Motor oil is very important because it keeps a car’s engine from overheating and becoming damaged. Drivers want the best oil they can afford for their cars. One of the most difficult choices, according to Popular Mechanics, is the choice between synthetic and mineral or organic oil.
According to Automedia, synthetic oil is made by creating big molecules from small ones. Conventional oil is comprised of both short- and long-chain atoms. High heat can cause the short-chain atoms to break down, causing the molecules themselves to break down. Contaminants and unstable hydrocarbons can also sneak through the refining process. Synthetic oils seek to solve these problems.
Full synthetics are made for high-performance “muscle” cars. They flow better at low temperatures and lubricate better at high temperatures, but are expensive. Synthetic blends have organic oil mixed with synthetic oil and provide better protection for heavier loads and high temperatures, according to Popular Mechanics. These blends are often used in pickup trucks and SUVs and are not much more expensive than conventional premium oils.
Synthetics can give better cold weather starting in cold climates, according to Popular Mechanics. High-end and high-performance cars often come from the factory with synthetic oil, and Popular Mechanics recommends that drivers of these vehicles stick with this oil. Automedia says that overall, synthetics are better, but for those who cannot afford them mineral oil will suffice as long as they follow the owner’s manuals recommendations on viscosity and grade.