Toyota recently announced that it will transition its new vehicles away from using conventional motor oil and instead use a 0W-20 weight synthetic oil. This rolling change, which will take several years, is largely the result of higher fuel economy requirements and
tightening emissions certification requirements.
Owners of the particular Toyotas that require synthetic oil get some nice benefits as a result. One is the fuel economy rating may improve by about a half mile per gallon compared to conventional motor oil. Also, the oil change interval for normal driving conditions will be longer, meaning fewer changes and less residual oil to dispose.
How the Owner Benefits
From an owner’s perspective, the big story here is that synthetic oil needs to be changed only half as often as conventional oil. That means less inconvenience and lower service costs.
How the Vehicle Benefits
Synthetic oil has several advantages for an engine. For example, the oil remains liquid and slippery over a wider range of temperatures. The benefit of that is better lubrication in cold-start and cold-running conditions, as well as more stable behavior under high heat. Also, synthetic oil molecules are of a more consistent size than conventional oil molecules, so they’re better at maintaining the slick film that minimizes metal-to-metal contact.
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