What is the Difference Between Synthetic Oil and Conventional Oil?
The next time you take your vehicle in for an oil change, the technician may ask if you want synthetic or regular oil. Most people wonder what the benefits are of using synthetic oil instead of conventional oil, and if it’s really worth the money. To answer those questions, it’s important to understand the differences.
Conventional motor oil is derived directly from crude oil, and has properties that allow it to provide lubrication for your vehicle’s engine at high temperatures. A conventional oil change was the only oil change available for decades, and they are still recommended for most vehicles, especially brand new cars with less than 5,000 miles. The car manufacturer uses their special brand of conventional oil during assembly and introducing synthetic oil too early may decrease vehicle performance. Conventional oil changes are significantly less expensive than synthetic and high mileage oil changes.
Synthetic oil actually begins as conventional oil and is then modified to improve its protective and lubricant properties. Synthetic oil was originally developed for use in jet aircraft engines, and when the automotive industry realized its capacity to reduce friction and wear on engine parts, it began developing synthetic oil for cars. Synthetic oil contains high performance fluids that create a unique chemical formula that increases resistance to viscosity breakdown. Synthetic oil also flows easier in colder weather, increases resistance to break down at high temperatures, consumes less energy due to engine friction and therefore saves fuel, and lasts up to three times longer than conventional oil.
For your wallet, there isn’t much of a difference if you understand that your oil change cycles last longer with synthetic. The age old consensus that oil needs to be changed every three months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first still holds true for conventional oil, but depending on where you drive, how much and how far you drive, you can probably figure on changing synthetic oil between 10,000 and up to 20,000 miles. So, while the initial oil change will be costlier, the longevity and ability to handle extreme high temperatures without breaking down makes it a game of sixes.
At Jack’s Tire & Oil, we can answer all of your questions about conventional vs synthetic oil. Call us for an appointment, or stop by today and let us take the guess-work out of your oil change.
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