pouring oil into vehicleThe next time you go for an oil change, you may be asked if you want conventional or synthetic motor oil. The technician performing the job may offer advice based on your vehicle model and mileage.

Synthetic oil has grown in popularity over the past few decades. Once reserved for high-performance vehicles, it’s an increasingly popular choice for standard, everyday cars due to its low viscosity, which allows it to flow more freely. This factor places less stress on your engine and can improve gas mileage.

It’s estimated that 70 percent of new vehicles use synthetic or a synthetic blend over conventional oil, yet conventional is ideal for older vehicles and preferred in certain scenarios. Here’s what you should know about both types of oil.

Benefits of Synthetic Oil

Synthetic starts from the same source as conventional oil – petroleum or crude oil – before chemicals like castor wax, paraffin or polyalphaolefin are added. There is fully synthetic and synthetic blend, which adds some conventional oil to the formula to bring down the price. Both flow better than conventional oil at lower temperatures, keep the engine lubricated for longer, help cleanse debris and offer parts better protection.

Considering these factors, synthetic oil is preferred for the following reasons:

  • Due to the added substances, synthetic oil is less likely to break down and holds up to higher temperatures. These factors ultimately result in a longer lifespan.
  • During the winter months, synthetic flows better than conventional oil and lubricates your engine sooner.
  • Synthetic better withstands hot temperatures and is less likely to evaporate in these conditions.
  • Synthetic oil is ideal for shorter trips and stop-and-go-traffic, as it warms up sooner, burns away moisture and resists gathering debris. These factors also prevent sludge, residue buildup and engine clogs, which can increase friction and lead to overheating or engine failure.
  • Because of the lubrication and longer lifespan, synthetic is a more economical choice for heavy-duty applications, including towing and hauling materials.
  • Synthetic lasts two to three times longer than conventional, resulting in fewer oil changes and less motor oil released into the environment. While conventional gets changed every 3,000 miles on average, certain brands of synthetic can last up to 15,000 miles.
  • Thinking about rust and corrosion, synthetic is less likely to hold onto water and other particles that could accelerate this process.

Understand that not all oil changes with synthetic will be the same. Stick to the standard 5,000-mile change or refer to your vehicle’s manual for a specific oil type and mileage.

When to Use Conventional Oil

Manufactured from crude oil and given select additives for heat resistance and viscosity, conventional oil has a lower price tag. Depending on the type, synthetic may cost four times as much as conventional or the difference may be as little as 10 percent for certain blends. Although you may be steered toward synthetic, conventional oil can be ideal in select cases:

  • Older vehicles, as engines in these cars were built with conventional oil in mind. In these cases, conventional may provide better lubrication and protection compared to synthetic.
  • Cars with under 75,000 miles. Below this point, engines are less vulnerable to wear and tear, debris and won’t experience strain from the lower viscosity of conventional oil.

However, depending on where you live and your car’s mileage, conventional oils degrade sooner and take longer to warm up in colder conditions. These factors:

  • Require you to change your oil sooner, ideally every 3,000 miles
  • Increase your risk for engine clogs
  • Can place strain on your engine in colder conditions and only perform well once your car has warmed up
  • Are more likely to hold onto debris and moisture, increasing wear placed on your engine if you delay oil changes

When it’s time for an oil change, book your appointment with DaSilva’s Auto Body. Contact our Naugatuck shop today.