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Oil Types: Which One Should You Use In Cooler Weather?

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Seasons change and, depending on where you live, so might the oil types your car should use. When the weather turns cold, thicker oil has a harder time flowing through your vehicle’s engine and protecting all the critical parts with lubrication.

How can you tell which oil types are thicker, and which are better for your car in colder weather? That’s where those numbers on the oil bottles like 10W-40 come in. The “W” in that number stands for “Winter”, and the number before it (the “10”, in this case) is the viscosity or thickness. When the cold weather comes, you want a lower number, meaning thinner oil, which will smoothly coat the insides of your engine even in the most frigid weather. The second number is the high-temperature viscosity rating, measuring how well the oil protects you engine in those conditions. So, a 5W-30 or 0-W30 will give better protection in winter weather than, say, a 10W-40 or a 20W-50, while still providing solid high-temperature protection.

You should also consider asking for a synthetic or synthetic blend motor oil. Both offer better protection in extreme temperatures (both high and low) than conventional motor oil. Pennzoil has a helpful web page about the differences between oil types. And Mr. Clean Car Wash offers the full line of Pennzoil motor oil types—Conventional, High Mileage, Synthetic Blend, Synthetic and Ultra Synthetic. As always, an oil change is more than just an oil change at Mr. Clean Car Wash. You also get a new oil filter, a 15-point inspection and a free full-service pro car wash. And that’s all included in the price of your oil change. Here’s a link to the details. And you can make your visit to Mr. Clean Car Wash even more economical with these special offers.

Save a Trip to the Oil Change Place – How to Check Your Oil Yourself

Friday, October 30th, 2015

Checking a car’s oil regularly is important step towards maintain a car’s engine. However, for many, heading under the hood can be a bit nerve racking. With so many covers, reservoirs and do-hickeys, those with a less-than-mechanical ability tend to quickly shut the hood and head to the local oil change place.

Here’s a quick guide to checking the oil that breaks down when it’s time to get it changed.

Under the Hood

Car engines have what’s called an oil dipstick. Oil dipsticks are long rods that reach down into the bottom of the oil pan where oil is stored. The top of this stick is located in the front of the engine and has a brightly colored loop that can be used to pull it out. Once out, the other end will have a set of holes or some other system of markings that represent the minimum and maximum oil levels for the engine. If you can’t find the dipstick for your specific vehicle, check the owner’s manual for its location as some vehicles have it located in other spots.


Before You Get Going

When working with an engine, like any machine, it’s important to be aware of some safety measures and work in the right environment to avoid damaging it or injuring yourself. First, make sure that your engine is off and that the radiator fan or other externally moving components are not running. Also, the oil inside a running engine can reach temperatures of 200+ degrees so give the engine an hour to cool down before checking your oil. Finally, since you’re checking the oil level in the bottom of the engine, be sure to park your vehicle on a flat level surface where the oil level will be consistent throughout.

What’s That Sticker?

Often times, the last oil change place you took your vehicle to placed a sticker in the upper left corner of your windshield. This sticker indicates the date and mileage you will be due for your next oil change. While different oil manufacturers and shops will vary in their opinion on how often to change the oil, the sticker on the windshield will most likely range between 3000-5000 miles or 3-5 months. If you’re ever unsure about your oil level or when to have it changed, you can always refer to the sticker for a quick reference.

Ready, Set, Check

Now that you’re ready to check your oil, have a shop towel ready before pulling the dipstick out to check the oil. Pull the stick out and wipe it clean before reinserting it. This will help ensure an accurate reading. The stick needs to be wiped off to remove excess oil that may have splashed up on the stick while the engine was running. Remove the dipstick again and observe the oil level in comparison to the markings on it. Be sure that the level is correct and also that the oil is clean. Clean oil will have a golden brown color while oil that needs to be replaced will be dark or have debris in it.


What’s Next?

When you observe the oil you may notice that the color and cleanliness look good but the level is a little low. If this is the case, add some oil but be sure to use the same viscosity that was already in the engine. Not sure which oil to use? It may be better to be safe than sorry. Call the oil change place that last did the oil change and ask them what they put in. If the motor oil is dirty or very low, it may be time for a trip to Mr. Clean Car Wash for an oil change. Also, if you’ve gone past the amount of time allotted on your car’s oil change sticker, it may be time for a change.

Pennzoil Motor Oil: The Right Oil Matters

Saturday, October 24th, 2015

Engine oil has a lot of influence on the performance and lifespan of a vehicle’s engine. Aiming for higher performance? Increased fuel mileage? Improved reliability? Pennzoil offers motor oil that best fits all these needs. Today, oil is doing more than simply lubricating moving parts. That said—it’s important to select the right type of oil. Here’s a quick guide:

Conventional or Synthetic Oil?

Today’s oils are divided into two main categories: 1. Conventional oil which is made from crude oil that’s refined and 2. Synthetic oil which is made using expensive chemical processes. What’s the difference? Conventional oil is filtered and refined to separate the lubricating properties from those that are not useful. Conventional oil offers basic lubrication. Synthetic oils on the other hand, cost more but have more uniform molecules and better properties. Many new engines require syntehtic oil that allows them to run cleaner with improved gas mileage. Synthetic oil is designed for low or high operating temperatures, high mileage, chemical protection from oxidization and even transferring heat from the engine.

What Weight?

When it comes to oil’s viscosity, oil is described by two main values. The first is a number followed by a “W”. The “W” stands for winter and represents the low temperature viscosity of the oil. When this first number is lower than the second, the oil will stay thinner at lower temperatures. The second number is the high temperature viscosity. The higher the second number, the thicker the oil will remain under high temperatures. When choosing the correct viscosity for the vehicle, refer to its owner’s manual.

Extra Additives

These days, performance additives are often added to motor oil to help it do a lot more work. Detergents are added to keep the engine clean and eliminate corrosive acids that can build up when fuel is combusted. There are also features that carry away sludge and debris so that the oil lines in the engine flow freely. Finally, there are oils with additives that improve lubrication and form a film over moving parts to help reduce drag and friction. These oils help condition worn seals to prevent leaks. Selecting the right oil is all about understanding what goes into the oil. While some oils are simple and less expensive, others have ingredients that can help keep older engines running smoothly or protect new ones.

For more information on Pennzoil oil and oil changes, see Mr. Clean Car Wash & Oil Change Plus and check the Promotions page for oil change savings. Image courtesy of

Oil Change No No’s – The Dangers of Waiting Too Long Between Changes

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Without a doubt, the quality of your vehicle’s motor oil is one of the most important elements in keeping your car running reliably. While this may be, it is often times one of the most overlooked factors in car maintenance and something that people let go longer than they should. Letting your oil change stretch out or skipping over them entirely can damage the engines internal components and shorten its lifespan. Thinking of going past that sticker in the top corner of your windshield? Here’s a quick look at what can happen if you do.

Slip And Slide
At its most basic purpose, motor oil lubricates the moving parts of your engine. Without it, metal-on-metal parts would generate so much heat and friction that they would weld themselves together and seize the engine. According to Pennzoil, today’s motor oil is designed with special additives that coat moving parts and helps reduce drag, which helps your engine operate efficiently and quietly.

Keep It Clean
Along with providing lubrication for your engine’s components, motor oils today are designed to prevent sludge build up and keep dirt and debris from collecting on the inside of your engine and causing blockages and damage. Your engine’s oil system has a filter that collects the dirt from the oil and extends its lifespan but in time, the filter will fill up and clog causing the oil to bypass it. The dirty oil and the debris within can be abrasive and damage parts more than it protects them.

Get Dirty
When it comes to corrosion, think of your engine like the Tin Man in the Wizard Of Oz. Motor oil lubricates and cleans your engine but it also protects it from corrosion and oxidization which can eventually cause damage to its moving parts. A regularly scheduled oil change ensures that the oil in your engine keeps your engine from building up corrosion, which could damage it.

Hot Stuff
Your engine’s oil also acts as part of its cooling system in a sense. By drawing heat away from extra hot areas such as pistons and cylinder heads, the oil spread the heat more evenly throughout the entire engine and allows the coolant to draw it away more efficiently. Changing your oil regularly ensures that the oil is stable enough to consistently move heat away from specific areas and keep them from warping or breaking down entirely.

Changing your vehicle’s oil regularly may not be the first thing on your mind but it’s crucial to keeping the engine running in top form. The oil within helps lubricate moving parts, cleans dirt and debris, prevents corrosion and helps transfer heat away from vital areas of the engine. For more information on oil changes, see your local Mr. Clean Car Wash & Oil Change Plus and check the Promotions page for savings on your next oil change.

Image courtesy of Flickr