oil battle Royale
So many choices. Synthetic? Blend? Conventional? Brand? Viscosity?
So many questions. Oil change interval? Switching brands? Changing between synthetic and conventional?
We'll get you started.
What grade / viscosity of engine oil is best for my car?
The million dollar question finally arrives!
There's no one answer, and not even one correct answer. Shocker.
If you really want to know more about engine oils, see the link below. It is hands-down the best introduction to engine oils we've found.
The first piece of advice we have is to check your owner's manual. There you will find the acceptable oil viscosities, usually a multi-grade like 0W40, 5W20, 10W30, 15W40, etc. Most vehicles have several acceptable choices depending on your driving habits and conditions.
Second, be sure to trust what your manufacturer says. They've done countless hours of engineering and testing using the same oil grades they're recommending in your manual.
Should I use synthetic or conventional? Or a blend?
If what grade of engine oil is the million dollar question, this has to be the trillion dollar question!
Most manufacturers will tell you that synthetic, synthetic blend, and conventional are okay for your vehicle. Others will say to use only one or two of the choices. Whatever they "REQUIRE", be sure to use. If they "RECOMMEND" something, go for it.
However, for a lot of us the choice lies solely in our own laps, as our cars don't care. So should you care? The answer is YES!
It's a confusing time for consumers in the engine oil world. Synthetic, Blend, Conventional, High Mileage, SUV/Truck/4X4, Older Vehicle - seems like there's several choices for every vehicle and consumers can be overwhelmed.
Rest assured, if you can run synthetic, you probably should. It is a better oil in regards to stability, protection, longevity, etc. Especially if you want to extend your oil change intervals.
AAA recently released a study of Synthetic vs. Conventional, using many top-selling brands. Their findings are that "On average, synthetic oils outperformed conventional oils in the conducted tests by 47 percent. The selected tests evaluated shear stability, deposit formation, volatility, cold temperature pump-ability, oxidation resistance, and oxidation-induced rheological changes."
And if you're asking the question of synthetic or not, you're not alone. The AAA study also found that "44 percent of drivers are either not sure if synthetic motor oil is better for their engine, or do not believe synthetic motor oil is better for their engine."
You can read the complete AAA report here: http://newsroom.aaa.com/2017/06/aaa-spills-truth-oil-changes/
Everyone has an opinion on type of oil, and many have a preference on brands of oil. We suggest you consult with your owner's manual, learn about engine oil basics via the link below, and choose the best oil for your given circumstances.
Can I switch between conventional and synthetic engine oils?
Most definitely. If your vehicle manufacturer specifies any type of oil (synthetic, blend, conventional) is acceptable, go for it!
Just be sure to use the grade / viscosity and API/ILSAC designation required.
You can switch between conventional, synthetic, and blended oils whenever you'd like. It won't hurt. Go back and forth if you want to. No matter how long you've been using one, you can always move to another.
how about brands?
Just like changing types of oils, brands can be interchanged and mixed whenever you'd like. We just recommend that you follow OEM requirements, stick to brands you trust, and use valid sources & channels. There's been plenty of people caught selling brand Y inside a brand Z package.
OIL CHANGE INTERVALS
"I've always changed my oil every 3,000 miles, and I ain't about to stop"
To each their own. But technology has changed drastically. Tires and TVs used to have tubes. And your oil used to need 3,000 mile intervals (and might still in some cases).
It's important to first follow OEM guidelines at a minimum. Then it's critical to understand the relationship between your chosen oils, your vehicles, your environment, your driving habits and vehicle duties, and so forth.
We typically tell our customers to first follow OEM procedures, then send a sample in for used oil analysis. Afterwards, after they've selected their preferred brand & viscosity, run a 3K oil change interval and send it to the lab. After positive results, extend 1K per interval, while continuing to sample at each change, until they've reached the desired interval. This desired interval depends on each unique application, but can often be 7-15K miles (much more for fleets & heavy duty but we're talking passenger cars here).