Automotive engine oil is responsible for making sure that your Nissan’s engine runs smoothly by lubricating engine parts and reducing friction. There are two main types of engine oils used in Nissan vehicles: conventional and synthetic.
Knowing the difference between the two is important for deciding which to choose. Conventional engine oil is made from crude oil which has been extracted from the ground and processed in a refinery in order to remove most unwanted contaminants and compounds. Synthetic engine oil, on the other hand, is an artificially made lubricant derived from petroleum. The process of refining and distilling synthetic engine oil ensures that there are no undesirable contaminants in the finished product.
The owner’s manuals for newer Nissan vehicles recommend the use of synthetic oil, and Nissan vehicles which were originally designed to take conventional oil can take synthetic without problem as well. There is a full range of synthetic engine oils available for Nissan vehicles, with different specific oils recommended for different engines. There are also several very good reasons why you want to upgrade to using synthetic oil in your vehicle if you aren’t doing so already.
Arguably the biggest advantage of synthetic oil is that it maintains viscosity under extremely hot and extremely cold conditions much better than conventional oil. Conventional oils can become too thin when temperatures are very high, and too thick when temperatures are freezing. Synthetic oils are more stable under extreme temperatures, which allows for more consistent and proper lubrication of engine parts in all conditions, keeping friction low.
The viscosity of engine oil is important not only for its ability to lubricate the engine, but also to carry heat away from the engine. As the oil circulates, it uses convection to draw heat out of the engine. Because synthetic oil stands up better to high temperatures, it is able to carry away more heat than conventional oil and thereby help the engine run cooler. Engine oil also plays a critical role in keeping the engine clean, which it can again do more effectively the more efficiently it circulates.
Synthetic engine oil is capable of reaching all of an engine’s moving parts upon startup faster than conventional oil. The length of time that these parts are left improperly lubricated contributes directly to the amount of friction created between them. More friction will result in more engine wear over time, increasing maintenance costs and reducing engine life.
The reason why synthetic and conventional oils behave differently is because of their different molecular consistencies. Synthetic oil is made up of molecules which have a consistent shape and mass. As they collide, these uniform molecules produce less friction and therefore less heat. Because it is not as pure, the molecules which make up conventional oil do not have as consistent shapes. The smaller, shorter molecules are particularly problematic because they burn when they become hot.
As mentioned above, some Nissan vehicles are already designed to take synthetic oil, and it is important both for your engine and for your warranty that synthetic, not conventional, is the oil you use. High-performance vehicles in particular should always be using synthetic oil, and it’s ultimately a good idea to switch to synthetic no matter which Nissan vehicle you drive.
The right engine oil can help improve your engine’s longevity and operating efficiency. If you’d like more information about the benefits of synthetic engine oil or if you’d like to switch from conventional to synthetic, simply stop by our service department and we’d be happy to help you out.