AAA Arizona spills the truth on oil changes

Posted at 9:27 AM, Jun 06, 2017

Feeling the heat already? So is your car. That’s why AAA is recommending an engine oil that will keep your car running smoothly all summer long.

In an independent study released today, AAA found that synthetic oil outperformed conventional oil by an average of nearly 50 percent, offering vehicles significantly better engine protection for just $5 more per month. To protect engines, particularly those that operate in extreme conditions, like Arizona's dry, desert climate, AAA recommends that drivers consider the benefits of synthetic oil.

Keep your engines running clean

AAA’s findings indicate that synthetic oil is particularly beneficial to newer vehicles with turbo-charged engines and for vehicles that frequently drive in stop-and-go traffic, tow heavy loads or operate in extreme hot or cold conditions.

While only a limited number of vehicles specifically require synthetic oil, all vehicles can benefit from using it. At an oil change service, many drivers are offered a choice between conventional or synthetic oil. However, in a companion AAA nationwide survey of U.S. drivers, 44 percent are either unsure (27 percent) or do not believe (17 percent) that the more expensive synthetic oil is better for a vehicle’s engine.

Reasons cited for regularly choosing the cheaper, conventional oil include feeling that synthetic oil is too expensive, offers no benefit, that the upgrade to synthetic oil is an unnecessary upsell by a repair facility, or they are simply not offered the choice.

A long-term bargain

The average cost of a conventional oil change is $38, while a synthetic oil change is $70. Switching from a conventional oil to a synthetic oil will cost the average driver $64 more per year, or an extra $5.33 per month, but spending that extra money each oil change could actually save money in the long run by protecting critical engine components over time. 

AAA’s engine oil research focused on eight industry-standard ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) tests to evaluate the quality of both synthetic and conventional engine oils in terms of shear stability, deposit formation, volatility, cold-temperature pumpability, oxidation resistance and oxidation-induced rheological changes.