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Is It Safe To Switch Between Synthetic And Conventional Oil During A Change?

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With so many different types of car engine oils on the market, it can get a little overwhelming when your mechanic asks you what you want used for your latest oil change. Most car owners aren't even sure if they want conventional or synthetic blends, and many assume they're stuck using whatever is already in the engine. Learn the truth about making the switch from conventional to synthetic, or the opposite, before your next change.

The Differences Between Synthetic and Conventional Oils

First, you need to understand how synthetic and conventional oil blends differ. Both oils begin as a raw petroleum product pumped out of the ground, but synthetic oils go through far more advanced processing steps to reduce them to their basic components before being recombined. This results in advanced characteristics like

  • Reduced impurities for a cleaner engine
  • Increased performance at high temperatures
  • Higher mileage between changes, resulting in lower expenses over the life of a vehicle
  • Better lubrication for complex engine parts like turbochargers
  • Smoother flow at low temperatures.

The Safety Factors of Switching

With so many advantages, many car owners are eager to switch over to synthetic oil products. There's good news - you can have your conventional oil swapped out during any routine oil change without having to worry about damage to your engine. The latest synthetic oil change blends are designed to work with all kinds of engines, regardless of what was previously used in the car. Many people switch between oil types at least twice a year to get the best possible performance during the different seasons. However, there can be a few issues for vehicles that are already experiencing a lot of wear and tear due to high mileage and heavy usage.

The Reasons to Stick with the Same Product

Engines in good shape can handle oil type changes without a hitch. If you're driving a very high mileage vehicle that has not had the engine seals tested, you should have a compression test done before swapping conventional oil for a synthetic product. Synthetic blends can put extra pressure on the seals that are already worn and thin, leading to leaks that let oil into the compression chamber. If there are existing leaks that are being patched by deposits left behind by conventional oil sludge, the extra cleaning power of synthetic oil will wash away those bandages and let the oil mix with the fuel as well. Your mechanic can inspect an older engine to make sure it can handle the switch.