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May 17, 2021

Synthetic vs. Conventional Oil Change: Car Oil Types Explained

Your car needs motor oil to help its engine function smoothly and effectively. There are different types of motor oil to consider, and this oil will need to be regularly changed if you want your car's engine to perform at its best.

Learning about the types of motor oil and the reasons for regularly changing this fluid will help you make smart decisions regarding car maintenance. Let's dive in.

Why Is It Necessary to Change Your Car's Motor Oil?

Your car's motor oil serves an important role: It makes sure your car's engine is adequately lubricated. By doing this, it can ward off rust and erosion and help prevent the engine from failing prematurely. Motor oil wasn't designed to last forever, and it becomes less effective with age. For this reason, it's important to regularly change your car's motor oil if you want this fluid to do a good job of protecting the engine. If you want to know how often your car's motor oil should be changed, check the vehicle's owner's manual.

What Is an Oil Change?

The term "oil change" is used to describe the process of removing a car's old motor oil and replacing it with fresh fluid. However, an oil change doesn't stop there; this service also includes removing and replacing the vehicle's oil filter. Both the oil and the oil filter support your car's performance. As such, an oil change does a lot to protect the overall health of your vehicle.

Car Oil Types Explained

Two of the most popular types of motor oil are synthetic and conventional. So, what's the difference between synthetic and conventional oil? Read on to learn more about what each type of oil has to offer.

Synthetic Motor Oil

Synthetic motor oil is designed to deliver excellent performance in extreme temperatures. If you live in an environment with weather that's very hot or very cold, this type of oil is a good match.

Its unique qualities may lead you to wonder: What is synthetic oil made of? This type of motor oil is highly refined. It's created from materials that have been chemically engineered, such as petroleum components. However, distilled crude oil is typically used as its base.

Compared to conventional oil molecules, synthetic oil molecules have a more uniform shape and fewer impurities. Also, synthetic oil typically includes higher performing additives than the additives found in conventional oil.

Because it has fewer impurities, synthetic oil tends to last longer than conventional oil. It also tends to produce fewer emissions. Additionally, relative to conventional oil, synthetic oil does a better job of optimizing your car's fuel economy.

There are two grades of synthetic motor oil: full synthetic and synthetic blend. A full synthetic is the purest type of synthetic motor oil, with the highest level of refinement. A synthetic blend is one that blends conventional oil with a synthetic.

Conventional Motor Oil

What about conventional motor oil? This type of motor oil is derived from crude oil, and it's less refined than its synthetic counterpart. Conventional motor oil tends to be less expensive than synthetics and synthetic blends.

Synthetic vs. Conventional Oil Change

We've established that there are clear differences between synthetic and conventional oil. Do these differences impact the way oil changes are handled with each of these fluids?

The answer to that question is yes. Synthetic oil lasts longer than conventional oil. As a result, a synthetic allows you to travel longer distances between oil changes than its conventional counterpart.

What Kind of Oil Does My Car Take?

If you want to figure out what kind of oil your car takes, refer to your vehicle's owner's manual. The manual will shed light on which oil type is the best match for your vehicle.

What if you don't have the manual handy? Another option is to look up the recommended oil type for your vehicle online. With a simple online search, you can access tools that allow you to find out the best type of oil for your car by entering the vehicle's year, make, and model information.

How Much Oil Does My Car Need for an Oil Change?

You've learned about the different types of oil, and you now know how to research what kind of oil your car takes. At this point, you're likely wondering how much oil your car needs for an oil change.

The amount of oil that your car needs for an oil change will depend on the size of the engine. The exact oil volume is usually shown within the car's owner's manual. Many engines require five to six quarts of oil, but there are variances at both ends of the spectrum. A small four-cylinder engine may need just four quarts. A much larger engine may require up to eight or nine quarts of motor oil.

What's the Best Car Oil Change Near Me?

You can get your car's oil changed at nearby gas stations and auto repair shops. Additionally, some tire shops also offer oil changes.

Final Thought

Oil changes can help protect the life of your car's engine. Getting this service performed in a timely manner can help you avoid costly engine repairs.

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