the numbers.

One is for lower temperature, and other is for higher. The local auto parts store typically carried a few varieties of a few major brands, and that was about it. There is a class of fluids for which viscosity does not change in a linear fashion in reaction to pressure or heat. That is, if I don’t get nervous and forget.

It will tell which grade to select. Viscosity refers to the thickness or thinness of the oil. The second letter indicates the level of cleansing protection. Have you ever stared blankly at a wall of motor oil in the store, wondering what all those numbers and letters mean? On the other hand, if the first number of the oil is higher, then it means you have thicker oil. For men, that is one of those dreadful moments designed to amplify whatever feelings of masculine inadequacy you may already be struggling with. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to, As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, Home | About Us | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Sitemap. In the old days, motor oils came in only the single grade variety. This is an amazingly complex subject, so for the uninitiated, we’re going to share some basic information to get you started with our engine oil 101. Molasses, which is thick and goopy, has a very high viscosity. If you’re not sure which grade of motor oil to use, consult your owner’s manual. Therefore, you’ll want to have thinner oil if you’re in a colder environment because the thin oil won’t turn too thick. They are ordered alphabetically from worst to best. I may be an Answer Geek, but I’m no gear head, and it’s always nice to increase my limited store of knowledge about cars and engines.

Personally, I wouldn’t get too creative about my choice of motor oil unless you know a lot more about cars than this Answer Geek does. These have a limited operating range and only perform well for specific applications and conditions. Upgrade Your Car The Right Way. From Fun to Fierce, These Are the Virtual Races to Conquer This Fall, Experts Reveal How Cooler Temps Can Help Boost Your Workout Results, 10 Things You Need To Know About Your Car Before Upgrading It, What Every Man Should Know About Fixing His Own Car. For our basic introduction to engine oil, just think of viscosity unscientifically as “thickness.” A few common viscosities include 0W-20, 5W-30, 10W-40, and 20W-50, though there are many more. Don’t ask me. Very cold temperatures If you often take short trips and live in a very cold climate, consider a lower number. Every oil container has a series of numbers on it with the letter “W” in the middle of them.

Then it won’t be able to lubricate the engine properly. Viscosity (a fluid's resistance to flow) is rated at 0° F (represented by the number preceding the "W" [for Winter]) and at 212° F (represented by the second number in the viscosity designation). In the above example, that would be “20.” A higher number will do better in hotter temperatures. You certainly don’t want to put thick oil in your engine if you’re in a cold environment because the oil will turn even thicker. Turn on desktop notifications for breaking stories about interest? Monograde gear oil with a "W" after its number (SAE 70W, SAE 80W) has a viscosity rating measured at 0 degrees Fahrenheit and is intended for low ambient temperatures. For example, 40-weight oil may be perfect for a long road trip in the summer when the engine is nice and hot but turn to sludge in the winter. The average American will either put 5W30 or 10W30 in their engine because the temperatures tend to be both warm and cold throughout the year. In recent years, engineers have discovered that adding certain carbon polymers to petroleum lubricants will turn them into non-Newtonian fluids that are much better at protecting a car engine under a wide range of conditions.

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) assigns a viscosity number, or weight, to oil based on its flow at 210 degrees F, which is roughly the standard operating temperature for most motors. Typically for Newtonian fluids, lower temperature or higher pressure raises viscosity in a straightforward way as friction increases between molecules. Sie können Ihre Einstellungen jederzeit ändern. So, 40 would be able to handle triple-digit heat better than 20. So, 0W will do better in the freezing cold than 10W. For example, older vehicles, 5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Car Maintenance. Have you ever stared blankly at a wall of motor oil in the store, wondering what all those numbers and letters mean? One of the tricks for making good motor oil is that its viscosity must be low enough so that it will flow when cool, but not so low that it fails to lubricate at high temperatures. The higher number, following the “w” refers to hot weather viscosity, or how fluid your oil is at hot temperatures.


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