4 Common Advantages that Synthetic Oils Offer Over Conventional Motor Oil
When you change your oil you have a lot of choices, including either synthetic or conventional oil. Many people wonder what the benefits of synthetic are, and if it's really worth the money.
Conventional motor oil is a lubricant that’s derived directly from crude oil. Synthetic oil actually begins its life as conventional oil and is modified to improve its protective and lubricant properties. One of these modifications is to restrict the oil molecules to a smaller, uniform size. This results in better surface area coverage.
The most common advantages that synthetic oils offer over conventional motor oil include:
Improved Lubrication - Most synthetic oils have added lubricants that increase the ability to keep engine parts slick, especially at high temperatures. This decreases wear in the long term and may make your engine last longer.
Better Stability - Synthetic oils are specially engineered to maintain their viscosity (thickness) at higher temperatures and over longer periods of time. This helps you prevent engine wear in several ways. It allows the oil to "stick" to engine parts more readily, providing better wear protection, as well as doing a better job protecting your engine from cold starts.
Reduced Breakdown - Synthetic oils are less likely to break down, which means that most synthetic oils don't need to be changed as often as conventional oils. The additive package (detergents, anti-foaming products etc.) is built to hold up to an extended oil change interval.
Fewer Deposits - As conventional oils break down, they often leave deposits on engine components. Mechanics refer to this as "sludge" or "scaling." This is common in engines that run for long periods of time, are driven hard or driven under tough conditions. As conventional oil breaks down, it sticks to different surfaces in the engine and "bakes on" just like cooking oil would in a frying pan.
Although the properties of synthetic oil are definitely superior, conventional oil will protect your vehicle's engine just as well if you follow the proper oil change intervals. At ArborMotion, we’ve always taken the stance that it’s best to change oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles for conventional oil and 5 months or 5,000 miles for synthetic oil. Vehicle manufacturers have been extending their oil intervals well beyond that. BMW/Mini for example suggest a 15,000-mile interval! We find that the vehicles that come in at that interval are typically low on oil and the oil that remains is very dark.
Do your vehicle a favor by choosing the right oil and interval and follow that routine as closely as possible. As we like to say, it's cheap insurance!
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