It’s a question you should hear every time you get an oil change – conventional or synthetic? Your mechanic might tell you that synthetic is better – and almost always more expensive – but you probably don’t know why. Is he just trying to squeeze more money out of you, or is there really a difference?
In fact, there are several substantial differences between conventional and synthetic motor oils. They both start as crude oil pumped from the ground, but that is essentially where the similarities end.
Synthetic oil is not only refined, but distilled, purified, and further refined into smaller, more basic molecules. This not only removes more impurities from the crude oil, but lets individual molecules in the oil be tailored to the needs of your engine. These customized molecules provide higher levels of performance and protection than conventional oils, resulting in a less stressed, longer-lasting engine. Synthetic oils also typically have more additives to help them work better.
The first major advantage of choosing synthetic oil is that it keeps your engine cleaner. As oil circulates through your engine’s nooks and crannies, it will pick up deposits from the parts that it flows through. Over time, especially if you don’t change your oil often enough, conventional oils may form sludge by the impurities in the oil binding to these deposits – reducing your engine’s efficiency and ultimately shortening its lifespan. Synthetic oils contain fewer impurities and do a better job of resisting the formation of sludge.
Synthetic oils will also give your engine better protection from wear. Motor oil lubricates parts of your engine that are in constant contact with each other and moving at high speeds. In the extreme environment of an engine, components will wear and break down quickly without lubrication. Motor oil serves as the protective barrier between these components. As conventional oils break down, their ability to prevent wear diminishes. Synthetic oils can retain wear protection abilities for a much longer time and increase your engine life.
Another advantage of synthetic oils is that they flow better in low temperatures. You may know that, on a cold day, you’re supposed to let your car idle for several minutes to warm it up before driving. This is so that the oil can warm up and flow smoothly through your engine. Synthetic motor oils are engineered to flow quickly even at lower temperatures, and driving a cold car with synthetic oil in it shouldn’t cause any extra stress or wear on your engine components.
Finally, synthetic oils can also protect a hot engine better. The high temperatures in your engine can cause conventional motor oils to break down or evaporate, risking heavier wear on your engine. Synthetic motor oils are better able to resist this, especially important under the hot California sunshine.
Now that you have a better idea of the differences between conventional and synthetic motor oil, take the time to weigh the options yourself – are you satisfied with conventional oil and more wear on your engine, or would you rather spend a few extra dollars every few months for a longer lasting, better running engine? Whichever you choose, here at Orozco’s Auto Service in Long Beach we can do your oil change for you, so give us a call today!