If you drive, odds are you've had to get your car's oil changed.

And in that, odds are you've had to answer the question, "What type of oil do you want?"

A growing number of people have been moving to full synthetic oil because of claims that those oils can increase mileage.

"I use full synthetic because it gets more mileage," Bryan Perkins said. "At least, that's what they say it does."

But is it true?

James Smith owns Smith's Family Auto Care in Temple and recommends being wary of those claims.

"If you're going to change your oil on a regular basis, conventional oil is going to work just as good as synthetic oils," Smith said.

According to Smith, the important thing is how often you change your oil. As long as you change your oil in line with the manufacturer's recommendations.

Doing so cleans out sludge and other impurities in the engine.

"A clean motor is going to run better," Smith said. "Therefore, better fuel mileage."

Smith said synthetic oils are made with fewer impurities. Because of that, it takes longer to break it down and it lasts for a greater number of miles.

The recommendations for how often you should change your oil comes from the car manufacturer and is the result of tests, according to Smith.

"Engineers that are building the motors, they'll take the information and apply it based on the motor that they're building," Smith said.

What about claims that synthetic oils decrease engine wear?

Smith said he hears the belief from his customers a lot and we found it on the back of a bottle of full synthetic oil.

The back of a bottle of STP full synthetic motor oil.
KCEN

"if you've got a car that came from the factory with conventional oil, I would run conventional oil," Smith said. "It's cheaper and as long as you get it changed every 3,000 miles like recommended, it'll perform just like if it had synthetic."

As long as oil change frequency recommendations are followed, Smith said there's no real decrease in wear by using a synthetic oil.

But, for those who forget or go longer than recommended on their oil, Smith said synthetic may be the way to go.

"Only in the instances if you're one to forget your oil change or overlook them or get busy and you don't get your oil changed on a regular basis," Smith said.