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TOWSON, MD (June 6, 2017) – Making an informed choice about oil changes just got easier, thanks to new research on the quality of engine oil. AAA found that synthetic oil outperformed conventional oil by an average of nearly 50 percent in its independent evaluation, offering vehicles significantly better engine protection for only $5 more per month when following a factory-recommended oil change schedule. To protect vehicle engines, particularly those that operate in extreme conditions, AAA urges drivers to consider a switch to synthetic oil at their next oil change service.
“Oil is the lifeblood of any engine, and AAA found that synthetic engine oils performed an average of nearly 50 percent better than conventional oils in a variety of industry-standard tests,” said Jim Spires, Regional Director of AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Car Care Centers in Annapolis, Crofton and Glen Burnie. “AAA’s research revealed that synthetic oil is particularly beneficial to vehicles with turbo-charged engines and for vehicles that frequently drive in stop-and-go traffic, tow heavy loads or operate in extreme hot or cold conditions.”
While only a limited number of vehicles specifically require synthetic oil, all vehicles can benefit from using synthetic oil. At an oil change service, many drivers are offered a choice between conventional or synthetic oil. However, in a companion AAA nationwide survey of U.S. drivers, 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. 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.
Switching from conventional oil to synthetic oil will cost the average driver $64 more per year, or an extra $5.33 per month. 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. For those that change their vehicle’s oil themselves, the average cost of 5 quarts of conventional oil is approximately $28, while synthetic oil is $45. AAA’s survey also shows that vast majority (83 percent) of service professionals select synthetic oil for their personal vehicles.
“It’s understandable that drivers may be skeptical of any automotive service that is nearly twice the cost of the alternative,” continued Spires. “However, the extra $30 per oil change could actually save money in the long run by protecting critical engine components over time.”
If budget is an issue, continuing with a conventional oil that meets a manufacturer’s specifications will not harm a vehicle’s engine, noted Spires.
An experienced auto technician can help owners make the choice based on a variety of factors including the vehicle’s age, mileage, model, and type of driving the vehicle undergoes.
Motorists can identify reliable, high-quality repair shops with certified technicians by looking for the AAA Approved Auto Repair sign or by visiting a AAA Car Care Insurance & Travel Center. These facilities must meet and maintain high professional standards for customer service, technician training, tools, equipment, warranties and cleanliness. Nearby shops can be located at AAA.com/repair.
With the kick-off to the busy summer driving season underway, AAA’s Maryland Car Care Centers are continuing complimentary 40-point vehicle inspections for members and non-members alike by appointment through June 30. The inspections can help motorists identify any potential problems that should be addressed before the summer road trip. The free 40-point check includes:
• Power steering, transmission and brake fluid levels
• Inspection of belts and hoses
• Radiator, and coolant system
• Tires and battery
AAA Car Care Insurance & Travel Center Locations in Maryland
2054 Somerville Road
16301 Crain Highway
Brandywine, MD 20613
7065 Minstrel Way
Columbia, MD 21046
898 Route 3 South
Gambrills, MD 21054
5620 Buckeystown Pike
16045 Shady Grove Road
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
10 Holsum Way
Glen Burnie, MD 21060
718 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852
1019 York Road
5375 Campbell Blvd.
AAA’s engine oil research focused on eight industry-standard ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) tests to evaluate the quality of both synthetic and conventional engine oils in terms of shear stability, deposit formation, volatility, cold-temperature pumpability, oxidation resistance and oxidation-induced rheological changes. At the time of testing, all tested oils were licensed by the American Petroleum Institute and advertised to meet the International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee’s GF-5 specifications. When selecting oil, it is critical to reference the vehicle’s owner’s manual to ensure that the oil meets the exact specifications for that particular engine.
AAA’s full research report, fact sheet and additional supporting materials can be found at NewsRoom.AAA.com.
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Towson, MD 21286
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than 937,000 members in Maryland. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.