What's the Difference Between Synthetic Engine Oil & Conventional?
It may seem like the difference between conventional and synthetic engine oil is the price of an oil change. However, this is one of those times when you get what you pay for. Where conventional oil is refined largely from crude oil that comes out of the ground, synthetic oil is extensively engineered to perform better across all engine operating temperatures. While the superior protection of synthetic oil is reflected in the price tag, it also lasts longer so you don't need to purchase as many oil changes.
Does Your Vehicle Require Synthetic Oil?
More and more of today's vehicles are being manufactured to require synthetic oil. Advancements in automotive engineering have resulted in smaller tolerances between moving metal parts and higher operating temperatures. Conventional oil of the past simply doesn't provide the protection that these new engines require. To find out if your vehicle requires synthetic oil, check your owner's manual or touch base with a service advisor at your local authorized dealer.
How Often Should You Change the Engine Oil in Your Vehicle?
If you've confirmed that your engine allows for conventional oil to be used, then the classic rule of getting an oil change every 3,000 miles is probably still the best way to go. Older engines and those with high mileage need oil that's up to the task, especially if you do a lot of stop and go driving around town.
However, if you are using synthetic engine oil in your vehicle, it should last somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 miles before needing to be changed. This is because the compounds and additives in synthetic oil break down at a much slower rate than those of conventional oil.
Can you Change Your Engine Oil from Conventional to Synthetic?
Yes. Some time ago, when synthetic oil was new, there was an idea that synthetic oil and conventional should not be mixed. This meant going beyond the typical oil change to clean out the engine. Today, there's simply no need for this. Switching your engine from conventional oil to synthetic is simply a matter of draining the old oil, replacing the oil filter, and properly filling the engine with synthetic oil just like any other oil change.
To find out more, stop by and speak with the experts at Carter Volkswagen in Ballard. We proudly serve the VW service, repair, and maintenance needs of Kirkland and Redmond, WA.