I was driving along in my brand-new car and super excited to get my first oil change in this beauty. I was surprised to find out that I would need to put synthetic oil in my new car. And even more surprised to hear it would cost at least twice as much as conventional motor oil!

Do I need synthetic oil? Or can I just use conventional oil like I’m used to?

I was told by my first oil change mechanic that there are a lot of reasons I should be using synthetic oil. For one, my car manual recommends it. If I don’t use synthetic, and something goes wrong with the car while it is still under warranty, the repair may not be covered.

Yikes. This was reason enough for me.

But I continued to wonder why newer cars were making the change from conventional to synthetic motor oil. So I asked the owner of Darien Car Clinic (and a mechanic with more than 25 years of experience!) Tony Abbruzzese for a clearer explanation the difference between the oils as well as any added benefits to using synthetic over conventional oil.  

Let’s start simple, what is synthetic oil?

Synthetic oil is oil, make no mistake, it just happens to be somewhat man-made. This makes it more resistant to the oil breaking down. On the other hand, conventional motor oil is made up of less-refined base oils. This means it is more prone to breaking down, causing loss of protective qualities for your car engine. It’s made from base oil, power additives, and a carrier oil that ensures even distribution of additives. According to idrivesafely.com, all grades of oil are manufactured with additives that increase performance. Refinement processes and ingredients also result in scientific control over molecular size and purity which can lower friction, reduce engine sludge, and increase performance.

You may hear the term, “full synthetic oil”. While this is technically the purest type of synthetic oil, there is no global standard and is more of a marketing term than anything else.

Are there benefits to making the change?


  • With a better molecular structure, synthetic oil will bond to your engine parts. This means it will last longer than conventional motor oil.
  • Synthetic oil contains additives that will boost protection and reduce wear to help prolong the life of your engine.
  • Allowing for easier start-up in extreme temperatures, synthetic oil has better all-weather protection to ensure your engine is prepared for all climates.
  • Synthetic oil reduces engine moisture build-up to keep your engine running longer.
  • By producing fewer emissions, synthetic oil prolongs the life of your car and reduces your impact on the environment.

In addition, because it is a thinner oil, there will be less drag on your engine leading to better fuel economy and less wear-and-tear on your engine.

It’s simple math. Less engine sludge = fewer engine repairs

Plus, you can drive for longer intervals, usually 6,000 to 8,000 miles before needing an oil change. So even though synthetic oil can be up to 2.5 times more expensive, you’ll get more mileage out of each oil change.

The result? Synthetic oils do cost more, but they last longer and are better for your engine. This will help save you from higher repair costs in the long run. A win-win all around! 

Stop in at the Darien Car Clinic for your next oil change.