Synthetic costs more, but has many advantages over conventional oil. Not every car needs it, however, so here are some guidelines to help you determine if it's best for your vehicle.
Photo by Mike Mozart
Compared to standard motor oil, synthetic oil takes longer to break down, can withstand higher temperatures and can flow easier in cold temperatures. Eric Evarts at Consumer Reports spoke with their chief mechanic and shared some scenarios when synthetic is the better option:
If you make lots of short trips, standard motor oil may never get warm enough to burn off moisture and impurities. That could hasten the breakdown of conventional oil. Also, if you live in a region with very cold winters or very hot summers, or if you use your vehicle for towing or hauling heavy material, synthetic oil won't break down as quickly... Another good use for synthetic oil is as a salve for older engines prone to sludge buildup. This gunky residue can block oil passages and lead to a quick death of an engine.
Synthetic oil costs more, but it could save you money in the long run. Synthetic lasts longer and thus requires fewer changes. Still, you should schedule to have it changed on a semi-regular basis. Longer lasting doesn't mean it lasts forever. You can read more about synthetic oil at the link below.
When Should You Consider Synthetic Oil [Consumer Reports]