Traditional Oil Change vs. Synthetic Oil Change

Traditional vs. Synthetic Oil ChangeIt’s well established by now that proper vehicle maintenance includes an oil change, with time between service depending on your specific vehicle. The range is as large as 3,000 to 10,000 miles on individual vehicles.

So, when you go in for a oil change, what do you say if your mechanic asks what kind of oil change do you want? Were you aware you even had a choice?

Well, it turns out you do have a choice. Generally your options are a traditional (conventional) oil change or a synthetic oil change. Which way you decide to go can depend on a few factors, including age and how many mile are on your car.

Now, your mechanic can go over what option is best for you and your vehicle, but if you want to walk in like an expert, here’s the difference between a traditional and synthetic oil change.

Traditional Oil Change

A traditional oil change is pretty much what it sounds like. Your mechanic will use traditional or conventional motor oil, which comes from petroleum. The biggest advantage of opting for a traditional oil change is it’s less costly than synthetic oil.

Traditional oil also contains properties that provide lubrication at high temperatures. Traditional oil changes are also recommended for new vehicles with less than 5,000 miles on them because they are still in the “breaking in” period and synthetic oil that early in the car’s run could hinder its performance.

Synthetic Oil Change

Much like a traditional oil change, a synthetic one is just what it sounds like it would be. This oil change uses oil that’s made up of high-performance fluids in an effort to improve the protective and lubricating properties of traditional motor oil. Although a synthetic oil change is pricier than a synthetic one, it still has some benefits.

For example:

  • Synthetic oil offers better lubrication, which can help keep the engine’s parts slick, which is imperative in high temperatures.
  • Synthetic oil does not break down as often as traditional oil does, which means you won’t have to take your car in for oil changes as much.
  • Synthetic oil leaves less residue, or deposits, on the engine’s components. Conventional oil can stick to engine surfaces after it breaks down, and can get “baked on” similarly to how cooking oil does in a frying pan.

Whether you take your car in for a traditional or synthetic oil change depends on preference and the status of your vehicle. If it’s relatively new and in good shape, you can’t go wrong with a conventional oil change. However, if you drive a vehicle that has a lot of mileage on it, or a high-performance vehicle, it might be worth your while to spend the extra money for a synthetic oil change. You can always talk to your mechanic beforehand if you’re unsure.