Synthetic Oil Vs. Regular Oil: Which Is Right For Your Vehicle?
If you live in Edmonton, chances are you are commuting to work. This means you'll eventually need an oil change in Edmonton! Oil changes are a part of your regular vehicle maintenance schedule.
When it comes to oil changes, do you know whether your vehicle takes synthetic or regular oil? Many people trust their mechanic with this decision, but as a vehicle owner, you should also know the difference.
Let’s dive into the differences between synthetic and regular oil, and highlight a few advantages of each.
What is Synthetic Oil?
Believe it or not, synthetic oil was a German development from World War II. The Allied Forces cut-off Germany from an oil supply, forcing them to develop alternatives. One of these alternatives was synthetic oil. Almost a century later, synthetic oils have come to dominate the market.
As the name suggests, synthetic oil is a human-made lubricant for all types of vehicles, from passenger jets to sedans. Like traditional oil, it's still a petroleum product, but it's been chemically modified - hence why it's called synthetic.
This manipulation of the formula and additives means synthetic lubricant looks quite different at the microscopic level. Traditional oil contains millions of molecules that are all varied in size and shape. A drop of synthetic, on the other hand, is made up of molecules very close in size and shape.
Synthetic oil may be modified to improve consistency, expand temperature range, and for specific applications.
Advantages of Synthetic Oil for Your Vehicle
Many people will remember having to change their oil religiously every 5,000 kilometres. But, with synthetic oil, most last for double the amount of distance, if not more.
Most automakers and lubricant companies recommend changing your synthetic oil every 10,000 kilometres (or every six months). You'll even see suggestions of 15,000 kilometres or more with premium synthetic oils.
Inside your engine, there are a lot of moving parts, which move at incredible speeds. Your engine's performance hinges on the lubricant's viscosity to facilitate the rapid movement of these parts.
Also, synthetic oils often have additives and formulas designed to work in different climates. In Edmonton, temperatures often swing wildly. So, you'll want your oil to maintain its performance level no matter what's happening outside.
If you've ever tried to change your own oil, you know how dirty the motor can get between changes. This is because as the oil moves through your engine and is exposed to high heat, it breaks down over time. Eventually, it will begin to leave grimy deposits throughout your engine.
But this is less of a problem with synthetic oil. It's engineered to run cleaner, break down slower, and, therefore, leave less sludge throughout your engine.
Advantages of Regular Oil for Your Vehicle
Cheaper Than Synthetic
As a less manufactured product, conventional oil has less production costs, which boils down to a lower cost per litre when compared with synthetic lubricants. Which isn't so much of a benefit for your engine, as it is for your wallet.
Not Ideal for Cold Storage
While rare, the additives within synthetic oil may begin to separate after prolonged periods in a cold environment. Again, an unlikely circumstance, but it is possible.
Are you planning on putting your vehicle into storage for the Winter? Ask your mechanic for advice on the best type of oil to use during your next oil change in Edmonton.
Getting an Oil Change in Edmonton? Which Oil is Right for Your Vehicle?
Your owner's manual is your best friend when choosing synthetic or conventional motor oil for your vehicle.
The manual will almost always recommend one or the other and likely highlight several suggested formulas (for example, 5W-20 or 5W-30 oil). Some formulas suit heavy highway driving and towing, while others work for shorter commutes.
But even with your manual in hand, we often hear from our customers that they are still worried about making the wrong choice of motor oil for their car or truck. This is where we come in. We can help you translate all the mechanical jargon to choose a motor oil that will support your vehicle's performance.
Bruce Stewart Automotive Can Help!
Looking for a local mechanic for your next oil change? Bruce Stewart Automotive is a CAA-approved total-care Edmonton mechanic. Whether you need regular maintenance or repairs, we aim to provide fast and reliable services.
We also want to help everyone better understand what's happening under the hood, including the ins and outs of motor oil. So beyond our usual-friendly and informative service, we also offer classes. Learn the best oil for your vehicle, how often to change it, and what to look for when checking it yourself.
Stay tuned for updates on our upcoming car care courses, and register for the next class here! Perfect for students, young adults, or anyone who just wants to get a better grasp on caring for their vehicle.
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