Dear Car Talk: I have a 2015 Nissan Rogue with 30,000 miles on it. I’ve done all the oil changes as called for. So far, I’ve always used a synthetic blend oil. At my last oil change, however, they used a full synthetic oil. I want to go back to the synthetic blend next time. Any problem with that? Thanks. — Al.
No. As an American, you have a constitutional right to switch oils, Al. There are three types of oil out there these days. There’s conventional oil, which comes from decomposed dinosaurs and is pumped out of the ground. That’s what we’ve been using for decades. And it’s been constantly improved over the years.
Sometime in the 1970s, Mobil One became the first widely available synthetic motor oil. Synthetic oils also have been improved over the years. Then there is what’s called a synthetic blend, which is the material your leisure suit was made out of in 1979, Al. Actually, a blend is exactly what it sounds like: It’s a mix of synthetic oil and conventional oil. And the only real advantage of a synthetic blend is that it’s a little cheaper than a pure synthetic.
In terms of its longevity and its ability to lubricate, conventional oil is the least effective, a blend would be next best, and a synthetic would be best of all. And, in fact, over the past decade in particular, we’ve seen car manufacturers really embrace synthetic oils because, since they help engines last longer, they cut down on warranty costs. And bad Yelp reviews.
And even though synthetic oils are more expensive, since you change them about half as often, we’ve found that it’s pretty close to a wash. So you’ll only pay for half has many oil changes, half as many oil disposal fees, and half as many oil filters. So, technically, there’s no problem with you switching back to a synthetic blend, Al, but there’s no real advantage to it. Unless you really enjoy the coffee and vending machines at your oil-change place.
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