We've seen the signs for oil changes: Synthetic and Conventional. One is priced at about half the cost of the other, so am I getting double the value if I buy the synthetic, and what happens if I opt for the conventional if my car says to use synthetic?

So what's the difference in the actual oils?

What any motor oil does is lubricate to keep the engine's parts running smoothly as well as help clean the engine. They are both designed to keep the engine from wear and tear. But there is a difference in the two oils.

Conventional oil comes from raw and natural crude oil that is then refined and sold. Regular oil can have particles in it since it's in a more raw state. Whereas synthetic oil is built in a lab. It’s been engineered by scientists so that every molecule is clean burning without any contaminants. The contaminants are the reason that with a conventional oil change you change the oil every 3,000 miles to protect the engine but with a synthetic oil you only need to do a change every 7,500-10,000 miles.

The synthetic oil is chemically designed to handle higher temperature fluctuations so it performs better and lasts longer in extreme heat and cold. Conventional oil cannot handle these fluctuations and can thicken in extreme cold.

Most newer vehicles require synthetic oil now. In the last ten years or so, more auto manufacturers have built their engines to run on synthetic oil because it burns more efficiently, keeping the emissions lower without making the engine work harder. This increases the engine life and can improve gas mileage as well.

So if your car requires synthetic can you use conventional oil?

The answer is no! It is not at all recommended because your vehicle's engine was not designed to run on regular oil. In fact, if you do use conventional oil in a synthetic running engine and you have any type of engine failure it could void the power train warranty and leave you holding a very expensive bill! You can, however, use synthetic oil in a conventional oil engine.

So how do you know if your car requires synthetic oil?

If you look in your owner's manual or under the oil cap then it will tell you if you have a synthetic oil only engine. You can also ask any tech specialist at AutoExpress, like, for instance, Jeff, a very helpful tech who gave me all the information that you're reading for this blog post!

Here's one more thing to add: that while the cost seems steep (double) for a synthetic oil change, it really is all a wash in the end because you'll only need an oil change every minimum of 7,500 miles, whereas with a conventional oil change you're looking at changing it every 3,000 miles. So, if you're car asks for synthetic, just indulge it, since it's not going to run very well without a properly functioning engine!


Categories: Body Shop, Service