Here’s How Oil Viscosity and Climate Affect Your Engine

February 23rd, 2023 by

Most vehicle owners know the importance of routine oil changes. However, a lot goes more into maintaining a good oil performance than replenishing or changing it every few months. The oil’s viscosity greatly impacts your vehicle, as it determines if the oil will be effective in lubricating the engine.

The lubrication process, under various circumstances, causes the oil to lose viscosity and break down. This breakdown leads to parts of your engine rubbing together and eventually wearing out. Honda owners in Cincinnati enjoy visiting Performance Kings Honda for full service or quick oil changes. Our Express Oil Change service ensures your vehicle has the best oil protection. Click the button below to call our service center in Cincinnati, OH!

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What Is Oil Viscosity?

How oil viscocity and climate effect your engine

Oil viscosity is the amount of an oil’s resistance to flow. It measures how quickly or slowly motor oil flows. The reason why viscosity is an issue is that viscosity has a direct impact on the effectiveness of your vehicle’s engine oil. When external forces, such as gravity and temperature, act on a fluid, its molecules move against each other, resulting in friction that resists flow.

Why Is Oil Viscosity Important?

Viscosity is the most important property of a lubricant. How it reacts to temperature changes, pressure or speed determines how well the oil protects your vehicle.

When you bring your vehicle to Performance Kings Honda during hot or cold weather, our technicians will check to ensure viscosity remains stable whether the engine is hot or cold. Motor oil additives help maintain this stability. It’s also worth noting that some engine oils are designed to be thinner or less viscous when cold and more viscous or thicker when hot. Generally, a fluid with low viscosity is thin and light, while a fluid with high viscosity is thick and heavy.

When a lubricant is too thick, it flows more slowly, creating friction, which negatively impacts the efficiency of the equipment. If it’s too thin and moves more quickly and freely, it does not form sufficient protection to separate moving parts. As a result, your engine parts will wear out more quickly.

Lubricants with too low viscosity may cause the following:

  • Leaking seals.
  • Increased metal-to-metal contact and wear.
  • Increased oil consumption, leading to harmful deposits and frequent top-offs.

Oils with too high viscosity also affect the engine by causing the following:

  • Poor cold-temperature starting.
  • Increased operating temperatures, which hasten oil breakdown.
  • Increased fluid friction, reducing fuel economy.

How Does Temperature Affect Oil Viscosity?

Oil viscosity changes with changes in temperatures. As lubricants get hot, their viscosity drops. When it’s cold, the viscosity increases. Oil manufacturers provide a viscosity index to help users understand the oil’s viscosity state at varying temperatures. The lower the viscosity index, the more viscosity is affected by temperature changes.

If you live in a very cold climate, you should use thinner oil in your vehicle. If you live in a hot climate or frequently use your vehicle for towing, consider using thicker oil. Here’s the reason why:

Oil Thickens When It’s Cold

When temperatures drop during the cold season, motor oil thickens and flows slowly. As a result, it’ll require more energy to circulate. That’s why starting a car on a cold winter morning can be difficult. If your engine oil is flowing slowly, your engine components will be vulnerable to wear until the oil warms enough to flow throughout the engine.

Oil Thins When It’s Hot

The reverse happens when the temperatures go up. The intense heat causes the engine oil to thin and flow like water. When it flows freely and fast, it fails to adequately lubricate the metal components during operation.

Can Engine Oil Impact Fuel Economy?

The main reason why we recommend regular oil changes is to preserve engine components. When the oil doesn’t flow smoothly through the engine, its performance reduces. The engine will need to overwork to maintain the performance you want. According to Geotab, using manufacturer-approved low-viscosity heavy-duty engine oil can reduce fuel consumption by 0.9% to 2.2% annually.

The right viscosity oil reduces engine friction, allowing it to flow more smoothly throughout the engine. This allows the engine to operate efficiently, which leads to lower fuel consumption.

How To Maintain Perfect Oil Viscosity in Your Honda

Fortunately, vehicle owners don’t have to worry much about viscosity in oils due to the production of multi-viscosity oils. These oils are designed to behave based on the temperatures they’re subjected to. At frigid temperatures, the oil operates as a thinner oil, which means that your engine will remain adequately lubricated. The newer oils are also designed for demanding conditions and have variable viscosity to meet temperature variations. You’ll also likely save on fuel.

Run what the manufacturer suggests all year long, and your vehicle will be fine. Manufacturers determine what oil viscosity vehicles should have by weighing various factors, such as temperature changes and engine tolerance. They look for the right balance that ensures the oil is thick enough to provide a proper layer of protection to mobile parts but thin enough to move at the right speed to protect engine components.

If you’re unsure which oil has perfect viscosity for your Honda, visit Performance Kings Honda, and we’ll help you get the right one. You can also check your manual to learn which motor oil viscosity is ideal for your vehicle.

Upgrade to the Right Oil for Your Engine in Cincinnati, Ohio, Today

At Performance Kings Honda, we understand that time has value. That’s why we offer the Express Oil Change service. If you cannot drop by, our team can come and pick up the vehicle at your place and deliver it once our certified technicians have changed the oil. We offer free multi-point inspection during the change to ensure everything else operates correctly. If you need to use manufacturer-recommended oil, we can get it and run it for you during this inspection.

If you need additional service, we have various service specials for Honda that you can take advantage of when you schedule your next oil change. Give us a call today at (513) 791-9090.

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