This is commonly asked by many motorists. Globe and Mail Automotive Columnist Rob MacGregor fielded this question from a curious driver.

Hi Rob, I have a 1999 Saab 9.5 station wagon. It only 4000 km on it when I purchased it in 2000. It is a 4 cylinder turbo and has always used regular engine oil, changed every 5000 km or so. I have been advised that I should switch to synthetic oil because of the high heat generated by the turbo. My car has 142,000 km on it and has generally been a good car. Do you think I should use synthetic oil from now on or stay with regular oil? Most of the time I use the car for around town trips.

Thanks, Helen

You can check out his answer at Globe and Mail: “Should I switch to synthetic oil for my car?”.

Mr. MacGregor’s response correctly touts the merits of synthetics over conventional oil including:

  • Synthetic oil’s ability to deliver extended drain intervals.
  • Superior ability to resist the high heat produced by the Saab turbocharger.
  • Offers superior resistance to coking and depositing over conventional oil. This quality is certainly applicable to turbocharged vehicles, but definitely applies to naturally aspirated vehicles as well.

We concur and discuss this issue further in our article Why Synthetic Oil? .