The sticker on your windshield (or your Owner's Manual) tells you when it’s time to change the oil in your vehicle. So, you’re sitting at a very long stop light and you notice the date on the sticker is more than two months past the date. As luck would have it, you notice you're about to pass by Elite Auto Repair! The mechanic takes your keys and car, but is back within a short amount of time and asks you if you want regular motor oil or synthetic? You might not have a clue to the differences between the two types of oil or what to tell your mechanic. What’s the deal with synthetic oil? Why is it better? Why does an older car perform better when using synthetic oil? Short of going to mechanic school or marrying into the Pennzoil family, there are some useful resources concerning synthetic motor oil. What Is Synthetic Motor Oil?
Conventional (regular) motor oil is a lubricant made from crude oil and starts off being regular motor oil. It then gets refined, distilled and broken down to the most basic molecules, which are then modified to improve its lubricant and protective properties. Other components are added to the oil base, which customizes the molecules to perform at higher temperatures for today’s modern car. Many car manufacturers recommend using synthetic oil because it can extend the life of your engine and provide better performance between oil changes. Synthetic oil is also recommended for older vehicles, but there are some models that will need to have gaskets upgraded to handle the synthetic oil without leaking. What Are The Benefits Of Using Synthetic Motor Oil?
According to car manufacturers, there are several benefits to using synthetic motor oil. Here are some of the reasons you might want to use it at your next oil change:
- Synthetic Oil Will Keep Your Engine Cleaner - Conventional oils can leave residue in your engine and engine components, which will build up to the point of forming sludge that can impact the performance and life of your engine. Synthetic oils contain fewer impurities that allow it to flow freely through your engine with less deposit buildup.
- Protects From Engine Wear - The parts of your car’s engine are in constant contact with each other, moving at high speeds. These engine components will wear over time causing possible breakdowns, but a synthetic oil serves as a protective barrier, lubricating the moving parts to reduce engine wear and extend the life of the engine.
- Oil Flows Better In Lower Temperatures - Anytime that your car sits for any length of time, the engine oil naturally settles. Once you start the car, the oil begins flowing through vital engine parts to protect them against friction. Conventional oils take more time to flow smoothly through the engine and its components. During cold weather, the time it takes for the oil to flow through the engine and components can take much longer, but with a synthetic oil, your engine will be protected immediately after starting the engine.
- Synthetic Oils Protect Your Engine At High Temperatures - When your car’s engine is running, it creates high temperatures that can cause conventional oil to break down or evaporate. Synthetic oils are engineered to resist high temperatures and protect your engine, even in the hottest of climates.
The Bottom Line - Are Synthetic Oils Better Than Conventional Motor Oil?
- Synthetic Oils Will Protect Turbocharger Parts - Cars today have significantly smaller engines than older cars. Automakers downsized the engine for greater fuel efficiency, but a lot of cars are made with a turbocharger to boost power in smaller engines. The shaft inside a turbocharger spins at 200,000 revolutions per minute and an essential function of motor oil is to lubricate that shaft immediately after starting your car. Conventional oils can also leave deposits on the turbocharger components, which can ultimately lead to failure of the part. A synthetic oil protects and lubricates the turbocharger and its components so that your car can operate at optimum performance with better power.
With the numerous benefits of using synthetic oil, it’s pretty much a no-brainer that synthetic oils will do a better job of protecting and extending the life of your car’s engine. While researching the difference between synthetic and conventional, there were quite a few mechanics that thought that conventional oil will be completely phased out in the next few years. Synthetic Oils may cost more (about twice what conventional oil costs), they have the ability to do more for your engine and possibly increase power and performance as well as extending the life of many parts and components including the actual engine. So, the next time you come in for an oil change and your mechanic asks if you want a synthetic oil, you will at least understand the benefits from choosing the more expensive synthetic oil. In the long run, paying a little more up front will get you the best return for your money by way of better engine performance and by protecting and extending the life of your engine.