It's okay to admit it. It may be a bad habit, but just about everyone does it, and you probably do, too. The little sticker on your windshield reminds you to get your oil changed every 3,000 miles, but you drive 4,000 or 5,000 or--gulp!--even 6,000 miles between oil changes because you're just so darned busy. Or the little message on your instrument panel notifies you that your car needs an oil change, but you wait a month or two before taking the car in because you just can't seem to find the time.
We hear you, and completely understand. But, there's a reason your car's manufacturer made that 3,000-mile (or whatever it might be) oil change recommendation. And there's a reason (and millions of miles of field testing) that your oil change alert comes on at a specified time or mileage. Put simply, your car's motor oil, awesome elixir of lubrication though it may be, can only take so much. After thousands of miles and several months of punishment, the motor oil in your car's enigne must be replaced if you hope to keep the engine in good working order for the long term.
If you're like a lot of drivers, though, you realize this all too well, but the tyranny of modern living keeps you so busy you can't meet those demands. Fortunately, there is a type of product on the market that can help.
We've written many times about the myriad advantages of synthetic motor oil. It protects better in very hot temperatures. It flows better in very cold temperatures (making your engine easier to crank and also better protecting it in those first few critical seconds while the oil is warming up). Some lighter synthetic motor oils may even provide small gains in fuel mileage. But what you might know is that synthetic motor oil is proven to protect better--and longer--than conventional motor oil.
That's right. While conventional motor oil might have met its match at whatever limit your car's manufacturer recommends, synthetic motor oil can keep on protecting your car past those limits.
Now, don't take this the wrong way. We wholeheartedly encourage you to follow your car manufacturer's recommendations when it comes to service intervals, but if you find yourself falling into the bad habit of extending those intervals, synthetic motor oil can give you the peace of mind that your vehicular "baby" is being given the TLC it needs to keep motoring down the road for years to come.
The above was written by Garrett McKinnon and was published in the February 2012 edition of Vehicle MD.