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The Myth of Synthetic Oil in Cars

by Dutch Silverstein November 15, 2016

Keeping your engine properly lubricated is crucial to avoiding costly damages under the hood. Most drivers know the importance of frequently changing their oil but a lot of drivers are beginning to exclusively use synthetic oils. There are a lot of differences that make synthetic oils a more popular choice but with that comes more myths and rumors. It’s important to make sure you know what’s true when it comes to oil for your engine so you can pick the one that best fits your car and its’ performance and life.

Importance of oil change

Over time your engine oil begins to collect metal flakes, debris and other excess buildup from constant use in your vehicle, which is why changing the oil is considered crucial. It may seem like just any old oil will be sufficient as long as it keeps the engine running smoothly but as with any other part of maintaining your car, knowing what is going into your car is an essential part of preventative maintenance. Keeping that in mind, here are some of the most popular myths that you should know the truth behind before deciding if you should avoid using any synthetic oils.

Let’s know some popular myths

Myth- Synthetic Means Fake: While its understandable why some would be quick to say the two are one in the same, synthetic motor oils are actually derived from the same types of crude oils and natural gases. The difference is that synthetic oil uses a higher quality and greater processed set of base oils than conventional motor oil and features different additives that provide extra protection against wear and tear for your engine.

Myth- Synthetic Oils Wear Down Engine Seals: One of the most common myths about synthetic oils is that they will deteriorate engine gaskets and seals and cause oil leaks in the engine. Actually, the thinner viscosity of synthetic oil can lead to discovery of smaller cracks or leaks and help you repair them before the damage is too extensive.

Myth- You Can’t Switch Back From Synthetic Oil: There is no truth to this myth as switching between conventional and synthetic oils won’t damage the engine. Synthetic oils are actually a mixture of both conventional and synthetic oil.

Myth- Your Oil Needs to be Changed Every 3,000-Miles: With advancements in oil chemistry and technology being made constantly, 3,000 mile oil changes are becoming less and less common. Most car manufacturers are recommending oil changes every 7,500 to 10,000 miles, thanks in large part to the advancements of synthetic oil. This is possible because synthetic oil is able to provide improved anti-wear protection that will keep it clean longer and also act to maximize the fuel economy.

Myth- You Can’t Use Synthetic Oils in Old Cars: This comes from the idea that the lower viscosity of synthetic oils will react poorly with the seals and will lead to leaks and cracking. This is completely untrue and has not been proven at all, in most cases, synthetic oil will enhance engine protection in older vehicles like they do in newer engines.

Myth- Using Synthetic Oils Means You’ll Change Your Oil Less: While synthetic oils help keep the engine clean and well protected, they don’t change the drain levels. Using synthetic oil will help the engine stay cleaner and maximize performance, but the oil change intervals are only determined by the manufacturer specifications.

Myth- All Synthetic Oils are Better than Conventional Oil: Personal preferences and opinions aside, just because an oil is synthetic doesn’t make it superior to conventional oil. It’s important to research and find a brand that you can trust because not all-synthetic oil does the same things or have the same amount of effects on your vehicle’s performance.

Car Engine Oil Dipstick

If any doubt, check your car’s manual

Keeping your engine well maintained is the most important part of owning a vehicle and oil changes are a key way to do that. While there are lots of myths surrounding synthetic oil and the adverse effects they can have on your engine, it’s important to do your due diligence before receiving any maintenance on your vehicle as synthetic oils can actually help vehicle performance and extend the time between needing oil changes. If you’re still uncertain which type of motor oil is best for your vehicle, you can always still consult your car’s manual to see if the manufacturer recommends any certain brand or type.

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