Should You Use Synthetic Oil in Older Cars?

Switching your car to synthetic motor oil can offer a long list of benefits to your vehicle when it’s done properly. In fact, some new cars or high-performance cars even require the use of synthetic oil over traditional oil because the benefits are so great. However, if you have an older used car, say from 2000 or earlier, how can you know if the oil change will be dangerous or harmful? Should you use synthetic oil in older cars? This guide from the team at Fred Beans Used will help explain the risks and benefits of switching your car to synthetic oil.

Conventional vs Synthetic Oil

Synthetic Oil in Older CarsSo, what’s the difference between the oil you’ve traditionally used in your car and fancy synthetic oil that touts so many benefits.

Traditional oil is made from crude oil, and is refined and thinned to the proper level. It also has added ingredients, which help ensure proper heat resistance and breakdown resistance.

Full synthetic oil is engineered to provide even better lubrication to your engine at both high and low temperatures. It often begins as an extract or byproduct of crude oil, but is then much more thoroughly refined than conventional motor oil. Synthetic oil is known for having strong cleaning properties that keep all passages clear.

Benefits of Synthetic Oil

The benefits of using synthetic oil in a car that can handle it are hard to ignore, despite its higher price tag. Here are some of the main benefits of using a synthetic motor oil:

  • Synthetic Oil in Older CarsBreakdown Resistance: Synthetic oil is much more hardy than conventional oil, and can last much longer. Especially if you live in a climate with hot summers and cold winters, such as the areas around Philadelphia, Doylestown, Flemington, and Mechanicsburg, you’ll find that synthetic oil doesn’t break down as quickly. This will mean that you may be able to go longer between oil changes.
  • Superior Cleaning Power: Synthetic oil is great at removing gunky residue that can block engine passages and lead to serious, sudden engine damage. If you make a lot of short trips, conventional oil may never get warm enough to properly burn off moisture and impurities in your engine, while synthetic oil can work well at all temperatures.

Risks of Using Synthetic Oil in Older Cars

Some mechanics may caution you against using synthetic oil on your car, despite its many benefits. This is because many synthetic oils contain esters, which are organic compounds mixed with alcohol. This particular combination can be extremely rough on seals within the engine, which can cause the seals to wear down and begin to leak or burn oil.

Although newer cars can handle esters with ease, some older vehicles may have seals, gaskets, and plugs that are not as tight as in newer cars. Built-up sludge from the use of conventional oil may be acting as an assist to these seals. The ability of synthetic oil to clean out this sludge, typically seen as a good thing, may remove deposits that are acting as seals in your older car’s engine.

Ask Your Mechanic!

The bottom line is that there are no hard and fast rules as to whether using synthetic oil in your older car will be harmful or helpful. You’ll need to speak to a trustworthy, knowledgeable mechanic about your specific vehicle to determine whether synthetic oil could be the right choice for you.

The service center at Fred Beans Used is staffed by highly trained and experience technicians who can help. Contact us today to speak with an automotive expert for advice, or schedule a service appointment. Our technicians are trained to work on old and new cars alike, and have changed the oil on cars more times than they can count, using both traditional and synthetic products. We’ll make sure that your car is best equipped to handle all your drives around Philadelphia, Doylestown, Flemington, and Mechanicsburg.

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