What Do Motor Oil Viscosity Ratings Mean?

When you hear viscosity used to refer to motor oil, it just means the thickness of that liquid. The top considerations in choosing the correct oil are your manufacturer’s guidelines and temperature. If oil is too thin, it won’t can’t lubricate the engine’s parts well enough. Oil that’s too thick, or viscous, will overwork it.

The markings on a multi-grade bottle of oil indicate the viscosity it reaches in both cold and hot temperature conditions. The 10 in a 10W30 weight, for example, means that’s the highest viscosity, or thickest, your oil will reach in either cold weather or when the engine is cold. This number should be low to accommodate a more fluid movement through the engine at a quicker rate. The W means winter. The second number, 30 in this instance, means the viscosity, or thickness, of the oil at 212 degrees. Thicker oil, or higher viscosity, performs better under warmer conditions.

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Categories: Service