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Oil changes: Should you consider using synthetic oil?

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AAA of Arizona is advising consumers to start thinking about using synthetic oil. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) AAA of Arizona is advising consumers to start thinking about using synthetic oil. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Jesse Garcia and AAA say using synthetic oil instead of traditional oil during routine oil changes, helps your engine run better and last longer. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Jesse Garcia and AAA say using synthetic oil instead of traditional oil during routine oil changes, helps your engine run better and last longer. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
But, according to AAA's study, synthetic oil performed nearly 50 percent better than traditional oil. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) But, according to AAA's study, synthetic oil performed nearly 50 percent better than traditional oil. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
AAA says the average cost of a conventional oil change is $38. However, it's closer to $70 for synthetic oil changes. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) AAA says the average cost of a conventional oil change is $38. However, it's closer to $70 for synthetic oil changes. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Oil is one of the most crucial components of your car and when it breaks down in our heat, it's not good on your engine.

With that in mind, AAA of Arizona is advising consumers to start thinking about using synthetic oil.  

Temperatures around 120 degrees this summer can really take a toll on what you drive.

"Heat, dust here in Arizona, heat just breaks everything down," said Jesse Garcia, general manager at Kelly Clark Automotive, a AAA-approved repair shop in Phoenix.

Think about it. Batteries, belts, hoses and of course tires. They all take a beating in our extreme heat. But there's another item you might want to keep an eye on. That's your motor oil, which breaks down the more you drive.

"This right here is a 5,000-mile oil. Look at that, it is black. Yes, sir,” Garcia said.

Garcia and AAA say using synthetic oil instead of traditional oil during routine oil changes, helps your engine run better and last longer.

"As the engines evolve, they're becoming smaller and they are progressively evolving into the full synthetics so it's becoming more of the norm, you're seeing more synthetics as a standard instead of the conventional oils," Garcia said.

But what do consumers like Bill Pearsall think synthetic oil? 

"Do you know the difference say between synthetic and traditional oil? A lot of consumers don't, do you?" asked Gary Harper.

"No, not really," said a driver.

He’s not the only one but still, there are a number of synthetic oils out there on the market.

Manufacturers use different additives resulting in different colors. Some are lighter, some are darker. But, according to AAA's study, synthetic oil performed nearly 50 percent better than traditional oil.

"If you're not quite sold on synthetic oil, this analogy might punch it home for you. According to Jesse, regular traditional oil is kind of like these coffee beans here. However, he says synthetic oil is more like coffee grounds, smaller particles and it just makes your motor run smoother," Harper said.

However, consumers need to know that using synthetic oil is more expensive.

AAA says the average cost of a conventional oil change is $38. However, it's closer to $70 for synthetic oil changes.

The added cost may be tough to swallow, but Garcia says synthetic oil is simply more refined and when it comes to our heat, your engine will thank you.

"Sometimes, it's just not in the budget, it's not in the short term. The long term, I think, they agree that they want to do the best for their car and they can see by doing something now it may prevent bigger, larger repairs or breakdown or a lack in service," Garcia said.

For additional information about AAA's synthetic oil versus conventional oil independent study, head to their website at http://newsroom.aaa.com/

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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