Synthetic vs. Conventional Oil

The next time you walk into your local Northern Virginia auto repair shop for an oil change you will be asked the question, “Synthetic or Conventional?” For many, it may just come down to price and yes, conventional or regular oil is cheaper. But let’s look at the long term cost effectiveness and benefits to your vehicle’s performance and longevity. Should you make this decision based on price alone? No, and here’s why:

For many years, choosing your oil was dependent on its viscosity. If you were living in cold climates, for instance, high viscosity oils did not flow well in cold temperatures. On the other hand, straight viscosity oils did not protect the high performing vehicles who drove at higher speeds. Yet, oils have vastly improved over the years and viscosity breakdown is no longer the single determination of what motor oil to purchase. So, how do you determine?

When looking at the wear on the engine, conventional mineral-based oil does cause more friction on the engine as the molecules are inconsistent while synthetic oil molecules are smoother and more consistent. The less friction on your engine, the more efficiently it runs, using less gas. Furthermore, synthetic oils stand up to extreme temperatures and higher performance than their counterparts. They are easier on the car during start-up, their viscosity is far superior and can withstand high temperatures providing better lubrication prolonging engine life.

Conventional oils are also discredited due to their use of environmentally un-friendly petroleum. Although synthetic oils are chemically based, as well, the fact is you dump less of it into your car less often. Here- in lies how you are helping the environment using the synthetic. Because it lasts three times longer, so you use less oil over time. Also, how many argue synthetic is more cost effective… using less synthetic oil over longer periods of time will save you money in the long run.

Lastly, synthetic oils do not experience the chemical degradation that regular will, leading to the terrible engine sludge that will slow down your engine. Everyday driving will cause the chemicals in conventional oils to change while synthetic will not. Synthetic are cleaner as they were made in a laboratory and will not vaporize out as quickly.

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