When It’s Worth Springing For Synthetic Motor Oil In Your Car

When It’s Worth Springing For Synthetic Motor Oil In Your Car
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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.

See also: How To Organise And Maintain Your Car To Save You Time Money And Effort

When Should You Consider Synthetic Oil [Consumer Reports]


  • Two filter changes to one oil change. Keep removing junk and keep it clean
    If you change oil every six months, change filter every 2 months.

    • That is crazy, most cars you would loose 500ml in the filter plus whatever spills out while you are changing the filter. just do both at the same time.

      • Change it every year along with filter and you will be fine, or every 10,000 – 15,000kms. Even with fully synthetic, anything more is a waste of money and time, unless you have some very heavy loads or extreme driving conditions.

        Synthetic will defiantly help your engine last longer and all new cars have a semi-synth as standard oil, but I would recommend changing them to full synthetic upon your first oil change.

        when I worked on haul pack trucks back in the 90’s we ran half the fleet on full synthetic oil and the other half on the stand stuff, we pulled all the heads on them after 50,000 hours of use, and all the synthetic oil haul packs engines looked like new inside, the ones running on standard oil, has sludge and looked like they needed and over haul and needed seals changed, and were burning oil. 5 litres of full synth oil will cost around 3 times as much , but how much is your car worth to you? 30 dollars for semi synth or 80 dollars for the full synth? or 2000-5000 dollars for a new engine after 10 years ?

        I guess it really depends on how much you change over your cars, do you keep them after 200,000kms or more or 10 years or more ?

    • I’d be more inclined to do it the other way around, but I change my oil very regularly.

    • how exactly are you going to change a filter without draining all the oil out of the engine???

      • My VE commodore has the filter on top of the engine, you wouldn’t lose any oil besides the oil soaked into the filter.

        • and for all the cars that dont use cartridge filters, but the screw in kind, located underneath the engine, should you drain the oil and re pour it in? Its a really tight-arse idea to not change the oil when you change the filter, i mean if your gona muck around with reusing dirty oil with a new filter, why not just soak your old filter in degreaser and reuse that as well.

    • The vehicles i’ve changed oil on, you can’t remove the filter without draining the oil first, otherwise you’ll end up with quite the mess…

  • I just wish synthetic. Was cheaper. 6l of it is almost the most expensive part of a service.

  • Synthetic oil IS overpriced as $hit as that’s what companies advertise you should use for the car and it’s the best, you’ll get extra power and all this sort of BS.

    99.99% of the time semi-synthetic is fine. Unless under race conditions, and I don’t mean the quick drag against ya mate, I mean ones that got for hours at a time close to redline like proper racers.

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