Whether your vehicle requires synthetic oil or you just prefer it over conventional, it has a tough job to do. It sits in your oil pan until you flip the ignition in your vehicle then travels up to the valve gear just to come back down again so the engine will start. This happens at high speed. The oil is necessary to protect the engine’s parts, including the bearings, pistons, cylinder walls, and any other moving parts that are in close contact with the engine.
Once you have started the car, your oil continues to protect the engine, making sure it doesn’t overheat. This happens every time you drive, whether short trips or long highway journies. You may be pulling a load or simply going out to run some errands but each trip means the oil is in use. Bitter winters and hot damp summers also test your oil while it fights rust, dirt, and anything else that can clog the engine.
With all the jobs that the oil does in your vehicle, it’s up to you need to make sure you take care of it. The oil works hard to maintain the engine so you need to change it on a regular basis. You don’t want dirty and thick oil to cause damage.
How often should I change my synthetic oil, you ask? Well, it depends.
Synthetic Oil vs Conventional
Skip to the good stuff:
While some cars are required to use synthetic oil, others are not. That said, you might choose to use synthetic oil when you understand the difference between it and standard oil. Synthetic oils have been engineered to include petroleum and additives that make it last longer and stand up to tougher conditions than standard oil.
There are specific types of oil to meet various needs. Some are for light usage when you just do average driving. Others are for less frequent drivers and still more are designed for harder long term use. The best type of oil you can buy that is also the longest-lasting is synthetic oil. These products are specifically designed and produced from chemically modified petroleum products with additives to help reduce engine wear.
Using a synthetic oil means your vehicle gets better startup performance as well as better oil flow in the engine, even in cold temperatures. It also stands up to very hot temperatures without turning black and oxidizing. Many vehicle manufacturers are moving to use low viscosity oils to reduce the friction in a running engine and synthetic oils do just that. They have a lower viscosity than conventional oils and hold their lubricating properties longer, especially in extreme conditions.
Synthetic oil is more expensive than conventional oil but they tend to be cleaner and stronger while offering high-end chemical and mechanical properties. They can withstand extreme temperatures and do not have to be changed as often.
Intervals for Changing Your Synthetic Oil
People are always offering advice on when to change synthetic oil in your vehicle. There are a lot of different opinions but you really should rely on your owner’s manual to find the correct timing. Your vehicle’s manufacturer has specific recommendations that vary by model, make, and year. The recommendations range from 6,000 to 16,000 and usually include the suggestion to change the oil filter as well.
Most modern vehicles that use synthetic oil suggest that the oil should be changed somewhere between 7500 to 10K miles. This is a pretty safe schedule to follow if you can’t find the right info for your car. You can always call the manufacturer if you don’t have the owner’s manual or look for one online. That said, using the manual is important and also lets you look at some extenuating factors. If your vehicle is driven in severe conditions, you may need to change the oil more frequently. Synthetic oil lasts longer than conventional but still needs to be changed more frequently with extreme heat or cold. Dusty roads also affect the quality of the oil after a time.
The other benefit of newer cars is that they often have systems that monitor oil quality based on driving habits and conditions. They track the length of your car trip, engine temperature, and other engine specifications and use internal logarithms that use these variables to calculate and let you know when it’s time to have your synthetic oil changed.
In contrast, if your vehicle is older then you can find oil for it, tool. There are synthetics called “high mileage oil”. Valvoline makes a good synthetic high mileage oil. These particular oils have additives that are good for older engines with more miles on them. Make sure the synthetic oil you choose has the proper viscosity that your vehicle needs and then use your manufacturers’ suggestions for the intervals for changing it.
There is no hard and fast rule to answer the question, “how often should I change my synthetic oil?”
It varies on the make, model, and age of your car as well as your driving habits. The main thing to remember is to follow your vehicle manufacturer’s suggestions. They engineered the car and built it so they know what is best. The other person to rely on is your mechanic or oil change specialist. They will know what is best for your car with regard to oil change intervals. Changing your oil too often is a waste of your money but if you are not changing it often enough, you are going to hurt your engine.
Finding the proper interval is important to the upkeep and maintenance of your car as well as making sure you aren’t hit with an extensive repair bill from failing parts in the future.