Synthetic Motor Oil – Does It Live Up To The Hype?
July 16th, 2015
In the last ten or so years, almost all automakers have recommended synthetic motor oil for their vehicles. At St. Lucie Battery & Tire in West Palm Beach, FL, we do oil changes with synthetic or conventional oil, and occasionally have motorists ask us if synthetic motor oil is really worth it. The answer:
An unequivocal yes.
Synthetic motor oil is more chemically stable and uniform at the molecular level. That means it retains its viscosity better across a wide range of temperatures, enhancing its lubricating properties. It’s much less prone to degradation from carbon and other contaminants and won’t break down as quickly in high heat conditions.
Shear stability refers to the oil’s resistance to being squeezed out altogether in very tight clearances, such as around the oil pump, camshaft, rod bearings or piston rings. Conventional motor oils rely on viscosity index improvers and other additives to increase their shear stability, while synthetic oils are inherently much more resistant to shearing.
It’s true that synthetic motor oil is about double the cost per quart, compared to conventional motor oil. The upside of that, however, is an oil change interval of 12-15,000 miles (always check your owner’s manual for recommended oil change intervals). In the end, the cost balances out.
In the end, a switch to synthetic motor oil can mean a much longer service life from your car’s engine, thanks to better wear protection and heat dispersion. Its reduced friction can even result in another mile or two per gallon!
At one time, it wasn’t advisable to switch from mineral-based oil to synthetic…there were instances reported of oil leakage and oil consumption after switching over. Improvements in synthetic oil formulations have made that a thing of the past, though; it’s now perfectly safe to switch from conventional oil to synthetic, even on a high-mileage vehicle.
Are you thinking about making the switch to synthetic oil? Or is it just time for an oil change? Give us a call at St. Lucie Tire & Battery in West Palm Beach, FL – or schedule an appointment and we want to help you get the most out of your automotive investment, and we’ll get you taken care of!
Posted in: Auto Repair 101