Pros and Cons of Synthetic Oil

Synthetic oil has been touted as a miracle lubricant for cars. In truth, there are very distinct pros and cons when it comes to using synthetic oils for cars and trucks.

The first thing to understand is there are different types of synthetic oils. The classic formation is one that is created in a laboratory. The oil is a collection of chemicals that are engineered to accomplish certain things such as increased lubrication and heat removal. There is a second form as well. It is known as mixed-blend synthetic oil and is part synthetic and part “regular” oil. Regardless, the pros and cons of both types of synthetic oils are fairly clear.

Pros of Synthetic Oils

The pros of synthetic oil are fairly easy to describe. Basic motor oil is the blood of the engine. It cools the engine, removes debris and lubricates the parts moving at incredible speeds. Synthetic oil essentially takes this incredible fossil fuel and improves upon it. Synthetic oil provides more lubrication, better heat removal and removes more debris. The better this process occurs, the better protection your engine will have. It really is as simple as that. If you want your engine to last, then synthetic oils are the way to go.

Cons of Synthetic Oils

There are a number of cons when it comes to synthetic oils. The first is the price. Synthetic oil is two to three times as expensive as a “regular” quart of oil. That can be an issue in this economic climate where every dollar counts. Still, most people feel it is better to pay a bit more now to avoid a very expensive engine repair job down the line.

The second con of synthetic oil is the hype. Synthetic oil is great, but it can’t cure cancer. The current marketing pitches seem to suggest it can. Let’s be clear. Synthetic oil is an improvement over most oil, but it is not perfect. You can’t drive 30,000 miles without changing it. You can’t drive in stop and go traffic without changing it regularly. You can’t over rev the car and not expect problems.

A third con has to do with whether synthetic oil is worth the cost for your situation. Consumer Reports did a study that showed little benefit to using it compared to normal oil. The issue isn’t so much that synthetic oil isn’t good, but that regular oil has been improved to the point where the difference isn’t particularly noticeable. There are a couple of exceptions to this. Synthetic is clearly superior for cars in extreme heat or cold climates. It is also generally viewed as superior when the car is being driven in a lot of stop and start traffic such as one finds in rush hour traffic. Still, a person living in a mild climate that doesn’t drive under harsh conditions doesn’t really need to spend the extra money.

There are definitely pros and cons to using synthetic oil in your vehicle. I use Mobile 1 in my last two cars and have had no engine problems [knock on wood!]. For me, the peace of mind is worth the extra cost.

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