Some of the most common questions we get about oil go back to the age-old debate of regular versus synthetic oil. Is synthetic oil really better for your car? Is it worth the extra cost? Can you change from regular to synthetic oil, or from synthetic to regular? Let’s get your questions answered.
Although synthetic motor oil is more expensive than conventional oil, you should use it if that’s what the manual specifies, as some engines, especially those tuned for performance, might require it.
Is Synthetic Oil Better for My Car?
Some vehicles, including most hybrids, require synthetic motor oil. If it says so in your owner’s manual, then you should be sticking to this requirement. One of the primary differences between synthetic and regular motor oil is how they react to changes in temperature. Synthetic oil flows better at subzero temperatures, and also maintains its lubricating abilities better once the engine heats up. In general, synthetic oils have a longer life than conventional oils and perform better in most vehicles.
Synthetic oil is often recommended for vehicles that run in cold climates due to their superior cold-weather viscosity and cold-starting characteristics. They also handle high-stress situations like pulling and towing better than conventional oils. Turbocharged engines often demand synthetic oil, as the high temperature and stress of lubricating a turbo will shear through conventional oil and can cause premature turbo failure.
Can I Switch from Conventional to Synthetic Oil?
Some mechanics will say that switching from conventional to synthetic oil is a bad idea. Contrary to popular belief, your engine won’t likely start leaking like a sieve the moment that you switch to synthetic. In fact, in general, you can switch back and forth between synthetic oil and conventional oil any time you want. If your engine does start leaking oil, it will most likely be because of a pre-existing engine problem that you should get repaired anyway.