Synthetic oil, once found mostly in high-performance vehicles, is being used in more mainstream vehicles. What is synthetic oil, and why should you use it?
Regular oil, also called conventional oil, uses refined crude oil (comes from the ground). Conventional oil molecules are long hydrocarbon chains of various lengths.
Synthetic oil consists of chemical compounds that are artificially made by breaking down and rebuilding petroleum molecules. The end result is oil containing specific molecules that are tailored to provide optimal lubrication properties.
There are different types of synthetic oil:
- Synthetic blend oil is a mix of conventional motor oils and synthetic oil. The added synthetic base stock gives more performance and protection than it would by using conventional oil alone.
- Full synthetic oil uses a synthetic base stock mixed with a variety of additives that boost the performance of the oil. While all synthetics on the market may offer a higher level of protection than conventional or synthetics blends, not all synthetics are equal. Each synthetic brand uses a mix of high-performance fluids and additives. How these formulations come together results in various protection levels and attributes.
Advantages of Synthetic Oil:
- Greater engine protection- Full synthetic oils will not break down and will protect your engine longer-sometimes as much as 250,000 miles.
- Cleaner engine- As motor oil circulates through your vehicle's engine, deposits form. Conventional oils form sludge from these deposits over time, reducing your engine's efficiency and lifespan. Full synthetic oils, b contain fewer impurities and resist sludge and deposit formation.
- Better viscosity- At both low and high temperatures, synthetic oils enjoy better viscosity and stability than conventional oil or synthetic blends. Full synthetic oils are designed to flow quickly in winter temperatures and resist extreme heat, allowing your engine to run smoothly year-round.
- Turbocharger protection- As more cars are built with smaller engines and turbochargers, synthetic oils flow quicker to critical parts, creating the proper lubrication your engine needs. By contrast, conventional oils break down faster under turbocharged conditions. Using a full synthetic option keeps your turbocharged vehicle operating at peak performance.
Always use the oil that your manufacturer recommends. If your vehicle came from the factory with conventional oil, you could choose any type. If it came with a synthetic blend – always use a synthetic blend or upgrade to full synthetic. If it came with full synthetic – that’s what you need to use.
Whether you use conventional or synthetic oil, always follow your manufacturer recommended oil change intervals. Old Town Auto Service is here to help!
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Revised from content contributed by NAPA Service Assistant