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Synthetic Blend Oil Change: How Often Do You Need One?

An engine bay with an oil filter cap.

Motor oil has certainly changed since Dr. John Ellis first developed his method for managing friction in large steam engines. The year was 1866, and the good doctor/scientist devised a petroleum lubricant to accomplish the job. Motor oil has since evolved to include synthetic oils that offer superior wear protection, cleanliness, extreme temperature performance and emission and fuel economy benefits.

One of the options available today is a synthetic blend oil that bridges the gap between conventional and synthetic. But how often do you need a synthetic blend oil change?

Types of Motor OilA Mercedes-Benz model wating for an oil change.

Before we answer the question at hand, it’s helpful to understand the four types of motor oil. Conventional oil is the original motor oil, but it has changed through the years, as manufacturers now use chemical additives to improve engine performance. Synthetic motor oil is chemically engineered and does a more effective job of protecting the engine from contaminant buildup and overheating. It is the ideal oil for extreme temperatures, high and low.

A synthetic blend utilizes a combination of conventional and synthetic oils. They feature a few of the advantages of full synthetics but at a lower cost. Finally, high-mileage oils are designed specifically for older vehicles. These oils include special additives and a higher viscosity for enhanced protection.

Oil Change Intervals

How often should you change your motor oil anyway? The days of having to do so every three months or 3,000 miles are long past for certain oils, but it’s worth noting that conventional oil change intervals tend to be shorter than those of other oil types.

Some oil manufacturers claim their synthetic oils last up to 25,000 miles, but 10,000 to 15,000 miles is the average. As for synthetic blends, they typically split the difference between conventional motor oils (5,000 miles) and full synthetics (10,000 miles), so you may be changing your oil around 7,500 miles.

Your Owner’s Manual

Don’t rely on the change intervals listed by the oil manufacturer to determine oil change intervals for your vehicle. The most reliable source is your owner’s manual, and when it comes to following warranty guidelines, the manufacturer’s recommendation is essential.

In the owner’s manual, the manufacturer offers detailed information about the ideal oil types and change intervals for your vehicle. For instance, if the engine requires a full synthetic or synthetic blend, use that type of oil. A conventional oil wouldn’t be appropriate in this case.

The manufacturer will typically list different recommendations for normal and severe driving. Follow the “normal” change intervals if you have a standard commute with an even mix of local and highway driving. However, if you regularly drive on dirt roads, operate your vehicle in extreme climate conditions or tow, or if your commute includes predominantly stop and go traffic, choose the “severe” schedule. A majority of people operate their vehicles under severe conditions, even if they don’t think they do.

Synthetic Blend Oil Change

Be sure to choose your synthetic motor oil based on the manufacturer’s oil type and weight recommendations. As you change your oil, swap out the oil filter too. Certain manufacturers recommend changing the filter with every other oil change, but replacing it each time you change the oil can help prevent the filter from clogging prematurely, which is certainly worth the few extra dollars.

Check out the oils, chemicals and fluids available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on synthetic blend oil changes, chat with an expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.


Matthew C. Keegan View All

Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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