With such a variety at your local auto parts stores, it can be very easy to pick up the wrong type of engine oil. The good news is for most vehicles, you can find the right oil at your local auto parts store unless you have a newer, luxury or high performance vehicle.
Choosing the correct oil is very important and sometimes even crucial to European and newer Japanese vehicles. There's a few different factors that make this decision so important.
-Anti Wear Agents
Not all oils that claim to meet these specifications are correct though!
Every so often, the manufacturers will release what's called an "Approved Oil List". These are oils that the manufacturer themselves consider to meet their specifications. This is especially important for newer vehicles that still can be covered by warranty.
Thankfully, there's not as many choices with coolant. However, the coolant that your vehicle takes is most likely not found at your local auto parts store. So far, the only coolant sold at
Each vehicle manufacturer has a certain coolant they use due to additives in the coolant. It is important to try not to mix colors or use just water as it can cause issues such as rust build up, overheating, and premature failure on cooling system parts.
Generally speaking these vehicles take this type of coolant:
VW/Audi- Dependent on year, Phosphate Free Coolant G12 Spec (Pink/Violet Coolant)
Subaru- Dependent on the year they use either regular green, long life blue with Subaru additive, or long life green with Subaru additive
Toyota- Dependent on the year, Toyota Long Life (Red) or green
BMW&Volvo- Dependent on year, Ethylene Glycol long-term Antifreeze (Blue)
Always be sure to check your owner's manual or contact your mechanic to see which type of coolant you should be running in your system.
Surprising as it may be, power steering fluid also has different specifications.
Hondas require Honda only power steering fluid
VW have a few different fluid depending on the year, check your owner's manual or contact your mechanic to see which type of power steering fluid you should be using
Some vehicles even take Automatic Transmission Fluid!
Using the correct power steering fluid prevents premature power steering component failure such as the power steering pump and even the rack.
Automatic Transmission Fluid generally changes between vehicle models even if it's the same manufacturer. This is due to different transmissions being used in different vehicles. It's best to check your owner's manual or contact your mechanic to find out what type of automatic transmission fluid you should be using in your vehicle.
Manual Transmission Fluid, generally speaking, is 75W-90 (also same weight for gear oil).
However, this also changes depending on the manufacturer and transmission used. Some manual transmissions require a higher performance fluid which has extra additives and some require a different viscosity. Always check your owner's manual or with your mechanic to ensure you're using the correct fluid.