We’ve all been there. In the oil aisle of the auto parts store or the gas station, staring at the many options for motor oil. On one hand, you have conventional oil and its lower cost. On the other hand, you have the specialized properties of synthetic oil for all kinds of different vehicles.
Is synthetic oil worth the extra money? For the most part, yes it is.
Conventional oil is derived directly from the crude oil they pull out of the ground and sell by the barrel. It provides excellent lubrication for engines at high temperatures and generally maintains its stability over long periods of time. Synthetic oil starts as conventional oil and is modified to improve and specialize its lubricant and protective qualities.
Some blends of synthetic oil are designed for high-performance vehicles like trucks, while others are designed for high-mileage vehicles. Some can even improve gas mileage.
On the whole, synthetic oils are better than conventional oils at keeping your engine properly lubricated. Most synthetic oils have added lubricant properties designed to work at high temperatures, reducing wear over time and making your engine last longer.
Stability in the synthetic oil game means viscosity. Over time, all oil tends to lose its thickness. Thin, runny oil can lead to “dry starts,” which occur when your car has been sitting for a long time and the oil collects at the bottom of the engine instead of sticking to all the parts it’s supposed to, leaving the engine to run unprotected. A synthetic oil with better viscosity will stick better to all engine parts for longer periods of time than conventional oil.
Oils ‘break down’ over time, limiting their effectiveness. This is why you change the oil every 3,000 miles. Synthetic oils generally don’t need to be changed as often as conventional oils because they don’t break down as quickly.
All oils leave deposits on engines if not changed on schedule. Mechanics call these deposits “sludge” or “scaling.” Synthetic oils don’t leave as much residue behind as conventional oils. And when they do, it’s usually not as damaging as conventional oil deposits. Conventional oil “bakes on” to engine parts, making it extremely difficult to remove and causing all kinds of engine trouble. Synthetic oil is much less likely to do this.
In the long run, it usually makes sense to invest in synthetic oil for your vehicle. The benefits long-term far out-weigh the possible risks of conventional oil. This doesn’t mean you get out of changing your oil on a regular basis. If you use synthetic oil, however, you’ll avoid engine deposits and many other risks that conventional oils deal with. Find the perfect synthetic oil specifically formulated to fit your car’s engine and deliver the best performance for your unique situation.