Every time you head in for an oil change, one question you’ll usually hear is “Do you want conventional or synthetic oil?” Though this seems like a simple decision, this actually brings up more questions like “What kind should I use in my car?” or “Is the difference really worth the extra money?” Below we’ve listed some of the main differences between the oils and some useful information to help determine what kind is right for you.
Conventional Oil is the “traditional” motor oil. Conventional is derived from crude oil and has additives that help with heat tolerance and viscosity. When purchasing a “regular” oil change, this is the oil usually being used. It usually comes in a black bottle, but depending on brand this may not be the case. Oil changes for conventional are usually recommended at 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first.
Synthetic Oil is derived from crude oil and has additives just like Conventional, however this version of the oil is “synthesized” – in other words, the oil is modified at the molecular level. It is also distilled. It usually comes in a silver bottle, but depending on brand this may not be the case. Synthetic Oil Changes are usually recommended at 5,000 miles or 5 months, whichever comes first.
What Oil Should I Use?
There is no “wrong time” to use Synthetic over Conventional, because it is fact that Synthetic lasts longer and holds up better. However, this doesn’t mean Conventional is bad. Conventional is fine for cars that are daily drivers that have a “regular” commute (15 minutes or longer.) Synthetic is better for cars that drive in extreme temps (a New York winter or an Arizona Summer, for example) or make short trips commonly (conventional may not heat up enough in short trips.) Synthetic is also useful in dusty climates. Synthetic is sometimes recommended in the owner’s manual, in which case that oil should be used. Synthetic can also be useful in high milage cars, but is not necessary unless the manual requires it. In short, conventional is fine for the average daily driver, but synthetic will usually be the better option.
When it comes to owning a car, the most common phrase uttered about maintenance is “oil change.” Oil changes, though routine and common, are the most important maintenance job that can be done to your car. Oil is to a car what blood is to living animals, without it, there is no life. To put it simply, oil changes are too important to overlook.
What is motor oil?
Motor oil is a specific kind of oil designed to lubricate an engine. There are two main kinds; conventional and synthetic. Conventional oil composes of “natural” oils and recycled oils. Synthetic oil is scientifically manufactured and distilled to be purer. While synthetic is the “better” of the two oils, putting conventional into your car is not a bad thing, it just means you should change it more.
Motor oil is also “weighted” meaning depending on its weight, the heavier it is. Your manual will always say what kind of oil your car needs.
Why is an oil change so important?
To put it simply, if the oil is not changed, the oil turns to sludge. When an engine has sludge in it, the car becomes a countdown clock. The engine will eventually seize up, and the whole engine will need to be replaced.
How often should I get my oil changed?
Some outlets have reported that you can go as long as 7,500 miles on conventional, but in reality that isn’t a good mark to shoot for. With conventional oil, 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first, is the standard. With synthetic, 5,000-10,000 miles is the standard. These numbers can change depending on how long you drive daily and how dusty or dirty the area you live in is, however.
How is an oil change preformed?
An oil change is a fairly simple process. First, the car must be shut off. Second, the car is lifted in the air, and a small screw called the drain plug is removed, allowing the old oil to exit the car and be recycled. After all oil has drained, the oil filter is removed by being unscrewed. The new filter is attacked and the drain plug is reinstalled. After this, the car is lowered and new oil is put into the engine. The amount of oil is determined by the manufacturer and is in the owner’s manual. After the new oil is in and the cap is secure, the oil levels are tested and modified if needed. Once the correct amount is in, the car is ready to be returned to the owner. A new sticker with the next oil change due date is applied to the car windshield before it leaves.