Mineral or synthetic: what type of engine oil should you put in your car?
Why should I care about what oil goes in my engine?
Good question. Firstly, let’s tackle the question about why engine oil is even necessary.
An internal combustion engine has thousands of parts, and they require lubrication to function properly.
Just like an old sewing machine that needs some oil to sing sweetly, engine oil helps your car’s engine run better.
Over time, engine oil picks up dirt and particles from the engine, which is why it needs to be changed every so often.
Freshening your engine oil helps keep your engine running better for longer, and can even prevent costly repairs further down the road.
Synthetic or mineral: what type of engine oil?
Synthetic oil is the one to get to keep your engine running well.
It’s more expensive than mineral oil, but the benefits far outweigh the cost imbalance.
Synthetic engine oils are chemically treated to prolong their lifespan and can remain in your engine longer between changes.
These oils have been developed to cope with the extreme temperatures inside engines, all while retaining their chemical properties without breaking down.
Synthetic oils also flow more freely than mineral oils (lower viscosity) and hence protect your engine better by lowering friction between moving parts.
Mineral oils are thicker and move more slowly (higher viscosity), and as such don’t provide as much protection as synthetic engine oils.
Compared with mineral oil, synthetic oils also contains less impurities like hydrocarbons or contaminants.
When should I change my oil?
It used to be that you had to change your engine oil every couple of months, but not so with modern synthetic oils and advancements in automotive technology.
Modern cars can go up to 15,000km or even 20,000km without an oil change.
With a cold engine, pull out the oil dipstick to check the oil level in your engine.
If the oil colour is dark, looks grimy, or looks anything other than straw-coloured, it’s time to change your oil.
Some cars even track the intervals between oil changes and flash an alert to the driver when it’s about time to change the oil.
When that happens, heed the warning and change the engine oil at the earliest opportunity.
That’s because oil changes aren’t at set intervals, and instead should be made as and when necessary.