How Long Does Synthetic Oil Last?

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blue bottle pouring oil into car

Choosing the right oil for your car is more than just a routine task—it’s an investment in your vehicle’s longevity and performance. If you’re unsure how long synthetic oil lasts, the short answer is that synthetic oil generally lasts longer than conventional oil. It’s designed to offer superior engine protection, withstand extreme temperatures, and extend the time between oil changes. 

For many brands, synthetic oil is said to last between 5,000 and 7,000 miles—but this isn’t set in stone. Keep reading to learn more about why synthetic oil is often the better choice and how it compares to conventional oil. If you want to make the switch, visit a drive-thru oil change near me for a selection of high-quality synthetic oils.

What is Synthetic Oil?

Synthetic oil is a lubricant made from artificially modified chemical compounds. Originally developed in 1929, its use became widespread during World War II, long before we began using our phones to look up an oil change near me. The production involves chemically altering petroleum components or other raw materials. Though each producer has its own synthesis process, the base material typically comes from distilled crude oil.

Synthetic oil is known for having several benefits, including:

  • Superior Temperature Resistance: Unlike conventional oil, synthetic oil performs exceptionally well in extreme temperatures.
  • Better Engine Protection: It offers enhanced protection against wear and tear, reducing the long-term cost of engine maintenance.
  • Longer Lifespan: Synthetic oil generally lasts longer than conventional oil, meaning less frequent oil changes are necessary.

Synthetic Oil Lifespan Considerations

A few key factors affect the longevity of synthetic oil and what your oil change schedule will look like. While synthetic oil may allow you to go longer between oil changes in some cases, you may still need to change it more frequently than the product’s packaging claims. Here’s why:


Temperature significantly influences the lifespan and ability of synthetic oil to do its job properly. 

  • Resistance: Synthetic oil offers better resistance against extreme temperatures, which helps protect the engine under varying climatic conditions. 
  • Extreme Temperatures: However, high temperatures may lead to faster breakdown of synthetic oil, thereby reducing its useful life.

When operating in extreme temperatures, you may need to search for a 10-minute oil change near me and schedule an oil change more frequently than the manufacturer’s recommended intervals.

Driving Style

Driving style also directly affects how often you should change synthetic oil. 

  • Conditions: Severe driving conditions like stop-and-go traffic may necessitate more frequent oil changes. 
  • Style: Aggressive driving behaviors, such as hard acceleration, can speed up the rate at which the oil breaks down. 
  • Environment: For vehicles frequently operated in dusty conditions or seaside areas with salt in the air, synthetic oil might need replacement sooner for optimum engine protection.

While sticking to the manufacturer’s recommendations is always wise, considering your actual driving conditions can help you optimize oil change intervals.

Vehicle Make and Model

Your vehicle type also affects the frequency of synthetic oil changes or if you can use synthetic oil at all. 

  • Compatibility: It’s important to note that compatibility can be an issue with older, vintage vehicle engines that may not be well-suited for synthetic oil, whereas newer models often are.
  • High-Performance: If you own a high-performance car, it might specifically require synthetic oil to maintain optimal engine functionality. The oil change frequency will differ depending on the vehicle make—like Hyundai or Kia vehicles with a turbocharged engine. 

This is why checking the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual is important. It’s your go-to source of info, like oil change intervals. 

Synthetic Oil vs. Conventional Oil: What’s the Difference?

When choosing between synthetic and conventional oil, longevity is a factor to consider. Synthetic oil is known for its longer lifespan due to its uniform molecular structure and superior performance at extreme temperatures. As we’ve highlighted, synthetic oil’s typical recommended change interval varies from 5,000 to 7,000 miles—with some products claiming to last up to 25,000 miles.

Conventional oil, on the other hand, requires more frequent changes. The average oil change interval for conventional oil ranges between 3,000 to 5,000 miles. This is due to its inconsistent molecular structure, which doesn’t hold up as well in extreme conditions.

It’s important to note that these intervals are just general guidelines, and everyone’s experience with synthetic and conventional will vary depending on their vehicle type, driving conditions, and local climate, as noted above. Again, your manufacturer owner’s manual and maintenance schedule will offer the best advice.

If you’re concerned about how to tell if an engine is damaged from no oil, paying attention to oil change intervals and the type of oil used is a good first step.

Why Are Oil Changes Important?

An oil change is the straightforward process of removing old, contaminated oil from your vehicle’s engine and replacing it with new, clean oil. This is crucial for several reasons, all aimed at maintaining your engine’s optimal performance and longevity. An oil change normally involves draining the old oil, replacing the oil filter, and adding fresh oil.

Over time, various factors contribute to the degradation of engine oil. These include:

  • Contamination: Dirt, debris, and combustion by-products can pollute the oil.
  • Oxidation: Heat, moisture, and air exposure can lead to oil degradation.
  • Wear and Tear: Engine friction can produce microscopic bits of metal that contaminate the oil.
  • High Temperatures: Extreme heat can accelerate oil breakdown.

Ignoring timely oil changes can result in various engine problems. If you’re wondering what happens if you don’t get your oil changed, know that neglecting this can lead to sludge formation and significantly reduced engine performance. So, understanding why you need an oil change is essential for vehicle maintenance.

  • Sludge Formation: Sludge can block the oil passages within the engine, preventing oil from reaching the engine’s moving parts. If sludge buildup is severe, it can cause engine damage that requires costly repairs or even engine replacement.
  • Reduced Performance: The engine has to work harder, which may result in poor gas mileage and potential engine damage. Dirty oil has the potential to cause reduced engine performance, including decreased fuel efficiency, power, and acceleration.

The Bottomline 

While synthetic oil generally lasts longer and offers more benefits than conventional oil, its lifespan is influenced by several factors, including driving style and temperature. Choosing between synthetic and conventional oil might depend on your specific performance needs and budget. To get the best recommendations tailored for your vehicle, consult your manufacturer’s owner’s manual. 

Next time you consider an oil change, why not head to a drive-thru oil change location? There, you can explore various synthetic oil options suited to your car’s requirements.


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