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Synthetic oil can be an expensive choice

Consumer Reports News: August 03, 2012 11:08 AM

Oil companies claim that synthetic oils provide better protection and last longer than conventional oil--up to 15,000 miles between changes.

Some cars specify synthetic oil, which makes the choice of whether to use it a simple one for their owners. But most cars call for conventional oil, and it costs much less than synthetic.

We haven't tested synthetic oils in many years, but some users who contribute to our online forums swear by them for their high-mileage vehicles.

It's hard to say whether the oil itself or just changing it regularly contributes to the cars' longevity. It's also notable that other respondents report similar results with conventional motor oil.

Whatever oil you choose, make sure to use the type and viscosity that is specified in your owner's manual, and change it according to the prescribed maintenance schedule. Regular oil changes will indisputably make your engine last longer.

For more on car maintenance, see our special section. Also, see our report on how to make your car last to 200,000 miles.

Jim Travers

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