Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Can I Use Synthetic Motor Oil in My Brand New Car?

synthetic motor oil

The short answer to this question is yes. As long as the oil meets the manufacturer’s refill standards you can use it. For example, Ford Motor Co. recommends using either full synthetic motor oil or a synthetic blend motor oil for its 2015 Ford Fusion series.

Ford offers several turbocharged and standard engines in the Fusion that range from 1.5 to 2.5 liters. In each engine, as long as the synthetic meets SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) standards for 5W-20 weight oil, it can be used in the crankcase. The same is true of synthetic blend oil. There is a Motorcraft parts standard for each type of oil. Motorcraft is Ford’s branded part name.

One can also use a conventional oil, as well. As long as it meets the same SAE designation, one can use it in the crankcase. Conventional oil is classified as an all-organic lubricant whose chemical makeup has not been changed by added processing. In this case, the added processing would be the method used to either create the synthetic or to mix the conventional oil with synthetic, creating the blend.

Two types of synthetic oil

There are two types of synthetic oil, full synthetic and blended synthetic. Full synthetic oil is “manufactured.” Take Mobile One, for example. Mobile One® is a full synthetic. Its base is petroleum, but the petroleum is subject to a chemical process that takes the random molecules and makes them uniform. That rather complicated process is the feature that determines whether an oil is synthetic. Oils like Mobile One® are extensively manipulated to create the uniform molecular structure for which they are noted.

Synthetic blends or Synblends are oils that are a mix of 20 percent synthetic oil and 80 percent high-quality conventional oil. They exhibit characteristics of synthetic and conventional oils.

Synthetics are tough motor oils

Synthetic motor oils are tough as nails. They have a uniform chemical structure, they offer much more uniform wear characteristics and conventional motor oils. The uniform oil structure also allows synthetic oils to lubricate more evenly in today’s high-temperature, often high-compression, engines. Synthetic oils are engineered to perform well over a broad range of temperatures.

Take the Ford requirement for 5W-20 weight oil, for example. The 5 tells you that the oil will perform down to minus-40°C or roughly minus-15°F. The 20 indicates that the oil will perform past 80°C or around 110°F. Synthetic oils perform well in winter and under summer’s added heat load. They retain their viscosity (ability to remain liquid and lubricate) in cold and hot climates. Note that there is a “slip factor” in these ratings. Synthetic oils, in general, will perform well down to about minus-35°F and up to about 120°F. Synthetics have a far broader performance range than more conventional oils.

Premium conventional oils that meet the 5W-20 standard perform well over the minus-15/110 temperature range. There is even some “slip” involved as well. The sticking point is that over extended periods where synthetic oils will perform well without breaking down, conventional oils will start to breakdown.

Synthetic blends mirror their origins

This is where the synblends work well. Synthetic blends combine many of the best parts of synthetic oils with premium conventional oil. Because they are based on premium conventional oil, synthetic blends are more inexpensive than full synthetic oils. Their chemical makeup of synthetic blends mirrors their origins.

If you were to look at the chemical makeup of synthetic blended oil, you would find it to be a mix of standardized and conventional molecule chains. The standard or engineered molecule chains give the synblend its heartiness in heat, cold and lubricating ability, while the conventional molecule chains allow oil companies to keep the costs down somewhat.

To an extent, even premium conventional oils are “manufactured.” Oil companies add detergents, some lubrication enhancements, anti-wax and stabilizing elements to their premium conventional motor oils to enable them to perform at a high level over their ranges.

Conclusion: synthetics are fine in your new car

They offer better performance characteristics, thus, synthetics are often preferred by car manufacturers. Synthetics are manufactured to perform over a wider range of temperature. They are also made to last longer than synblends or premium conventional motor oils. They are the most expensive oils. Synblends are the middle ground in oils. They provide many of the characteristics of synthetics but at a lower cost. Premium conventional oils are the baseline. They work well but don’t last as long as either synthetics or synblends.

Generally, you can expect up to 15,000 miles or a year’s worth of driving from a synthetic. Synblends should last about 10,000 miles. Premium conventional oils will last about 7,500 miles.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed Related Trouble Codes: P2441: EVAP Vent Valve Stuck Open EVAP trouble...
P0291OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 11 Injector Circuit Low
P0291 code definition When your vehicle’s PCM registers the P0291 code, it means that a voltage reading came from the fuel injector circuit – for cylinder number 11’s fuel injector –...
P0684 OBD-II Trouble Code: Glow Plug Control Module to PCM Communication Circuit Range/Performance
P0684 code means there is a failing connection within the Glow Plug Control Module often due too corroded wires and solenoid failures.


Related questions

Q: How do I check the oil?

Keeping an eye on vital fluids is part of being a responsible car owner. One of the most important (and most easily checked) fluids is engine oil. To check it, just follow these simple steps: Turn off the engine...

Q: Changing differential oil

Change the differential oil every 60,000 miles or so. It's not something to worry about but I'd do it around that mileage just to make sure you aren't getting any extra wear. If the oil gets dirty enough, corrosion can...

Q: Nothing seems wrong and the motor is burning oil

The oil consumption on most engines is supposed to be less than 1 quart per 1,000 miles. You state you are using 3 quarts every 2,000 miles. The first thing would be to have an oil consumption test that would...