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Motor oil is often described as the “lifeblood of your vehicle’s engine”, but you may be surprised to learn that it was originally studied for its medicinal value. John Ellis studied the healing powers of crude oil, only to learn that it had more potential for its lubricating properties. He founded the Continuous Oil Refining Company in 1866, which later became known as Valvoline.

Some 150 years later, many drivers take motor oil for granted. In fact, many of us probably don’t understand the differences among all the oil types available. The good news is that unless you’re changing your own oil, you only need to know some basics.

What do all those numbers mean?

You’ve likely seen those numbers and letters on motor oil but may not know what they mean. First, the W stands for winter, although many think it means weight. The number before the W is the oil’s viscosity. Viscosity is defined as a fluid’s resistance to flow, rated at 0°F. The lower the number, the less the oil thickens in the cold. The number after the W refers to the oil’s viscosity at 212°F.

What do all those words mean?

  • Conventional Oil – Typically more affordable, conventional oil is preferred for vehicles with low mileage or for owners who are careful about having their oil changed regularly.
  • Premium Conventional Oil – The standard new-car oil, premium conventional is a step up from traditional conventional oil.
  • Full Synthetic Oil – Made for high-tech engines, full synthetic oil must pass stringent testing and offers longer, superior performance.
  • Synthetic-Blend Oil – This oil type is made up of mostly premium conventional oil with a dose of synthetic added in.
  • High-Mileage Oil – This blend features extra conditioners and is made for vehicles with more than 75,000 miles.

If you plan on changing your vehicle’s oil yourself, be sure to read your owner’s manual to find out which type to purchase. If you prefer to leave it to the professionals, you can always count on Fast Eddie’s for quick, affordable, and trustworthy service. We offer three oil change packages, and our Best Service includes a Super Duper Wash.

Guy pouring in oil