How To Read Your Motor Oil Grade & Get The Most Out Of Your Vehicle

How To Read Your Motor Oil Grade & Get The Most Out Of Your Vehicle

Motor oil is one of the most important fluids in your car. It lubricates the engine and helps keep it running smoothly. Oil also collects dirt and other particles, that eventually damage the engine if not removed. That’s why it’s fundamental to know how to read your car motor oil and understand what the different grades mean.

Here at Lakeland Ford, we want to help you get the most out of your vehicle. Keep scrolling to learn more about motor oil grades and how to read them.

What Are Motor Oil Grades?

Let’s start from the beginning: What are motor oil grades? How does your car read oil to know what it needs?

Motor oil is graded by its viscosity – the thickness of the liquid. It’s measured using two different standards, SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and API (American Petroleum Institute). However, most newer vehicles use only SAE measurements. The lower the viscosity, the thinner the oil; conversely, the higher the viscosity number, the thicker the oil.

Your car’s engine reads these numbers to determine how much lubrication is needed. Thicker oils are used in warmer climates, while thinner oils are better for colder environments. However, you don’t want to use a type that’s too thick or too thin for your car, as it can lead to engine problems.

How to Find Them

Don’t worry – it’s not rocket science! There are three ways to find your car’s motor oil grade:

  • Take a look at the engine oil dipstick.
  • Find the engine oil filler cap and check the code on it.
  • Locate your car owner’s manual and check the oil viscosity chart.

Each of these methods will offer the same information. Now that you know how to read your car’s motor oil grade, it’s essential to understand what each number means.

What About the Numbers?

While locating your car’s oil grade, you may have noticed a few numbers on the label. The letter “W” included in the code might also catch your eye; it stands for “winter.” Since the oil is graded to work in various climates, we must address this.

The first number on your car’s motor oil label represents the viscosity of your engine oil when the vehicle has been parked overnight during a cold season. You might come across figures like 0W-20, which means that your oil’s viscosity will be low at the most frigid temperatures.

The second number on the label is the “normal” viscosity rating, or how well it runs in colder weather. In this example, you’d have 20 next to the W. This figure represents how well the oil flows at higher temperatures or how thick it is.


Now that you’ve got a fair grasp on car motor oil grades, it’s essential to take your vehicle in for a check-up at Lakeland Ford. We serve Lakeland, FL, with reliable solutions and can help you keep your car running smoothly.

Schedule a service with us today!


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