The importance of quality motor oil for cars, SUVs, and light truck engines cannot be overstated. Today’s engines demand the best forms. To emphasize this, many manufacturers present their products with the engineer’s recommended oil already installed.
While your car’s manufacturer considers the brand and type of lubricant to be important, you, the owner, should also prioritize getting the best lubricant for your money when you do your first oil change. But why would car designers prioritize correct routing so much?
It’s simply because today’s engines deliver more horsepower per cubic inch at higher rpm more efficiently than ever before. These performance qualities result in much higher operating temperatures.
The internal engine parts have much higher loads compared to previous years. These extreme conditions require the best lubrication.
Related: The 10 Best Places to Buy Motor Oil
In this article, we will examine the three different types of motor oils that you can choose for the first oil change in your vehicle and afterward. We’ll learn which of these types might be the best choice for your car and driving conditions.
In any case, if your car manufacturer tells you to, use the brand, type, and viscosity index of the oil that they recommend. In particular, if it provides a specific oil specification for your car, do your best to use that type of oil.
Look for specification information on the label of the oil you are purchasing. The people who built your car will know best how to extend its life. Consult your owner’s manual for this information.
For more information on oil viscosity and the benefits of choosing the right one for your vehicle, click here.
Conventional motor oil
Conventional (non-synthetic) oils offered today are advanced lubricants that have been tried and tested for many years. Therefore, these oils can work well for the average car and driver.
These lubricants are refined from crude oil stocks and then strengthened with several different additives. These additives help keep internal engine parts clean, improve lubricity, minimize the effects of moisture, keep contaminants suspended, and help the oil maintain its viscosity over time.
Each of the major oil brands will have its own unique blend of additives (e.g. Valvoline, Pennzoil, Castrol, Mobil, Shell, Amsoil, Redline, etc.). For this reason, you may find one or more brands that offer better fuel economy or quieter engine operation. Do not hesitate to take advantage of this information.
Read also: How to properly check your oil
Between oil changes, it is best to refuel with the same brand installed during the last oil change. However, adding a liter of another brand every now and then will not materially damage your engine.
Conventional oils have several disadvantages compared to synthetic blends or full synthetic oils. The variable viscosity in a multi-viscosity oil such as SAE 10W-30 or 10W-40 will gradually degrade. Over time, this oil will become more like SAE-15 oil due to the shearing of the oil molecules during engine operation.
Other disadvantages include: engine fuel economy may be worse; an increase in carbon and sludge deposits may occur; and during extreme engine operating conditions, accelerated wear of dynamic components is possible. This is especially true if you live in an area with extremely high summer temperatures.
The biggest advantage of regular oil is that it is the cheapest of all motor oils. The price can vary from around $3.00 to $7.00 per liter. Prices may be slightly lower online or at large discount stores.
Typical oil change interval
Since the viscosity of normal oil degrades over time, the life of this lubricant is not particularly long. Basically, this behavior limits oil change intervals to just 3,000 to 4,000 miles.
See also: 10 Signs You’re Overdue for an Oil Change
Synthetic Blend Motor Oil
As this subheading indicates, this type of oil is a mixture of conventional motor oil and synthetic oil. Added synthetic oil is intended to help extend oil life by improving your oil viscosity range.
As with conventional oils, blended (or semi-synthetic) lubricants contain similar additives to improve oil performance. The somewhat disconcerting quality of this product is that the amount of synthetics added to the petroleum base varies from brand to brand and can be as low as 30%.
No standard establishes mixing proportions for this product. And oil filters closely monitor their formulations. For this reason, there is no concrete way to determine what you are getting for your money.
Some of the other synthetic benefits accumulate in the blended oil. These include slightly better fuel economy; reduced risk of sludge and carbon and improved high-temperature performance.
In terms of cost, synthetic-blend oils fall between cheaper conventional oils and fully synthetic types. Expect to pay between $4.00 and $7.00 per liter for this type of lubricant.
Typical oil change interval
As for the oil change interval, don’t expect to get any longer life than you could with regular oils. This is applicable because knowledge of the mixture ratio has not indicated to expect a long period between oil changes.
Related: 4 Common Oil Change Scams You Should Know About
Is synthetic blend oil worth it?
Based on the nature of this product, there is little reason to recommend its use over traditional motor oil.
Fully synthetic motor oil
The last and most expensive of the three, synthetic oil, promises many benefits. But the “fully synthetic” terminology is misleading. And there are no standards for the filtration of this lubricant.
In this sense, fully synthetic motor oil is somewhat similar to the blended oil described above.
Synthetic oil is manufactured in different ways. Some synthetics use a petroleum base that has been heavily modified to improve its qualities.
A manufacturer starts with natural gas as a raw material and promises a cleaner final product. Others start with truly synthetic base oils derived from a series of man-made chemical compounds.
As with other types of oil, additives improve performance, but the synthetic qualities of this mouthpiece are very beneficial in four areas:
- First of all, these essential oils have a lower viscosity than regular oils. This reduces internal friction losses, which improves power and improves fuel economy.
- Secondly, the low viscosity characteristic is maintained more effectively throughout the operating temperature range. Therefore, a mixture, for example, SAE 0W-40, can be used in summer and winter. Ease of cold starting, excellent cold engine lubrication, and highly effective lubrication at the highest temperatures are achieved with full synthetic oil.
- Thirdly, synthetics are unlikely to lose their viscosity qualities. variable over time like traditional channels. They contribute to a very low accumulation of carbon and sludge. Additionally, the lower viscosity greatly improves the ability of synthetics to cool hot internal engine parts compared to conventional or even synthetic blend oils.
- Fourth, the stable long-chain molecules in synthetic oils can withstand higher loads than conventional oils. This standard reduces internal wear while powering any engine and can even help prevent LSPI.
A slight problem may occur in older engines due to the lower viscosity quality of full synthetic oils and their greater slippage compared to conventional oils. Thinner oil can flow through smaller spaces. So as a car ages, using synthetic oil can cause a small oil leak.
Some mechanics advocate switching to regular oil if this happens. For my part, occasionally cleaning up a few very small oil spills in the garage is a minor drawback compared to the improved engine life these routes accrue.
If your car’s engine is turbocharged, synthetic oil is essential. The very high temperatures inside a turbocharger require this type of oil to prevent damage to the turbocharger shaft and bearings, which are very hot.
Some people will have to consider the cost factor. Full synthetic motor oil prices can range from $8.00 to $12.00 per liter. Online sourcing can be one of the best options to keep prices low, as can purchasing 1-gallon jugs at a time.
See also: Best motor oils for high mileage vehicles
Typical oil change interval
Due to the improved performance of this oil, oil change intervals may be extended. Some oil manufacturers say intervals of up to 15,000 miles between changes are possible.
I recommend being careful in this regard. This distance may exceed the capacity of an oil filter for contaminants.
Comfortable change intervals can be between 6,000 and 7,500 miles if a high-capacity oil filter is also installed with each change. And if your car comes from the manufacturer with full synthetic oil in the crankcase, the car manufacturer’s recommended oil change interval should be followed.
Is synthetic oil worth it?
Synthetic motor oils are far superior to conventional and blended types. In every way, engine life and performance are improved.
The higher cost of these oils will be offset by longer engine life. It will be a great return on investment if you plan to have your car for many years.