AAA study revealed synthetic oil outperforms conventional oil by 47 percent

By Lisa Fu
June 6, 2017

About every 5,000 miles or so, car owners face a decision: conventional or synthetic motor oil. And because many change their oil around every 6 months, choosing one over the other makes a significant financial difference in the long run.

Though synthetic oil is considerably more expensive, a new AAA study found synthetic oil surpassed conventional oil by an average of 47% in a variety of industry tests. Switching to synthetic oil will cost the average driver an additional $64 a year, but the extra expense may pay off by protecting expensive engines in the long term, according to John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of automotive engineering and repair. Nielsen said newer, turbo-charged engines would reap the most benefits.

Despite synthetic oil’s performance, many have remained skeptical about switching over. Forty-four percent of Americans were either unsure or did not believe synthetic oil was worth it in an AAA national survey. Those choosing conventional oil listed cost, distrust of repair facilities, and a lack of choice as reasons for not switching. However, AAA’s survey showed a strong belief in synthetic oil by service professionals as 83 percent of them chose synthetic oil over conventional oil for their own vehicles.

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