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Keeping your engine lubricated and running smoothly, motor oil can mean the difference between peak performance or catastrophic failure (and a hefty service bill). While getting your oil changed at the regularly suggested intervals is basically the bare minimum, you can go a step beyond by making sure your vehicle is utilizing the right motor oil for the season. But are there different motor oils recommended for different times of the year? Read on to learn about what oil will perform best during winter, with your source for all things vehicle maintenance: Golden Mile Chrysler.

Synthetic oil is the smart choice for winter

While vehicle engines have always required motor oil, there have been a lot of scientific advances in all areas leading to the rise of synthetic oil—which is substantially more versatile than conventional motor oil. While all oil will be affected by ambient temperature (the temperature in your vehicle’s environment, before starting it), synthetic oil is able to better withstand a wider range of temperature and temperature changes. So while conventional oil will become thicker in the cold (think honey, compared to water), synthetic oil will retain its viscosity better during the colder months. So while there’s still a range of synthetic motor oils you can choose, simply choosing a synthetic oil will provide you with greater protection when the weather gets colder.

Motor oil weights, or ratings

If you’ve ever looked at a bottle of motor oil, you’ve no doubt seen a string of numbers and letters that describe the oil’s weight or rating. This is tested by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and will help you determine which oil is right for your vehicle. While these ratings can be confusing—do you want 5W-30, or 10W-40?—it’s really not too tough to understand. The weight, or viscosity of an oil, is based on the oil’s ability to flow at 210 degrees Fahrenheit (think the temperature most engines run at). Higher numbers indicate a more viscous oil, while lower numbers indicate a less viscous oil. Throw in a W, and you’ve got a multigrade oil that works particularly well in winter. Of course, most synthetic motor oils are rated 0W. This means that they’re able to handle a much wider range of ambient temperature, making them an excellent choice for winter—especially Canadian winters, where the weather can go through huge changes overnight.

Should you use synthetic oil?

Odds are, you already do! Most major vehicle manufacturers—like Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram for example—use synthetic oil in most of their vehicles. Now, this may change when it comes to vehicles meant for a specific purpose, or that have been engineered to exacting performance specifications, but your average vehicle uses a synthetic motor oil. If you’re unsure what type of oil your vehicle is using, or what would help it perform its best based on your environment, don’t hesitate to ask a member of our service team who would be glad to help you learn more about the right motor oil for your ride.

If you have any questions about vehicle service, maintenance, features, or are looking for something new, simply swing on by Golden Mile Chrysler—the home of the Swinging Lady—and we’ll be happy to help. After all, we’ve been the premier source for a quality vehicle experience in the Greater Toronto Area for over 50 years!