Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: What Oil Viscosity Should I Use With My Filter?

asked by on

What oil viscosity should I use with my filter?

A: Oil is the life's blood of every engine...

Oil is the life's blood of every engine. It lubricates the internals of your engine, it cools your engine, and it keeps your engine clean.

Oil viscosity, or the measurement of an oil's resistance to flow, is a key property of the oil we use in our cars. There are many different viscosities of oil that are available. The most common oil viscosities are 20W-50, 15W-40, 10W-40, 10W-30, 5W-30, 5W-20, and 0W-20.

The oil in your engine must be thick enough to protect the internal components of your engine, but not too thick. Oil that is too thick flows slowly and is not capable of protecting your engine.

Engines have, in the past, used 10W-30 oil as the primary grade of oil. More powerful engines typically use 20W-50 or higher because of the additional stresses that those engines are subjected to.

Many engines today use lighter oils like 5W-30 or even 0W-30 because of the tighter tolerances that they’re built with. Tighter tolerances translate to smaller paths for the oil to flow.

Diesel engines most commonly use 15W-40 or 10W-30, depending on ambient temperatures. One quick way to check which viscosity oil to use in your car is to look at the oil fill cap on your engine. It should have the oil viscosity that is recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer. If you need help with an oil change, a technician from YourMechanic can come to your home or office and perform this task at your convenience.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Where could this oil leak be coming from?

Hello. You mention the power steering reservoir, so just be sure it is oil and not power steering fluid which of course would change the nature of the repair. To answer one of your concerns, if oil leaks onto the...

Q: What type of engine oil should I use?

Oil is essential for your engine – it lubricates moving parts and keeps friction to a minimum. While it’s important that you keep your oil level within the specified limits and have it changed regularly, it’s just as important that...

Q: How Does an Oil Filter Function?

An oil filter is a long, rectangular paper element that is folded into numerous pleats. The two ends of the pleated element are sealed together and the filter placed around a perforated metal tube inside a filter can. The perforated...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...