Understanding Oil’s Viscosity Index

What is Oil Viscosity?

Oil viscosity is defined as the oil’s resistance to flow, or how it behaves when exposed to different temperatures. It is notated in the form “XW-XX” with the number before the W referring to the oil’s viscosity at zero degrees Fahrenheit. This helps determine how much the oil will thicken in cold weather. The last two numbers show the viscosity at 100 degree Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit) and indicate the oil’s resistance to thinning in hotter temperatures.

Different kinds of viscosity are better for different types of weather. Viscosity works the same for synthetic oils and conventional oils, as well as with industrial lubricants and metalworking fluids. The only thing that changes is the grade and the individual needs of the project at hand. Determining what sort of temperatures and processes the oil will need to withstand is an important first key in deciding what grade of viscosity is needed.

Best Viscosity for Summer and Winter

For winter temperatures it best to use an oil with a lower winter viscosity. A 5W-30 grade will stand up better to the cold than a 10W-30 grade. Oils that are less likely to thicken will make starting a vehicle easier in the winter.

For summer it best to choose an oil that is less prone to thinning in the heat. Grades such as 15W-40 with a higher winter viscosity but less chance of thinning in hot temperatures are best for warmer climates or for hot summers.

Grades such as 75W-90 are great gear oils that can stand up to heavy duty and high performance applications that involve higher temperatures.

Uses of Oils and Lubricants

Viscosity is not the only thing to consider when buying oils and lubricants. There are many different uses for these products, so there are multiple different products. There are also multiple different oil and lubrication distributors to consider.

Companies such as Petro Canada distributors carry a very broad range of lubricants ranging from industrial supplies to automotive and transmission fluids. There are products for metal forming, drilling, electrical work, railways, hydraulics, and even food grade lubricants. Petro Canada distributors as well as Castrol Oil products have a strong presence in the oil market.

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