Skip to content

How Temperature Affects Oil Performance

oil performance

Most drivers know that oil changes are an important part of routine vehicular maintenance. However, a lot more goes into maintaining good oil performance than just replenishing it every few months. Temperature’s also a big factor and here’s how it affects your car’s oil.


Temperature & Viscosity

When oil experiences extreme spikes or drops in temperature, the main consequence is a change in its viscosity. Viscosity refers to the thickness of a fluid. In the heat, oil will become less viscous, or thinner. In the cold, it’ll become more viscous, or thicker. This means that if you live in a very cold climate, you should be using thinner oil in your vehicle. On the other hand, if you live in a hot climate or frequently use your vehicle for towing, you should opt for thicker oil. Adapting your vehicle to the climate in this way will minimize the negative effects that temperature can have on its oil.


Base Oil

In order to choose a lubricant with the optimal viscosity for your climate and the demands placed on your vehicle, it’s important to consider the base oil. The base of the lubricant refers to its molecular and chemical structure. Examples of natural base oils are naphthenic, aromatic and paraffinic. Paraffinic is the best oil for the North American climate, as it has a high viscosity index. This means that its viscosity varies only slightly, regardless of temperature. Naphthenic oil, on the other hand, has a low viscosity index, meaning that its viscosity is easily affected by temperature.



Lubricants thicken in cooler temperatures, and the increased viscosity of the fluid can cause more engine noise and friction, which in turn causes your car to burn fuel unnecessarily. When oil is thinner due to elevated temperatures, there is increased risk of leaks occurring. Additionally, heat can lead to insufficient lubrication, which can result in the formation of sludge that may block oil passages and impede your vehicle’s overall performance.


Schedule an Oil Change in Burnaby

To get more information about the effects of temperature on oil, consult one of our experts at Minit-Tune. We can answer any questions you may have about oil change maintenance. As always, remember to check our coupons for discounts when visiting one of our centres! Contact us today to schedule a visit to our Imperial or Canada Way locations in Burnaby.



Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres Address Common Issues

Here at Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres in British Columbia, we’re always pleased to help our customers get the most out of their cars and trucks. To that end, we’ll add a relevant blog topic from time to time to keep you up to date and getting the most out of your vehicle.