How to Explain Synthetic vs. Conventional Oil to Your Customers So They Understand

Educating Customers About Oil Choices Can Build Trust and Loyalty

According to a 2018 survey by a leading tire manufacturer, about 1 in 3 customers is not confident enough to select the right oil for their vehicle. A significantly lower percentage than that feel equipped to perform basic car maintenance, but that’s a different subject.

In either case, it’s essential that automotive service providers be able to fill the gap when it comes to equipping customers with enough information to choose what’s best for their vehicle. While, more often than not, owner’s manuals state manufacturer recommendations for oil, those recommendations are often minimum standards.

“That’s an opportunity for your service advisors to connect with customers, build trust, and provide them with useful information with regard to maximizing the performance and longevity of their vehicle,” said SCL Solutions Specialist Don Parker.

Weight aside, as all cars come with manufacturer recommendations for that, customers may choose between conventional oil, a synthetic blend, and fully synthetic oil.

Here are a few key points your advisors can share:

  1. The Difference is in the Building Blocks

    The most significant difference between conventional oil and synthetic oil lies in the foundation. The base stock of conventional oil is refined crude, the molecules of which are not uniform; the base stock of synthetic oil is manufactured, comprised of molecules consistent in size and shape. That uniformity means the difference between an even and uneven flow throughout the car’s engine – which in turn affects wear and deposit build-up. Synthetic oil is also more durable and less likely to break down in extreme conditions, Parker said. But while it’s the best in terms of performance and engine longevity, it comes at a price.

  2. Check the Owner’s Manual First

    Every manufacturer puts standards in place to best suit the needs of its models. That being said, according to Consumer Reports, about 70 percent of 2019 models across all brands were manufactured to take either fully synthetic or a synthetic blend. Some brands, like Honda, “don’t specifically require synthetics for their engines, but the low-viscosity oils that those engines need are only offered in a synthetic format,” according to Consumer Reports.

  3. High Performance Cars or Turbos Usually Need Fully Synthetic

    Fully synthetic oil is typically made for engines found in high performance cars that need to maintain their lubricity and low temperature when the engine is working hard. Think turbos, supercharged engines and, of course, super cars. In recent years, turbos have become increasingly popular, making the demand for synthetic even higher. For customers who want or need the benefit of fully synthetic without the high price tag, a synthetic blend is usually an option.

  4. Some Cars Don’t Need Premium Performance

    Unless the owner’s manual specifies that a vehicle needs synthetic oil, cars don’t need it. Most cars older than 2009 or those with higher mileage can perform fine with a conventional oil, although there are a few exceptions. If customers live in a region with extremely cold winters or hot summers or if they tow or haul with their vehicle, a synthetic blend can protect their engine from strain better than conventional oil.

  5. More People Are Choosing Blends

    For customers who may want the benefits of a synthetic oil without paying two to four times more than conventional oil, they can opt for a blend. Simply a mix of synthetic and conventional oils, blends offer some protection but obviously not at the level of fully synthetic. According to a 2018 survey by the National Oil & Lube News, about 35 percent of drivers now choose synthetic blends while another 22 percent opt for fully synthetic. Most cars manufactured within the past 10 years recommend at least a blend, Parker added.

While there are other options including high-mileage oil and diesel, they only account for about 11 percent of oil changes conducted annually. Most customers – over 57 percent – choose either a blend or a fully synthetic oil. On top of its generally accepted superiority, synthetic oil also offers unseen benefits like longer oil life and longer time that can be allotted between oil changes.

Regardless of where your customers land in their decision-making process, it’s essential that your service advisors have the tools they need to help and, if at all possible, offer customers choices at each tier.

Contact an SCL Consultant today

In a wide range of industrial sectors, SCL is committed to being the number one logistics and solutions provider for the products that protect and optimize the machines that keep our country moving. For more information on how we help automotive partners with services including monitoring delivery or managing inventory, contact an SCL expert today.

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