Synthetic Oil: Everything You Need to Know

What is synthetic oil?

Synthetic oil is a lubricant artificially made by chemically modifying petroleum-based oils or synthesizing compounds. Unlike conventional oils derived directly from crude oil, synthetic oils or manufactured oils have specific properties and performance characteristics. These oils provide superior lubrication, protection, and performance for modern engines.

One of the main advantages of this oil is its consistency. It has a uniform molecular structure, which means it flows more smoothly and evenly throughout the engine. Consistency leads to reduced friction and wear on motor components, resulting in improved performance and longevity. Additionally, synthetic oil has a higher viscosity index, which means it maintains its viscosity better across various temperatures, allowing for better protection in the extreme cold and hot conditions in Ottawa, Gatineau and Kanata.

Synthetic oil also offers better resistance to oxidation and thermal breakdown than conventional oils. It can withstand higher temperatures without breaking down or forming deposits, resulting in cleaner engines and longer oil change intervals. Furthermore, these oils contain fewer impurities and contaminants, which helps reduce sludge formation and keeps engines cleaner

Benefits of using synthetic oil

Using manufactured oil in your vehicle offers several benefits over conventional oil. Here are some of the key advantages:

Improved engine performance: Synthetic oil’s superior lubricating properties help reduce friction and wear on engine components, resulting in smoother operation and improved horsepower and fuel efficiency.

Enhanced engine protection: Manufactured oil protects against engine deposits, sludge, and varnish buildup. It also has better resistance to oxidation and thermal breakdown, ensuring maximum engine protection even under extreme conditions.

Extended oil change intervals: Synthetic oil typically lasts longer than conventional oil, allowing for longer oil change intervals saving you time and money spent on frequent oil changes.

Better cold start performance: Manufactured oil flows more easily at low temperatures, ensuring quicker lubrication during cold starts, reducing engine wear and improving overall performance, especially in colder climates.

Improved fuel efficiency: Synthetic oil’s lower friction properties and better engine protection can help improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions, which is particularly beneficial for high-performance and turbocharged engines.

Synthetic oil vs regular oil

Whether you drive a cars, trucks, or SUVs, several factors must be considered when choosing between synthetic vs regular oil. Here’s a comparison of the two:

  1. Performance: Manufactured oil offers superior performance compared to regular oil. Its consistent molecular structure and better resistance to breakdown ensure better engine protection, improved fuel efficiency, and longer oil change intervals.
  2. Engine cleanliness: Synthetic oil has fewer impurities and contaminants, resulting in cleaner engines and reduced sludge formation. Regular oil, on the other hand, may contain more impurities, leading to increased engine wear and deposits.
  3. Viscosity: Manufactured oil has a higher viscosity index, which means it maintains its viscosity better across a wide range of temperatures, allowing for better protection in extreme cold and hot conditions. Regular oil may not flow as smoothly or provide the same level of protection in extreme temperatures.
  4. Price: Synthetic oil is generally more expensive than regular oil. However, considering its extended oil change intervals and improved motor protection, the cost difference may be justified for many vehicle owners.
  5. Compatibility: Manufactured oil is compatible with most engines and can be used instead of regular oil in most cases. However, it’s always important to check the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations before switching to this type of oil.

Different types of synthetic oil – 0w-20, 5w20, 0w20, 5w40

Different types of manufactured oil are available on the market, each with its own viscosity rating. The viscosity rating is represented by two numbers, such as 0W-20 or 5W-40. The first indicates the oil’s viscosity at low temperatures, while the second represents its viscosity at high temperatures.

  1. 0W-20 oil: This type has a very low viscosity rating, making it ideal for colder climates. It flows easily at low temperatures, providing quick lubrication during cold starts. 0W-20 oil is often recommended for newer vehicles and can help improve fuel efficiency.
  2. 5W-20 oil: Similar to 0W20 oil, 5W-20 has a low viscosity rating and is suitable for colder climates. It provides good engine protection and fuel efficiency. Many vehicle manufacturers recommend 5W20 synthetic oil for their vehicles.
  3. 0W-30 oil: This oil has a slightly higher viscosity rating at low temperatures than 0W-20 or 5W-20. It offers good engine protection and can be used in various temperatures. 0W-30 and 5w30 synthetic oil is often recommended for high-performance engines.
  4. 5W-40 oil: 5W-40 synthetic oil has a higher viscosity rating at both low and high temperatures than the previous types. Similar to 5w 30 synthetic oil, it provides excellent protection, especially in high-performance and turbocharged engines. 5W40 oil is suitable for a variety of climates and driving conditions.

It’s essential to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual or check with the manufacturer to determine your vehicle’s recommended viscosity rating. Using the correct type of oil ensures optimal engine performance and protection.

How often to change Synthetic oil – frequency and process

Changing your oil is an essential part of regular maintenance for new and used vehicles. While synthetic oil typically lasts longer than conventional oil, it requires periodic changes to ensure optimal engine performance and protection. The frequency of oil changes can vary depending on various factors, including the type of oil used, driving conditions, and the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  1. Frequency of synthetic oil changes: Most vehicle manufacturers recommend changing oil every 12,000 to 16,000 kilometres or every six months, whichever comes first. However, it’s important to note that this can vary depending on your driving habits and conditions. If you frequently drive in severe conditions, such as extreme heat or cold, dusty environments, or stop-and-go traffic, you may need to change your oil more frequently.
  2. Synthetic oil change process: Changing synthetic oil is similar to changing regular oil. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
  1. Gather the necessary tools and equipment, including a wrench, oil filter wrench, drain pan, new oil filter, and the appropriate oil type and amount.
  2. Park your vehicle on a level surface and engage the parking brake.
  3. Locate the oil drain plug underneath the engine and place the drain pan underneath it.
  4. Use the wrench to loosen and remove the drain plug, allowing the old oil to drain completely into the pan.
  5. While the oil is draining, locate the oil filter and use the oil filter wrench to remove it.
  6. Install the new oil filter by lubricating the rubber gasket with a small amount of new oil and tightening it by hand.
  7. Once the old oil has finished draining, reinstall the drain plug and tighten it securely.
  8. Refill the engine with the appropriate amount of new oil, as the manufacturer recommends.
  9. Start the engine and let it run for a few minutes to circulate the new oil.
  10. Check the oil level using the dipstick and add more oil if necessary.
  11. Dispose of the old oil and filter at a designated recycling facility.

Always consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for specific instructions and recommendations regarding synthetic oil changes.

How long does synthetic oil last?

One of the advantages of synthetic oil is its longer lifespan compared to conventional oil. While the exact duration can vary depending on driving conditions, vehicle type, and the specific oil used, this oil generally lasts longer than conventional oil.

On average, synthetic oil can last between 12,000 to 16,000 kilometers or up to six months, whichever comes first. However, it’s important to note that this is a general guideline and not an absolute rule. Some synthetic oils are specifically formulated for extended oil change intervals and can last longer.

To determine your vehicle’s optimal oil change interval, consult the manufacturer’s recommendations in the owner’s manual. Additionally, extreme temperatures, heavy towing, frequent stop-and-go driving, or operating in dusty or dirty environments may require more frequent oil changes.

It’s also essential to regularly check the oil level and condition using the dipstick. If the oil appears dirty or has a burnt smell, it’s a sign that an oil change may be necessary, even if it hasn’t reached the recommended mileage or time interval.

Proper maintenance and regular oil changes are crucial for optimal engine performance and longevity. Neglecting oil changes can lead to increased engine wear, reduced fuel efficiency, and potential engine damage.

Can you mix synthetic and conventional oil?

While it is generally not recommended to mix synthetic and conventional oil, in some cases, it can be done without causing significant harm to the engine. However, it’s essential to understand the potential consequences and limitations of mixing the two types of oil.

  1. Compatibility: Synthetic and conventional oils are formulated differently, and mixing them can affect the performance and properties of the oil. In some cases, mixing manufactured and conventional oil can cause the formation of sludge, reduced lubrication, and decreased engine protection.
  2. Potential issues: Mixing oil can reduce oil life and performance. Synthetic oils provide superior protection and longer oil change intervals. Mixing them with conventional oil can dilute their performance and reduce their effectiveness.
  3. Manufacturer recommendations: Following the vehicle manufacturer’s oil type and compatibility recommendations is always best. Most modern vehicles are designed to work optimally with synthetic oil, and using conventional oil may not provide the same engine protection and performance.

If you accidentally mix manufactured and conventional oil, changing the oil as soon as possible is generally recommended to avoid potential issues. Consult a professional mechanic or refer to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations for further guidance on your specific situation.

Choosing the best oil for your vehicle

Choosing the best oil for your vehicle is crucial for optimal engine performance and protection. Here are some factors to consider when selecting synthetic oil:

  1. Vehicle manufacturer recommendations: Always refer to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations and specifications regarding the type and viscosity of oil to use. The owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website will provide the necessary information.
  2. Viscosity rating: Consider the climate and driving conditions in which your vehicle operates. Choose an oil with the appropriate viscosity rating to ensure optimal engine protection in extreme cold and hot conditions.
  3. Performance specifications: Look for oils that meet the required performance specifications for your vehicle. These specifications can include API (American Petroleum Institute) and ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association) ratings. Using oils that meet these specifications ensures they have undergone rigorous testing and meet the necessary quality standards.
  4. Synthetic oil brand: Choose a reputable oil brand with a proven quality and performance track record. Well-known brands often invest in research and development to ensure their oils provide the best engine protection and performance.
  5. Price: Consider your budget when selecting oil. While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest option, remember that high-quality oils often come at a higher price. However, the added benefits and improved engine protection may justify the extra cost.

Considering these factors and consulting the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations, you can choose the best oil for your vehicle’s specific needs.

Common myths about lubricants

There are several myths and misconceptions surrounding manufactured oil. Let’s debunk some of the most common ones:

  1. Synthetic oil causes leaks: This is a common myth but not true. These oils are formulated to be compatible with seals and gaskets used in engines. If an engine develops a leak after switching to synthetic oil, it is likely due to pre-existing issues or worn-out seals.
  2. Synthetic oil is too thin: Manufactured oils come in various viscosity ratings, just like conventional oils. You can choose an oil with the appropriate viscosity for your vehicle’s needs. Synthetic oil’s ability to maintain its viscosity across a wide temperature range provides better engine protection than conventional oil.
  3. Synthetic oil is only for high-performance vehicles: This oil is suitable for many vehicles, not just high-performance ones. It provides superior engine protection, improved fuel efficiency, and extended oil change intervals, which can benefit any vehicle.
  4. Synthetic oil requires a special oil filter: While using a high-quality oil filter is always recommended, this type of oil does not necessarily need a special oil filter. Most oil filters on the market work with both manufactured and conventional oils. However, choosing an oil filter that meets the manufacturer’s specifications for your vehicle is essential.
  5. Synthetic oil is a waste of money: While a synthetic oil change price may be more expensive upfront, its benefits, such as improved engine protection, extended oil change intervals, and better fuel efficiency, can save you money in the long run. Additionally, this oil’s superior performance can help prevent costly engine repairs and prolong the life of your vehicle.

In conclusion, synthetic oil is a high-quality lubricant with several advantages over conventional oil. Despite common myths, it provides superior engine protection, improved performance, extended oil change intervals, and better fuel efficiency. Understanding the facts and choosing the right synthetic oil for your vehicle can ensure optimal engine performance and longevity.