when having your car’s oil changed, is the extra cost of synthetic oil worth it?
If your car requires it definitely.
The best policy is following the oil change routine with ANY oil(proper spec for vehicle) at proper intervals.
If synthetic oil is not required by the manufacturer, stick with a good brand of conventional oil, and use the proper viscosity.
Unless you engine requires it, then no. If you are running the motor hard or in an extreme climate then it might be a good investment. I usually buy what is on sale with the oil and air filter at one of the local parts shops.
But, it sounds like you are not doing the work yourself. It WOULD be worth the extra money to have the oil change done at an independent mechanic rather than a chain joint.
[b] Owner's manual [/b] is the answer. What ever it says there. You can always use synthetic oil if you like, it will not do much (maybe get you 300,080 miles rather than 300,000 miles) but is it not needed for normal use on cars that do not call for it. You might gain a little mileage using it, but not likely enough to pay the difference in cost.
I like it because any oil is expensive these days. (Some logic!) The synthetic shouldn’t burn itself onto the oil rings on the pistons. That’s one reason I like it. I have roller lifters on my V-8 and I hope the synthetic oil will keep them from wearing out. I am only guessing but you have to believe in something.
You didn’t mention how much the extra cost is? If you are changing oil yourself it could be worth it. You need to consider; how long do you plan on keeping the car? how many miles do you drive per year? can you afford the extra costs?
Synthetics are better, less friction and less wear on the engine, break down less in heat, break down slower over time. If you plan to keep the car for 10 years, the car is supercharged or turbocharged, live in Arizona, pull a trailer, and frequently drive up steep mountains it could be well worth it. Also if you drive very few miles and they are mostly around town you may be able to stretch the oil change interval in time, ie go for a year if the miles diriven are around 5,000 in that period.
For most cars, in most conditions, a good quality standard oil is fine.