As a kid, you may remember that it was common for people to change the oil in their own vehicles. But that’s not the case anymore. Most people opt for getting their oil changed at the dealership, a quick lube shop, or a mechanic instead of doing it themselves. But, the only issue with this option is that they must know which type of oil is best for their vehicle. Should they opt for a conventional oil or a synthetic oil?
As a California fuel and lubricant supplier, we work with many quick lube businesses that help customers with regular oil changes. We supply the lubricants, automotive fluids, and other supplies they need to run their shops. This close access gives us a great deal of insight into the debate between conventional or synthetic oil for an oil change. We can tell you that there is a clear winner in recent years: synthetic oil!
Why is synthetic oil becoming such a popular choice?
Synthetic oil used to be mostly used in high-performance vehicles, but in recent years it’s become even more popular for more common vehicles. Many car manufacturers now recommend synthetic oil for regular maintenance. For example, the Honda Civic, one of the most popular sedan models, uses low-viscosity synthetic engine oil in recent models to keep the engine running efficiently. But Honda isn’t the only automaker making the switch to synthetic oil. In 2019, 70% of new car models required fully or blended synthetic oil. It’s not just automakers making the switch to synthetic oils, either. Consumers are hopping on this trend as well. In a 2018 National Oil and Lube News survey, half the car owners said they chose synthetic or synthetic blend oil when they took their vehicles in for an oil change.
What is the benefit of synthetic oil?
Evidence shows that synthetic engine oils are better for your engine. For example, the American Automobile Association (AAA) did lab testing to determine the differences between conventional and synthetic oils. Based on their findings, they found that the synthetic oils outperformed conventional oils by 47% on tests for shear stability, deposit formation, volatility, cold-temperature pumpability, oxidation resistance, and viscosity changes. These lab findings highlight several of the benefits of synthetic oil. Let’s look more closely at some of these benefits.
- Better resistance to breaking: Synthetic oils are less susceptible to chemical degradation than conventional oil. This means that it tends to last longer without causing harm to your engine by breaking down and forming sludge, varnish, or deposits that can reduce your engine efficiency.
- Better temperature resistance: One thing that makes synthetic oil so popular, especially in regions with significant temperature changes, is how much better it withstands cold or hot temperatures. This is because synthetic oil has a higher viscosity index, making it more stable during temperature changes. In cold regions, this effect means the oil flows better, which helps protect the engine and makes cold starts easier. In hot regions, synthetic oil resists breaking down as fast, reducing the risk of engine overheating and reduced efficiency.
- Better lifespan. The biggest advantage of synthetic oil is that it lasts longer than conventional oil while providing excellent engine lubrication. This quality means that you can go longer between engine oil changes. For example, the standard recommendation for oil changes is typically every 5,000 to 7,000 miles, whereas conventional oil change intervals are usually recommended every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
How do you recommend synthetic oil to your customers?
So if you’re a quick lube business or a dealership, how do you recommend switching to synthetic oil for your customers? It can be a hard sell. One of the biggest disadvantages of synthetic oil is the cost. Typically, synthetic oil costs two to four times more than conventional oil. Right now, while everything is more expensive than ever, your customers might think it’s wise to go back to conventional oil and save some money. Here are a few ways you can help them make the right choice for their vehicle.
- Make sure they understand how synthetic oil benefits their vehicle’s engine. You can tell your customers about synthetic oil’s properties that make it superior, but they may not understand until you break down how it affects their vehicle engine. For example, you can highlight how the temperature resistance of synthetic oil means that on a short trip, it warms up faster than conventional oil, which means it flows through the vehicle engine better and provides crucial lubrication protection to keep the engine running smoothly.
- Make sure they know that it’s better for their specific vehicle model. Most newer model vehicles work better with synthetic engine oil, but they aren’t the only ones. Synthetic oil is also better at resisting sludge buildup in the engine, a significant problem for many vehicle models from the early 2000s. If your customers are driving around an early 2000 vehicle, make sure they know that synthetic oil can help prevent sludge from clogging up their engine.
- Make sure they know it’s cheaper in the long term. Customers usually want to switch back to conventional oil because of the upfront cost. But that’s short-term thinking. Conventional oil has a much shorter interval between changes than synthetic oil, which means that your customers will be back in the shop paying for another oil change before too long. If they opt for synthetic oil, they can go longer between changes and save money!
As a fuel provider, Chevron lubricants supplier, and Valvoline lubricants supplier, we work hard to ensure our customers have all the lubricant and fuel products they need. But we also work hard to help our customers understand which products are best for their vehicle and business needs. If you’re considering switching to synthetic engine oil or recommending it to your customers, we can help you get the products you need. Give our team a call today to place your order.