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Conventional or Synthetic: Which Motor Oil is Right for Your Car?

One of the first things you may be asked when you walk into a local shop to have the oil changed on your Chevy or Cadillac is “synthetic or regular”?  While many tout the praises of synthetic oil, it is important to choose the kind of oil that is recommended in your car’s owner’s manual.  Synthetic oil is recommended for very few GM models.

If you are not familiar with motor oil, you may be wondering what the difference is between conventional and synthetic.  Conventional motor oil is processed from crude oil out of the ground.  The crude oil is separated at the oil refinery.  Thicker oil is used for things like rooting tar and asphalt.  The thinner oil is used for gasoline and engine oil, among other things.  Synthetic motor oil is made of two components: base stock and performance additives.  The base stock is artificially created and the performance additives, which are actually added to conventional motor oil, too, help fight off engine sludge and mineral deposits that are naturally caused in combustion.

One of the main differences between conventional oil and synthetic oil is viscosity.  Synthetic oil keeps its viscosity and flows freely in all temperature changes, while conventional oil can be thicker in colder temperatures.  Most service technicians recommend synthetic oil for people who live and drive in places with extreme temperatures.  If, however, you do not live in the desert or the tundra, synthetic oil is probably not worth the added expense.  An oil change using synthetic oil can cost more than twice as much as conventional oil.  Using a conventional, multigrade oil according to your vehicle manufacturers specifications is probably your best bet.

Some people assume that synthetic oil is more earth-friendly because it is not derived from petroleum.  However, synthetics are formed from chemicals that are no less harmful to the environment.  Even though synthetics last longer meaning you use less each year to keep your GM vehicle running smoothly, conventional oil can be recycled.

The best thing to do is to follow what the manufacturer recommends for your vehicle when it comes to oil.  In general, more performance oriented vehicles require synthetic oil because of the high heat that builds in these engines, but conventional engines do not require anything special and work well with conventional oil.  Let the certified service technicians at Lake Country help you decide which oil is best for your Chevy or Cadillac.