A question that our customers ask is “What do you think about synthetic oil?” Our OPINION goes a little something like this..... We like synthetic oils. It is a better quality oil by far. Molecularly it does not break down like petroleum based or conventional oil, which means it is fighting against metal wear. We would suggest that everyone convert to synthetic oil. That being said, there is the idea that it lasts twice or three times as long in there as conventional oil, which molecularly is true, but it still will burn away because it is oil. When oil is new, it is a beautiful golden liquid, if you pour a little bit in a dish and try to light it on fire, it is not easy to do. Anyone who has changed their own oil, knows that when it comes out....it is anything but beautiful looking. It is black and stains anything it gets on. This blackness is a combination of fuel and carbon which is a naturally occurring event inside a combustion engine. If you pour this into a dish and attempt to light it on fire, it may result in a smoldering flame. The fuel and carbon that is infused in the oil IS combustible. This is why the oil will burn out of the engine if left in there for long periods of time (miles). We have found that somewhere between 4,000 to 5,000 miles, depending upon engine age, this seems to start occurring. The newer car service schedules have seemed to stretch between 5,000 to 7,500 miles between oil services, which usually lead to the inevitable 500 to 1,000 miles late visit to the shop :-) That is 8,500 miles or more in some cases! This has less affect on newer low mile engines, but as miles are accumulated, the metal wear that IS occurring with the longer intervals will now start to show, with oil not being on the dipstick after 4,000 miles. Some manufacturers have up to 8 quarts of oil in the engine, to make sure some is still in there at those longer intervals! The bottom line the oil is burning out of the engine which will always cause damage to things, catalytic converters, spark plugs, even air quality.
Even though synthetic oil is more costly than conventional oil, we would recommend changing it at normal 3,750 to 5,000 mile increments still. This way, it does not get a chance to “blacken up” severely and while it is in there, it is doing a fantastic job. We have vehicles coming into our shop with over 300,000 miles on them, and because of timely oil changes, the oil that comes out is not "stained tar" resulting in limited engine wear over those many miles. It truly is cheap insurance for your $20,000 to $60,000 investment in the vehicle. So if you intend on keeping your vehicle around with you and not having to carry around spare oil to make sure it still has some in it. Get that oil changed every 3,750 to 5,000 miles like clockwork WITH OR WITHOUT synthetic oil.