So it’s time to change your car’s oil. This may leave you wondering if your vehicle needs synthetic oil? In this article, we’ll give you everything you need to make an informed decision.
Not all cars require synthetic oil, but for some models, this is an excellent option. Consult your car owner’s manual to see the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the type of oil your car can take. If it allows you the choice between regular and synthetic oil, then synthetic oil is better in all respects, other than price.
If you’re still unsure of how to determine the best oil for your car, keep reading, and we’ll discuss everything in-depth.
How Do You Know What Kind of Oil Your Car Needs?
Check your car owner’s manual to see what type of oil your manufacturer recommends. If the manual says you need synthetic oil, then that’s what you should choose. If it doesn’t say synthetic oil is required, then you don’t need to buy it, but you still can if you want the benefits it provides.
Advantages Of Synthetic Oil
Synthetic Oils Last Longer Between Changes
Synthetic oils tend to break down slower than conventional oils, which allows it to maintain its low viscosity. This ability to flow easily helps the oil protect your engine’s constantly-moving parts from being damaged when you drive your car. Conventional oils usually let you go about 3,000-7,500 miles between changes, whereas synthetic oils can last roughly 7,500-10,000 miles or possibly even longer. How hard you push your car and the general climate where you live also impact how frequently you should change your car’s oil. As we mentioned before, you should check your car owner’s manual to see what your manufacturer recommends regarding oil change frequency.
Synthetic Oils Help Your Engine Operate Better In Extreme Weather
Synthetic oils are great at flowing quickly and smoothly in cold temperatures so they can protect your engine’s parts against friction and wear. They’re also more resistant than conventional oils to breakdown and evaporation in hot temperatures. Even if you don’t live in an area with hot temperatures, your engine will heat up more if you regularly use your vehicle to haul heavy loads. Synthetic oil’s adaptability in these conditions means you’ll have to change your oil less often, and your engine will be better protected against wear.
Synthetic Oils Are More Fuel Efficient
This benefit goes hand-in-hand with some of our previous points. As we already mentioned, synthetic oil has a lower viscosity than conventional oils, so it helps your engine parts move faster and, therefore, more efficiently. Not to mention, human-made oil encourages efficiency. During the Oil Crisis of the 1970s, demand in the US surged for higher-quality oils to improve fuel economy. Nowadays, synthetic oils are used in everything from family vans to jets, so they’re made to last.
Synthetic Oils Cause Less Friction In Your Engine
Synthetic oils are more refined than conventional oils, so their molecular size is more consistent. This uniformity causes less friction in the engine, thereby improving its performance.
Synthetic Oils Clean Up Engine Sludge And Deposits
Over time your motor oil can form sludge, which are gunky deposits that can block passages in your engine and eventually reduce its lifespan. Synthetic oil is less likely to form slurry than conventional oil, and can even help clean sludge and deposits already in your engine.
Background On Synthetic Oil
By now, you should have a pretty good understanding of why synthetic oils are often recommended. However, if you still have questions about what it is and whether or not it’s right for your car, read on!
What is Synthetic Oil and How is it Different From Regular Oil?
Synthetic oil is a type of motor oil that results from a more significant amount of human experimentation compared to conventional oil. Synthetic oil was first developed in 1929, and companies have spent lots of money in the ensuing decades, developing their formulas to make products that work better than conventional oil. Synthetics use higher-quality base oils than conventional oils and are more refined. These differences in the manufacturing process give it all the advantages over conventional oil we’ve already discussed, and they create more uniformity in the size of its molecules.
What Happens if You Use Regular Oil Instead of Synthetic?
Provided your owner’s manual doesn’t specify that your car needs synthetic oil, you can get away with conventional oil. It lacks the benefits of synthetic oil, but if synthetics are just too expensive for you, then conventional oil will still work.
Can You Mix Synthetic and Regular Oil?
If you want some of the benefits of synthetic oil but can’t afford the price, then synthetic blend oils are an option. Synthetic blend oils are a compromise between regular and full-synthetic oils. They’re less expensive than full-synthetic oils and offer some of the benefits.
What are the Disadvantages of Synthetic Oil?
As we’ve already mentioned, synthetics are usually two to four times more expensive than conventional oils. When making your decision, decide if the benefits of synthetic oil are worth the extra cost.
Is Full Synthetic Oil Worth It?
If you want your engine to have the best performance possible, then synthetic oil is a must, especially if your car owner’s manual says it’s needed. A AAA study also found that synthetic oils outperformed conventional oils by nearly 50 percent in a series of industry-standard tests. The same study reported that while synthetic oils are more expensive, they can save drivers money since they protect car engines better than conventional oils. Service technicians seem to think synthetic oil is worth the price as AAA found that more than three-quarters of them choose it for their cars.
Should I Use Synthetic Oil in my High Mileage Car?
Yes. The only thing to keep in mind is that you may have to change your oil more frequently at first after switching to synthetic oil because your engine may have accumulated sludge and deposits over the years that the oil will have to remove. After your first couple of changes, however, you can enjoy the longer oil change intervals that synthetics provide.
Is it OK to Switch to Synthetic Oil in Older Cars?
Absolutely. The only reason you couldn’t switch to synthetic oil is if your manufacturer advises explicitly against it. You can even shift from conventional oil to synthetic and back again if you find that synthetic oil doesn’t meet your needs.
When deciding between synthetic, conventional, or synthetic blend oil, you should be sure to take into account your financial situation as well as the recommendations in your car owner’s manual. Also, your local auto parts store should offer disposal services for your used oil, but be sure to check in advance.
Now you have all the information you need to determine if synthetic oil is right for your vehicle. Good luck!