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What Type of Oil Does My Car Need? A Guide

Based on 8 Reviews
Updated November 28, 2022

If you are new to the world of changing the oil in your car, you may have a few questions, such as “what type of oil does my car need?” or “How do I change the oil in my car?”

Here’s a guide to the type of oil you should be using, changing the oil, and checking its levels in your car. 

Answering “What Type of Oil Does My Car Need?”

First and foremost, what type of oil should you be using? and how much oil does my car need 

The initial thing to consider is what your car’s owner’s manual states the recommended oil weight is. It may be something like 10W-30, which is standard, or something more unusual. 

Once you know what that is, choose an oil with that recommended weight. When considering brands, make sure that you choose one with the symbol that looks like a starburst. It indicates that the particular brand has been tested by the American Petroleum Institute (API). 

API has a service standard that will show up on the oil bottle as SL. It refers to an array of engine and laboratory tests, which includes the series for control of deposits of higher temperatures. 

Lastly, check the owner’s manual for the viscosity that is appropriate for the temperatures your vehicle normally operates in. The viscosity is essentially the thickness of the oil. 

If you were pondering “what type of oil does my car need?” these are the basics of what you need to know. Depending on your car, there may be a variety of other aspects to consider as well. Your owner’s manual and a local mechanic will be able to ensure that you are choosing the perfect oil for your specific car. 

How to Change the Oil 

While it may be tempting just to pay someone to change your oil, it is an important task to know how to do. Here’s what you will need and how to do it. 

Tools Required

You will need: 

  • Latex gloves
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Wrench for removing the drain plug
  • Oil drain pan
  • Funnel
  • Depending on the ground clearance, a jack and jack stands/ramps

Steps to Changing the Oil

Here are the basic steps to changing your oil. 

First, prepare your vehicle. The engine and oil should be warm when you start, but not hot. Also, if your car needs to be raised up, do it now. After that, make sure you have located the oil filter and drain plug. 

Then, drain the oil out of the car. Place the drain pan under the drain plug to ensure that none spills onto the ground. While this is happening, inspect and clean the drain plug, and then tighten it. 

After that, remove the oil filter and replace it with a new one. 

Then, add the new oil. Add about one quart less than the recommended amount. To check the oil level once this is done, simply check the oil level to ensure that it’s correct. 

What Happens if You Put Too Much Oil in the Car? 

Too much oil in your car could potentially cause engine damage, so it’s important to check the level during this process. Potential issues include:

  • Bend rods in the engine
  • Engine failure
  • Excess engine wear
  • Spark plug fouling

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What to Do if Excessive Engine Damage Occurs

If an excessive amount of oil is added to the car and causes permanent engine damage, what should you do? It really depends on how serious it is. You may have to replace the entire engine, or simply have certain parts replaced or fixed.

For a car that is going to cost more than it’s worth to fix, you may want to consider selling it as a junk car. Doing this will provide you with some cash for your next vehicle. 

If you are looking for a reputable place to receive the top dollar for junk cars, look no further than US Junk Cars!

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