To Do or Not To Do: Synthetic Motor Oil Versus Conventional
Getting an oil change for our car is something we routinely do, such as brushing our teeth, but we rarely get right. Just like the presence of cavities, oil sludge and other detrimental build up in our motor is attributed to improper care and maintenance. Instead of trying to save money in the short term by getting the cheapest service for your car, exercise care and long sight by being informed before making the decision on your next oil change.
First and foremost, changing your motor oil at regular intervals (usually around 5,000 miles, but check with car manufacturer) is extremely important. Motor oil lubricates your motor and its moving parts. Without proper lubrication, your engine is essentially running metal to metal. When the heat increases, the metal will start to warp and your motor will eventually seize and the damage will be insurmountable. You are essentially left with a very expensive paper weight.
Motor oil also helps clean your motor. A brand new engine needs to be broken in. What this means is as you add mileage with the breaking in process, small metal shavings will come off the motor and into the oil. This process occurs throughout the lifetime of the motor, but it should be in a miniscule amount. It is important to change the motor oil frequently at the recommended intervals because the accumulation of these metal shavings and other “gunk” can and will foul up your engine.
Like anything that is organic and frequently used, motor oil will break down (like chewing gum). When left in your motor for a long time (that is if the motor oil doesn’t all become evaporated), the oil starts to thicken and a process called “sludge buildup” occurs. The residue of the motor oil is problematic, because it hinders the mechanical movement of your motor. Once built up, it is very hard and expensive to remove. It is cheaper and better for you to change your oil frequently.
There is a lot more to synthetic oil than the $60 or so you paid for your oil change. Most motor oil, or conventional oil, is made from crude oil. Synthetic oil is derived from crude oil, but chemically altered so its properties are more stable. What this means is your oil will be more predictable – your oil will be more accurate in its temperature coverage, be more resistant against breakdown and oil sludge problems, be better in lubrication, and possibly better gas mileage. In short, it should prolong your engine life.
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If you do opt for the synthetic option, be sure it is full synthetic. Some companies offer oil that is a blend of conventional and synthetic. Another note is that it is cheaper to change your own motor oil, since most of the price goes towards labor. Generally speaking, a jug of full synthetic oil and oil filter runs under $30.
If you take good care of your car via preventative maintenance, your car should last you a long time. Failure to do so will mean expensive repairs down the road. With anything mechanical, your car will naturally breakdown from wear and tear. Being proactive about it means saving money and future troubles. If you have any further questions or inquiries, stop by our Los Angeles auto repair shop and we will be more than happy to assist you.