In case you didn’t know, there are 3 types of motor oil: conventional, semi-synthetic, and full synthetic. Up until now, we have serviced some cars with conventional and some cars with full synthetic. Most older engines were fine with conventional oil, and there was no advantage to using synthetic, provided the car was operated under normal conditions.
On the other hand, we did use synthetic on some cars. For instance, if a car was equipped with a turbo, we’d use synthetic. High power high revving engines also needed synthetic. And then sometimes a customer just loved their car, and would rather use the very best regardless of the return on investment.
Why Drop Conventional Oil?
So, why did we switch? Why are we using full synthetic on every car now? Well, cars are changing. Gasoline Direct Injected Turbo engines are becoming very popular, and they are VERY hard on motor oil. Turbo engines cook motor oil, and need full synthetic. Direct Injected engines contaminate the engine oil with gasoline, diluting it. Using conventional oil on a car like this is a very bad idea.
We stock motor oil in bulk in the 3 most popular weights: 0W20, 5W20, and 5W30. Everything else comes in bottles, and bottles create a whole lot of waste and extra janitorial work. Each bottle must be fully drained before “recycling”. Recycling is in quotes because plastic recycling frequently doesn’t really happen. Anyway, whatever we’re using the most of, we want in our bulk containers, and we’ve finally hit the tipping point; the majority of the cars we repair are requiring full synthetic.
But my car doesn’t need full synthetic.
Around 45% of the cars we repair don’t need synthetic oil. However, using synthetic certainly won’t hurt your car. Stories of synthetic motor oil causing seal leaks or sludge forming when mixed with conventional oil are myths, and in some cases synthetic oil may even provide more protection than conventional oil.
Synthetic does cost a little more. For most cars prices will remain the same, since most cars already require synthetic. However, for the others the price will increase between 5-10%. In general our customers aren’t shopping for the cheapest possible oil change. We use genuine oil filters that we buy from dealerships and we’ve never purchased cheap motor oil. In spite of that, our prices have always been within a few dollars of the quick lube places. Considering this, and the fact a professional mechanic will be working on the car, we think our customers will still find value in having their oil changed by us, even with the small increase in price.