Motor oil can be a confusing beast that results in a number of questions. Do I really need synthetic? Does my new car take conventional? When do I need to switch to high-mileage? Understanding the basics of the different types of motor oil will help you answer these questions.
Perhaps the most confusing obstacle car newbies run into when steeping into the shop is whether their car takes synthetic oil or conventional when getting an oil change. While the main function of motor oil is to lubricate the moving parts of the engine, prevent corrosion, and cool the engine, conventional and synthetic oil operate differently.
Conventional Oil vs Synthetic Oil
Synthetic or “full synthetic” oil is engineered specifically to provide the highest level of lubrication in high and low temperatures, which results in better overall engine protection. Synthetic oil has superior cleansing properties which help to keep your engine cleaner.
While it is the most expensive type of motor oil, it is considered by many to be the best type of oil that you can put in your car. However, not every car requires synthetic oil.
Synthetics don’t contain the impurities and molecular irregularities inherent to conventional oils. Synthetics’ pure, uniform molecular structures impart properties that provide wear protection, extreme-temperature performance and fuel efficiency conventional lubricants just can’t touch – all of which helps you save money with vehicles that run better and last longer.
Conventional oil is formulated with additive packages to ensure that it has the proper heat tolerance, breakdown resistance, and viscosity (thickness and fluidity) that engines require. For many vehicles, conventional oil is sufficient to get the proverbial job done.
Benefits of the Right Oil
Synthetics typically outperform conventional motor oils in providing more protection for your vehicle. Here’s how all that chemistry translates to the real world:
- Keeps your engine cleaner.
- Offers greater engine wear protection.
- Flows better in low temperatures.
- Protects better at high temperatures.
- Safeguards critical parts.