Every car needs regular engine oil changes to keep running. If you still use traditional oil in your vehicle, your technician may have suggested that you switch over to synthetic oil. But what are the benefits of synthetic oil?
Although you may think so, synthetic oils are not just car care companies’ marketing tricks. They can help all cars run longer and better and may save you a good chunk of money in the long run.
Read on to learn the top 7 benefits of using full synthetic oil in your vehicle.
The Benefits of Synthetic Oil
Why should you swap to fully synthetic oil? If your car has run just fine with conventional engine oil, you might be hesitant to make the change. That’s understandable — engine oil is vital for your car, so you may not want to mess with it without a good reason.
But the fact is there are multiple advantages to switching to synthetic oil. Here are the most important benefits:
An engine oil’s viscosity describes its resistance to flowing — in other words, how thick the oil is. Poor viscosity can make the oil flow through your engine difficult. This can be an issue with modern, compact car engines with thin oil lines and pathways.
Synthetic oils have better viscosity than traditional engine oils. They can easily flow into your engine even through the most narrow lines. As a result, they can help your engine run smoother with adequate lubrication.
- Weather Performance
Traditional engine oils can struggle to deal with both high and low temperatures. This is a particular problem in northern Virginia since our summers are hot and humid. Meanwhile, in winter, freezing temperatures are normal.
Cold weather can increase the oil’s viscosity, making it harder for it to circulate when you start your vehicle. Hot temperatures, on the other hand, can make traditional oils evaporate and deteriorate.
Synthetic oils deal with both weather extremes much better than conventional oils. They flow smoothly even in the winter months while also enjoying higher stability under high heat.
- Engine Protection
While your engine runs, its components are constantly grinding against each other. The engine oil’s job is to provide lubrication to prevent extensive damage to the parts. Extreme temperatures and poor viscosity can make it difficult for conventional oils to flow throughout the entire engine.
With their better flow characteristics and temperature resistance, synthetic oils better protect your engine. You can get more mileage from your car when your engine parts don’t wear down prematurely.
- Oil Lifespan
A lot is going on in your engine. As a result, the oil circulating through the engine gets exposed to multiple harmful conditions, from combustion and oxidation to water and particle contamination. These conditions can degrade conventional oils quickly and turn them into thick sludge that clogs your oil lines.
Synthetics, on the other hand, are better at resisting all kinds of degradation. They stay in good condition much longer than traditional oils.
- Turbocharger Protection
Many new vehicles come with turbochargers and very compact engines. The temperatures in turbochargers can rise even higher than those in conventional engines, and they also spin much faster. These high-performance parts must get proper lubrication.
As you’ve learned, traditional engine oils degrade quickly in high-temperature conditions. They may also struggle to lubricate all parts in compact engines properly. Synthetic oils flow effortlessly through turbocharged engines and can resist the high heat of these components.
- Improved Mileage
The harder your engine works, the more fuel it consumes. Without proper lubrication, your engine components can have difficulty turning correctly. As a result, they can wear down fast and consume much more fuel than is necessary.
Due to their better viscosity, synthetic oils can flow into parts that conventional oils may not easily reach. You’ll get better lubrication for your engine that helps its components move effortlessly. Synthetics may give your car better mileage in certain conditions.
- Fewer Emissions
Last but not least, using synthetic oil can help your car run cleaner. Since it lubricates your engine better and flows more easily, your vehicle will waste less energy and burn less fuel. And the less fuel you burn, the fewer emissions you spew out of the tailpipe.
Synthetic oils also resist contamination better than conventional oils. Engine oil contaminants can get scorched by the motor’s high heat, which not only degrades the oil but also produces combustion emissions. With synthetics, your oil stays cleaner longer and can help further reduce engine emissions.
What is Synthetic Oil?
You’ve learned a lot about the benefits of synthetic oil. But if you’re not exactly a gearhead, you may still be wondering what synthetic engine oil is.
Synthetic oils aren’t a recent invention — they’ve existed for nearly 100 years. Synthetics consist of base oil, into which manufacturers add various additives to improve its characteristics. They are generally divided into three categories:
- High-grade full synthetic oils
- Low-grade full synthetic oils
- Synthetic blends
Unlike traditional engine oils, high-grade full synthetic oils are not made from crude petroleum oil. Instead, the base oil consists of artificially made chemical compounds. By making their own base oil, manufacturers can more closely control the oil’s performance.
Some lower-grade synthetics still use crude oil as their base. However, this petroleum oil is more refined than the stuff you find in traditional oils. The refinement process gives the oil a more consistent molecular size and higher purity, resulting in better performance characteristics.
Finally, there are synthetic blend oils. As you may guess, these engine oils are a mix of conventional and synthetic products. Generally speaking, they are better than simple traditional oils. That said, they can’t compete with full synthetic oil.
Are There Downsides to Synthetic Oils?
The significant number of benefits synthetic oils offer can make them seem like a silver-bullet solution to all your engine oil issues. But although they perform better, they have one significant downside.
Simply put, synthetic oils are much more expensive. Since they’re formulated from a highly refined crude oil or a completely artificial base, manufacturing synthetic oils is more costly and laborious. Naturally, this will increase their cost.
Synthetics can cost six to ten times more than traditional engine oil. Due to the high price tag, some drivers are hesitant to switch to synthetics.
But the initial cost is a bit deceiving. Although you may pay more upfront, synthetic oils can save you money in the long run. Their better performance can significantly extend the lifespan of your car’s engine and may help you avoid costly repairs.
Think of switching to synthetic oil as a long-term investment in your vehicle. Sure, you may pay more today. But you’ll save money down the line by taking better care of your car.
How Often Do I Need to Change Synthetic Oil?
Synthetic engine oils will last longer than conventional oils and can keep your vehicle running for longer. But time makes fools of us all, and even synthetic oils will degrade eventually. As such, you still need regular oil changes.
Some synthetic oil manufacturers boast that their oils can last tens of thousands of miles. However, they likely achieved these impressive results during strictly controlled tests that don’t resemble real driving conditions.
A good rule of thumb is to get a synthetic oil change every 6,000-15,000 miles. For a more accurate service interval estimate, it’s always best to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual. The frequency of oil changes will also change depending on your driving habits, your vehicle’s make and model, and whether you regularly drive long distances or in extreme weather conditions.
If you’ve only recently changed to synthetics, you may also need an oil change sooner rather than later. Synthetics can clean deposits and sludge left behind by traditional oil. This is a good thing, though — a clean engine is an engine that lasts longer.
Reliable Oil Change Service in Chantilly and Warrenton, VA
Synthetic oils are great options for northern Virginia. Both our hot summers and freezing winters degrade conventional oils very quickly. The superior characteristics of synthetic oils can resist these varying conditions and help extend your car engine’s lifespan.
At Advanced Automotive, we’ve been offering engine oil changes in Chantilly and Warrenton, VA, for more than 35 years. Our highly-educated and ASE-certified technicians are familiar with all car makes and models.
We’ll change your oil quickly and professionally at an affordable price.
If you have questions about switching to synthetic oil, we can help you make the right decision. We offer a free courtesy check with every oil change. Based on the results, our technicians will give you a completely pressure-free opinion on whether your vehicle would benefit from swapping to synthetics.
And while we change your oil, you get to enjoy the comforts of our waiting area. We offer complimentary coffee, tea, Wi-Fi, and television to keep you relaxed while you wait.
Book an oil change appointment online today. You can also call our Chantilly location at (703) 952-3221 or our Warrenton location at (504) 353-6435.