Many people ask us whether we should use synthetic oil. Many newer model cars recommend a full synthetic. However, synthetic oil can offer some benefits even for those without.
Of course, it is more expensive than conventional oil. So, you have to balance the increased cost against the benefits. The best way to do that is to learn more.
What Is Regular Oil?
Conventional oil is essentially mineral oil. Mineral oil is refined crude oil. It contains naturally occurring compounds. That means that conventional oil contains molecules of different sizes. That can be important in terms of coverage.
What Is Synthetic Oil?
Synthetic oils use artificial (synthetic) chemicals to create a product similar to conventional oil. You can get full synthetic oils, which only contain these artificial chemicals. You can also get a blend of synthetic and regular oil.
Is Synthetic Oil Better?
Usually synthetic oil is often better for your engine than conventional oil. Regular oil is excellent at providing lubrication. However, it does not offer the same protection as synthetic oil.
Regular oils are not as chemically stable as synthetics. That means that they break down more quickly. They can also oxidize and acidify. The result is that they do not protect the engine as well, especially over time.
Synthetic oils reduce wear, perform well under high temperatures, resist breakdown, and help remove deposits.
Are Synthetic Oils Better for Older Cars?
That is a tricky question. Generally, synthetic oils provide better coverage. Once a car hits 75,000 miles, the gears wear more. The more worn the gears are, the greater the oil flow rate. Synthetic oil may flow too quickly to provide enough coverage. So, conventional oil may offer more excellent protection. That is especially true if the vehicle is older.
However, conditions matter. Regular oils can degrade, especially in harsh conditions. When they degrade, they can become clogged. Additives can help reduce the likelihood of clogs, but conventional oils are subject to degrading even with additives.
Can Synthetic Oil Clean Your Engine?
One of the reasons people choose synthetic is because of sludge. Synthetic oils can prevent your engine from developing sludge. It can also help eliminate existing sludge. Getting rid of sludge can improve performance and extend your engine’s life.
Why Are Synthetic Oils Better?
Traditional oils are just refined crude. They work fine in engines, but that is not their purpose. On the other hand, oil companies chemically designed synthetic oils to provide engine lubrication.
Do Synthetic Oils Clean Your Engine?
Yes. While it circulates, oil picks up deposits. With conventional oil, these deposits become sludge. The sludge initially impacts performance. If it gets bad enough, it can kill your engine. The fewer impurities in the oil, the fewer deposits. Synthetic oils are created, significantly reducing contaminants. The oil can pick up existing deposits. You can remove most sludge from your engine with a single oil change.
Are Synthetic Oils Wear Resistant?
Regular oils break down in the heat. However, full synthetic oils are heat resistant. While they will eventually break down, they last for longer periods. That can mean extended time between oil changes. It can also keep engine parts lubricated. Some brands of full synthetics can increase engine life up to 250,000 miles.
Do Synthetic Oils Flow Better?
Both types of oil perform similarly in ideal temperature conditions. However, synthetic oils are thinner. That means that they can flow more efficiently in colder temperatures. That means your engine gets lubrication and protection more quickly after you start it.
There is a downside to this increased flow. In older engines, wear and tear can make the space between parts more significant. In those scenarios, natural oil may be a better choice.
Can I Go Longer Between Oil Changes with a Synthetic Oil?
You may have noticed manufacturers have increased the recommended time between oil changes. That is mainly because many of them also recommend full synthetic oil. Because they do not break down as quickly, these oils can last longer than conventional oils. Synthetic oils may extend the time between oil changes to 7,500 miles or more.
That is important to keep in mind. Many people balk at synthetic oil because it is more expensive. However, when you realize that you can; do fewer oil changes, you quickly realize that you can save money with synthetic.
Are Synthetic Oils Better in Temperature Extremes?
Absolutely. Synthetic oils have a lower viscosity, which makes them better in colder temperatures. Picture traditional oil like pancake syrup, which gets more difficult to pour as it gets colder. Synthetic oils do not have the same problem.
Likewise, synthetic oils are better in high temperatures. Conventional oils can break down or even evaporate in high heat. However, manufacturers engineer synthetic oils to be heat resistant. That is especially important in a hot and humid client like Houston.
Do Turbocharged Engines Need Synthetic Oils?
Most manufacturers of turbocharged engines recommend synthetic oil. That is because turbocharged engines run hotter than other engines. They also spin at more revolutions per minute. Synthetic oils resist breakdown or evaporation, which makes them a better choice than regular oil.
Can I Switch from Conventional to Synthetic Oil?
Yes. Synthetic oil is compatible with regular oil. So, switching is fine.
You may have heard you cannot switch without a high-mileage engine. That is not true. You can always switch to synthetic oil. However, it would help if you did not immediately move to an extended time between oil changes. It would help if you gave the synthetic oil a chance to clean the sludge out of the engine. That may mean a shortened change interval.
Ready to find out more? Contact us. We are happy to answer any other questions you may have or schedule your oil change today.