Beyond fuel, engine oil is the single most important fluid in a vehicle. It needs to be a quality product that you change according to the service intervals recommended by the manufacturer in order for the engine to deliver optimum performance and last longer.
During your last visit at the dealership or the repair shop, you’ve probably been asked for your choice between standard mineral engine oil and synthetic engine oil. It’s quite a dilemma for many car owners and the explanation isn’t always clear.
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How to Choose the Right Engine Oil
Whether mineral or synthetic, engine oil has the same purpose, namely to minimize friction and wear within the various engine components. It also helps dissipate some of the heat generated by the engine and contributes to better fuel economy.
In order to choose the right type of engine oil, you must consider your driving habits. If you’re an average driver that flows with traffic both in the city and on the highway, conventional engine oil will serve as a proper lubricant in most cases, especially with a non-turbocharged engine.
On the other hand, performance enthusiasts and those who like to push their cars should definitely consider synthetic engine oil providing superior lubrication. Exotic and luxury car manufacturers generally have specific requirements.
In fact, the wisest thing to do is to check the engine oil section of your owner’s manual.
The Benefits of Synthetic Engine Oil
Much more expensive than mineral oil due to its superior viscosity characteristics, synthetic engine oil offers many benefits. In addition to ensuring maximum lubrication in all temperature conditions, even the most extreme, it lasts longer and allows owners to space their oil changes.
Some companies have so much faith in their products that they advertise intervals of 15,000-20,000 kilometres between oil changes. Industry leaders such as Castrol actually spend huge amounts of money in research and development to offer engine oils that significantly increase the longevity of mechanical parts.
Don’t Forget the Oil Filter
“One thing most people don’t pay attention to or simply ignore is having the right oil filter for the engine oil they choose,” warns The Car Guide’s top expert, Antoine Joubert. Some mechanics and shops use cheaper filters without telling the customer and it ruins the effectiveness and durability of the engine oil.”
Nearly 40 percent of oil filters being used with synthetic oil are not appropriate for that particular type of oil, he adds. For your next oil change, make sure you ask for a proper engine oil filter, as well.