Motor oil is a vital part of a vehicle's engine fluids. Oil helps to lubricate and to cool engine parts, keeping them in good running order for the life of the vehicle. If vehicle owners do not change engine oil regularly, it can thicken and form sludgy deposits that clog the engine. One big choice facing drivers is whether to use synthetic oil or standard oil. Understanding the differences and the benefits of each can help buyers make this huge decision.
Synthetic oil is oil made partially from crude oil and partially from other chemical compounds. Some synthetic oils are blends of compounds that do not come from crude oil at all. Each blend is slightly different and manufacturers guard the recipes for their specific blends. The ingredients lubricate engine parts and help to keep deposits from building up within the engine.
Benefits of synthetic oil
For most vehicles, synthetic oil requires changing less frequently, so it has a lower cost over the span of a year. Synthetic oil is also able to lubricate engine parts more easily and more quickly than standard oil does, which helps to provide vehicles with a better gas mileage and a longer lifespan for the engine. Synthetic oil also helps cars to start more quickly in colder weather because it is thinner than standard oil.
Standard, or conventional, oil is a blend of crude oil products and other additives, such as antioxidants, detergents, and dispersants. These help the oil to break down and remove corrosive agents as the oil moves through the engine. Each manufacturer uses a specific blend of additives in their oil.
Benefits of standard oil
Standard motor oil is superb for the breaking in period for new vehicles. For the first 8,000 kilometres, manufacturers recommend using standard oil to help the parts within the engine seat properly. If a vehicle has been running on standard oil for years or even decades, vehicle manufacturers recommend sticking with standard oil. Conventional oil is thicker, or more viscous, than synthetic oil, which provides a thicker coat of lubrication on engine parts.
Choosing between synthetic and standard
Synthetic oil is better for newer vehicles with newer technology under the bonnet. That is not to say that standard oil is not also a good choice, however. Deciding between synthetic and standard oils is more complicated than that. Manufacturers generally recommend that vehicle owners look at how long they intend to own the car and how often they prefer to change the oil. Owners who prefer changing their oil every 5,000 kilometres should opt for standard oil, while owners who prefer going longer between oil changes should opt for synthetic.
Vehicle owners who have a difficult time choosing may not have to choose at all. Synthetic oil blends help to combine the best of both products into one. These motor oils use both standard oil and synthetic in a variety of mixes to provide the benefits of both. Vehicle owners can go longer between oil changes, but they have the thicker viscosity of standard oil.
Whether oil is standard or synthetic, each bottle is labelled with a weight. This tells the buyer how thin or how thick the oil is. Oil companies display the weight in a combination of letters and numbers, such as 10W-30 or 5W-30. Lower numbers indicate thinner oil. The first number indicates the oil's viscosity at 0 F, while the second number indicates the oil's viscosity when the engine is at its operating temperature.
Each vehicle manufacturer determines the appropriate oil weight for each car, and indicates that range within the owner's manual. If owners are not sure which weight is the appropriate one, they can also check the inside of the driver's side door frame. Often, manufacturers include a sticker there that offers this information.
How to buy synthetic or standard oil on eBay
Once you know which type of oil you prefer, it is time to have some on hand to perform your next oil change. If you know the brand and weight of the oil you need, be sure to search by those specifications. Simply type the name and weight information into the search bar on any eBay page. From there, narrow down the results if necessary by using the categories that appear on the side of the page. Do not forget other items, such as oil filters, that make the oil change easier to manage.