There you are, waiting at the mechanic, thumbing your way through an old Men’s Fitness Magazine while second guessing that free coffee you just drank, then, a voice.. “Regular or Synthetic oil?”
Though we always suggest to follow the manufactures recommendations, at first glance, regular oil’s cheaper price may stand out. So why spend twice as much on synthetic oil when a regular oil change is about half of the price? Let’s explore the pros and cons:
Regular Oil Pros:
- Apparent lower cost
- Some pre 1980 cars require a non synthetic oil due to the design of the lubricating systems of those engines.
(Standard oil should be used whenever the manufacture recommends so)
Regular Oil Cons:
- Shorter lifespan, 3000 mile intervals
- Engine gunk build up over time if not changed regularly
- Higher maintenance needs and potential engine for failure
- More frequent oil changes
Synthetic Oil Pros:
- Longer lifespan, over 6000 miles (In some cars like Porsche intervals are every 15,000 miles)
- Higher quality ingredients
- Less build up over time
- Higher resistance to heat and breakdown
- Better for the environment
- Higher cost is offset by less oil change intervals
Synthetic Oil Cons:
- Anti solidification ingredients can degrade the oil over time
- Some cheap synthetics may have inferior additives that deteriorate quickly
Regular motor oil, the cheaper option oil, is a petroleum based product that may contain impurities that can, over time, clog engine parts. If changed on a frequent basis as recommended it is acceptable for normal driving conditions on older cars that do not drive long distances or in extreme weather conditions.
Synthetic oil on the other hand is a man made product designed to have less resistance within the engine, therefore allowing it to withstand higher temperatures for longer periods of use.
Especially valuable in higher temperature turbo engines where regular oils cannot withstand the temperature load. These longer lasting results also translate into fewer oil changes over the course of a year.
The smartest choice between the two should then be based first on the car manufactures suggestions, and for most newer cars synthetic is the oil of choice. In direct cost comparisons, the over all a yearly budget for both balances out due to the frequency of changes (or lack there of) during the year. To the well informed the choice is often based on quality of protection and lower maintenance cost and intervals rather than initial oil prices.
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