Most people who drive a vehicle know that an engine needs oil to operate smoothly. Oil lubricates the various surfaces and components of the engine’s system to help it run as efficiently as possible. Not everyone, however, knows that the type of oil running through your engine can make a difference. Different viscosities, or thickness, are better for certain vehicles or driving conditions, affecting every part of the engine’s system. The various viscosities of oil also match best with particular kinds of oil filters. Here are some general guidelines for matching the appropriate oil filter with the right oil viscosity:
Choose the best oil viscosity for your vehicle first, then make a decision about the filter. Refer to your car or truck’s owner’s manual for the optimal thickness of oil for your engine system before anything else because the type of oil you use is more important than the filter itself. Any oil filter will work for a while; it just may wear more quickly with different oil viscosities.
With thinner oil viscosity, you can use a lower grade oil filter. Since the oil is relatively thin, you don’t have to worry about it having difficulty passing through the filter medium; although there is really no harm in having a higher grade filter, either. Choose a standard grade with either a paper-pleated or synthetic filter medium. In other words, virtually anything goes in the situation, so you might as well opt for a cheaper route.
With thicker oil viscosity, especially when running your vehicle in cold temperatures, you should choose a better grade oil filter to withstand the increased filtering demands. That’s because the oil doesn’t pass through the oil filter as easily and wears it out more quickly. In this case, a high-performance filter with a stronger synthetic medium (as opposed to folded paper) is the better choice.
Some vehicles are in a class of their own, such as race cars. If you’re the proud owner of a McLaren 650 or Lamborghini Aventador, for instance, your vehicle has very particular needs when it comes to the right oil viscosity and oil filter to perform at high levels. Such cars usually require a lower viscosity, or thinner, oil and specialized race filters.
So, the lower the oil viscosity, the lower the rating of the oil filter is advised, and vice versa. Consult your car or truck’s owner’s manual for the recommended viscosity, then choose the right oil filter for the job. If there is any doubt on which is the best oil viscosity or oil filter for your vehicle, our highly qualified mechanics will carefully consider the make and model of your vehicle as well as any driving conditions or environments that may have an effect before recommending the right oil viscosity and filter for your situation. For your convenience, our mechanics can change out your oil to the best type and outfit your system with the most appropriate oil filter as well.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Does the Viscosity of Your Oil Affect the Filter You Should Use? and was authored by Elan McAfee.