Since the dawn of the automobile, conventional motor oil has been the industry standard for keeping engines lubricated, but in recent years more expensive synthetic motor oil has been marketed as an alternative that provides better performance. AAA put those claims to the test not only for quality, but to determine if the difference in price is a good investment for vehicle owners.
What makes one oil better than another?
Oil quality comes down to the oil’s ability to withstand the extreme conditions that exist inside an engine. The greater the resistance to deterioration, the greater protection of vital engine components.
Is synthetic oil better than conventional oil?
Yes. In AAA’s tests, synthetic oil performed an average of 47 percent better than conventional oil. In this case, synthetic oil’s better performance translates to better engine protection.
Does this mean conventional oil could damage my vehicle’s engine?
No. Conventional oil that meets manufacturer specifications for your vehicle will not harm its engine.
Is AAA recommending that drivers switch to synthetic oil?
It’s a personal choice. If your budget allows, synthetic oils will offer additional protection for your vehicle, particularly if it frequently tows heavy loads, operates in extreme temperatures, or is driven in stop‐and‐go traffic.