The easiest way to choose the right oil for your engine is to lift your car’s hood. In the majority of late model vehicles, the specification is written on your oil cap. You can safely run this oil in your car year-round.
If your cap is one of those that doesn’t specify, pull out your owner’s manual. Every owner’s manual offers a few options depending on “driving conditions.”
Severe driving conditions include:
• Repeated short trips of less than five miles in normal temperatures or less than 10 miles in freezing temperatures,
• Stop-and-go traffic in hot weather or low-speed driving for long distances,
• Driving in dusty conditions or on rough, muddy or salt-spread roads,
• Towing a trailer or using a camper or car-top carrier, and
• Driving on uphill, downhill or mountain roads.
There’s nothing normal about driving in Northwest Colorado, especially during the winter. Look under “severe driving conditions” and follow these specifications.
Severe driving conditions will also determine how frequently you should have your oil changed. Your oil monitoring system does not allow for this, so be cautious. Three months or three thousand miles is still a good starting point.
Your car is a big investment, and keeping your oil clean and full is the best way to make it last.