4 Unique Facts About Synthetic Oil 

June 15th, 2015 by

Car Repairing


Your mechanic may have mentioned that you’d be better off switching to a synthetic oil over a conventional oil. Well that’s all well and good, but what does that actually mean?

Synthetic oil is similar to other lubricants, except it breaks down considerably slower than conventional oil. This results in a greater temperature range when determining whether your oil will remain fluid in the harshest elements.

It also maintains a better chemical stability, it resists oxidation and sludge issues, it can potentially improve fuel economy, and it could help elongate the life of your engine.

The negatives? Well, it’s a bit more expensive than “regular oil,” but that should be expected when it needs to be used less frequently.

Besides the advantages list above, we’ve found four interesting synthetic oil facts to help give you a better understanding behind the mystery of the synthetic oil change

It’s No Longer Necessary to Change Your Oil Every 3,000 Miles

It’s quickly become an old wives tale. Cars need to have their oil changed every 3,000 miles or the owner will risk the accumulation of a sludge-like substance, which would subsequently lower the car’s performance while also putting the vehicle’s parts in danger.

This is (about) half true. Sure, neglecting to change your oil could ultimately compromise your car’s performance and engines. However, checking every 3,000 miles is overkill. Experts typically suggest checking your car’s oil every 7,500 -10,000 miles, so your roundtrip, cross-country road trip would only require one oil change, not two.

Synthetic Oil Doesn’t Cause Oil Leaks

When synthetic oils first hit the market in the 1970s, they initially caused the vehicle’s seals to shrink. This resulted in irritating oil leaks, and the fear of these leaks has accompanied synthetic oil to the present day.

There’s no need to worry, as manufacturers have redesigned synthetic oil to assure that the seals will no longer shrink. Even a dated car that’s been operating on petroleum-based oil shouldn’t have any issues, unless the car already had preexisting cracks, in which case the synthetic oil could actually help reveal those issues.

The Oil is Designed to Tolerate Any Kind of Weather

Synthetic oil was created to operate under any conditions, whether in the cold or the extreme heat (some can endure engine temperatures of over 400°F).

In fact, that ‘W’ rating on the oil can represents the low temperature viscosity (the lower the preceding number, the better the cold start performance), while the second number indicates the high temperature viscosity (the higher the number, the thicker the oil).

Some Drivers Prefer to Start with “Regular Oil”

Some car owners avoid synthetic oils when they purchase a new car, hoping to wear down some of the car’s components to make sure they’re properly working. This “breaking in” period lasts from 500 to 5,000 miles (depending on who you talk to), and the switch to synthetic oil is intended to slow down the engine as much as possible.

Of course, this strategy is irrelevant if the purchased car already has synthetic oil running through it. While it’s not dangerous for the car to switch oils, most manufacturers would suggest sticking with the oil mentioned in the owner’s manual.