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Engine Oil - Full Synthetic and Synthetic Blend Explained

EVALUATING THE KEY DIFFERENCES OF FULL SYNTHETIC VS FULL SYNTHETIC BLEND MOTOR OIL

The question of whether to use synthetic blend vs full synthetic engine oil has been topic for discussion since semi-synthetic or synthetic blend oil was first introduced in the 1960's. The main considerations have to do with the higher price of full synthetic, which is commonly known as the superior choice when it comes to protecting your engine and insuring that the oil lasts long enough. Since many drivers find it hard to afford oil changes with full synthetic product, synthetic blends are offered by many manufacturers as a cost-effective, yet highly efficient alternative that is still superior to conventional mineral motor oil.

WHY IS FULL SYNTHETIC OIL USED MORE OFTEN?

Full synthetic oil is used more frequently for several reasons. In fact, manufacturers and car owners alike have recently began using it, because of the high efficiency of some synthetic brands. With better machining tools to build engines and higher grade material quality (metallurgy) comes engines that can be built and assembled to far tighter tolerances than a generation ago, and synthetic offers superior protection for these engines. The extended oil blend intervals of 5,000 -7,000 miles and the superior protection offered for power-intense engines are just part of the story. Some even talk about keeping your engine protected to more than 10,000 miles. Be cautious driving to the maximum mileage of your motor oil. The oil may last that long but the filters ability to keep the oil clean will not. Remember oil filters only filter out the larger particles and leave the smaller particles. These particles continue to accumulate and be problematic at higher mileage. Also, the oil filter has a capacity for filtering the oil and may go into bypass mode where you would get little to no filtering of the oil. This bypass mode may cause the Check Engine Light to go on.  Moreover, OEMs recommend synthetic for better protection under warranty and longer drain intervals.

THE BASICS OF PART-SYNTHETIC MOTOR OIL

Part-synthetic oils are a blend between synthetic and mineral oils. They were first introduced by Mobil in 1966, and are typically engineered to offer similar benefits as their full synthetic counterparts, but at a much lower cost. This isn’t the case, since even with high performance additives, the best blends of synthetic and mineral oil are not capable of reaching the same performance. Semi-synthetic motor oils are also not fully regulated by clear cut standards regarding the concentration of mineral or synthetic compounds. As a result, great care must be taken when choosing the exact composition that would offer a suitable level of performance when it comes to your own vehicle. If you need some help, call us at Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission we will help you keep your car “Road Ready”.

PRICING DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SYNTHETIC AND BLEND

When it comes to the cost, synthetic blend vs full synthetic is no contest at all. Synthetic oils are about 30% more expensive as the average synthetic blend, and their increased life span doesn’t always compensate for that cost. However, for a typical price difference of $8 to $9 per 5 qt, car owners can enjoy benefits such as the use of engine oils that are three times stronger against viscosity breakdown and far better behavior when subjected to high pressure and temperature fluctuations.

FULL SYNTHETIC VS. SYNTHETIC BLEND CHANGE INTERVALS

The amount of time you can wait before changing your oil differs greatly between conventional and synthetic oils, however, synthetic blend engine oil is much closer to the average full synthetic change interval. Even on the lower end, synthetic motor oil can still last for 5,000 miles before you need to change it. The most expensive synthetic brands can go up to 10,000 miles. With a semi-synthetic brand the figures are less impressive, however, the average change interval is in the vicinity of 3,000 – 5,000 miles.

THE LONG-TERM USE OF SYNTHETIC VS. SYNTHETIC BLEND OIL

Statistics show that 45% of all cars, SUVs and pickup trucks currently use synthetic blend or full synthetic oil. How will they fare in the long run? Compared to the two, conventional oil can help your car reach 200,000 miles with ease. Due to improved chemical and shear stability, better high and low temperature viscosity performance, a better viscosity index in general, and far greater resistance to oxidation, oil sludge concerns and thermal breakdown, full synthetic compounds are known to increase the odds that your car will live longer. By comparison, in the case of synthetic blend vs full synthetic, the differences can vary as a result of the concentration of mineral oil, which can reduce the performance of the oil and decrease the overall longevity of your engine.

Whether you use full synthetic or a synthetic/mineral oil blend be sure to use the manufacturers recommended viscosity. Use 5W30 if your car requires 5W30 viscosity motor oil regardless of whether it is synthetic blend or synthetic/mineral oil blend. A rule of thumb is it’s perfectly acceptable to use a better motor oil than the manufacturer requires, but don’t use a synthetic blend in a motor that requires a full synthetic or mineral oil product in a car that requires a synthetic blend or full synthetic. Remember to always change your filter with each oil change. If you are not sure what kind of oil your car requires, you can look through you owner’s manual or you could see us at Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission and we will help you get the proper lubricant for your vehicle.

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