AAA: Synthetic Oil Is Worth the Extra Money

Confused about whether to use synthetic or conventional oil in your car? Well, according to a new AAA report, the answer is clear: go with synthetic. It outperformed conventional oil by an average of 47 percent in the new study.

Researchers say synthetic oil is higher quality oil that will keep your engine cleaner and lead to better performance.

The catch, of course, is that synthetic oil is about twice the price of conventional. But AAA searchers it’s money well spent especially for newer vehicles with turbocharged engines and vehicles that frequently drive in stop-and-go traffic, tow heavy loads or operate in extreme cold or hot conditions. AAA says the money drivers spend on synthetic oil could actually save money in the long run by protecting critical engine components over time.

Conventional oil vs synthetic oil

AAA Fact Sheet

  • A survey of AAA’s Approved Auto Repair facilities reveals that 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.
  • For those who change their vehicle’s oil themselves, the average cost of 5 quarts of conventional oil is approximately $28, while synthetic oil is $45.
  • Researchers say nearly one‐third of U.S. drivers typically use conventional oil in their vehicle, while 45 percent use synthetic. Another one-third have no idea what type of oil is going in their oil tank.
  • 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.
  • The vast majority (83 percent) of service professionals select synthetic oil for their personal vehicles.
  • 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 up-sell by a repair facility, or they are simply not offered the choice.

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