Medicine Hat Autobody Expert – Kevin Elsdon

Does switching between conventional and synthetic oils cause problems?

For years, drivers were warned that switching a vehicle to synthetic oil after years of conventional oil could lead to problems such as leaking around gaskets or even burning oil. The newest formulations of synthetic oil have done away with those concerns, and synthetic oil has proven superior in about every respect:

Conventional motor oil is prone to thin out at high temperatures and thicken in cold weather. Neither scenario is good, as it’s vital that motor oil make its way to the engine’s upper components (valves, camshaft, lifters, etc) within the first few seconds after startup. Synthetic oil is stable across a wide range of temperatures, and won’t thin out or become viscous.

Synthetic oil is more stable and uniform at the molecular level, with a greater shear strength. “Shear strength” refers to the oil’s ability to stand up under pressure—under extreme pressure, the molecules of conventional oil can literally be torn apart. This stability means that synthetic oil is a good choice for the extremely tight tolerances of modern engines.

Conventional oil, despite a high degree of refining, will still contain impurities like paraffin molecules. Synthetic oil is 100 percent pure, and its enhanced detergent additives can keep the engine cleaner—that’s why synthetic oil can easily go 8-10,000 miles between oil changes.

Your engine needs gasoline, air, and spark to run—but it also needs motor oil to coat and protect its moving parts against excessive wear. You might have heard your dad say years ago to “always remember to have your oil changed regularly,” and to this day it’s still true. Nothing is more crucial to engine longevity than proper lubrication and regular oil changes that will prevent a buildup of sludge and carbon in the engine.