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Car Care Advice

Synthetic Vs Conventional Oil (Differences + Benefits)

October 27, 2021
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Synthetic vs conventional oil what’s the difference?

While synthetic engine oil contains fewer impurities and is more refined than conventional oil, both these engine lubricants have their own set of benefits. 

But is synthetic oil better than conventional oil?
And how do you choose the right oil for you? 

To address those questions, we’ll go through the major differences between synthetic and conventional oil. We’ll see how they’re made, their pricing differences, and their oil change interval to help you better decide the right oil for your car.

This Article Contains:

Let’s begin. 

Synthetic Vs Conventional Oil: 3 Key Differences

Synthetic engine oil and conventional oil are both types of motor oil used for the lubrication of engine parts. 

Apart from lubrication, they also perform these functions:

So, where do the differences lie?
Let’s take a look.

A. How They’re Made

Both synthetic and conventional engine oil are made from crude oil, but the quality and complexity of the process for each vary greatly. 

1. Synthetic Oil 

Synthetic oil is chemically produced in the laboratory.

Synthetic base oil is obtained from highly refined petroleum (crude oil), to which various synthetic additives are then added. The base oil is usually synthesized by breaking down and then rebuilding hydrocarbon atoms. 

This results in a highly reliable oil with higher stability to the oil’s structure under extreme temperatures and pressures. Synthetic oil generally performs better at very high and low temperatures than conventional oil, thanks to its stability and fluidity.

Synthetic motor oil is also better at dealing with engine dirt and impurities than regular oil; it also provides far better performance with modern engines due to the use of synthetic additives and its better oil viscosity. 

2. Conventional Oil 

Conventional oil is obtained by heating crude oil at various high temperature points. This process leads to a heavier oil that is left behind, which becomes the base oil for conventional motor oil. 

To this base oil, certain additives are added for increased performance and engine protection. Although conventional oil provides decent protection against friction and engine wear, it is not refined in the way that synthetic oil is. 

B. Pricing Differences

Conventional motor oil is a lot cheaper than fully synthetic oil. 

To give you an idea, synthetic oil can cost you about two to four times more than conventional oil. 

The cost of producing synthetic engine oil is far higher than any other motor oil as synthetic oil requires advanced technology and equipment. This means that it can also be expensive to maintain a regular synthetic oil change schedule.

As a result, most people often shift to synthetic blend oil, a cheaper alternative to synthetic oil that performs better than mineral oil. Semi synthetic oil also acts as a stepping stone when switching to synthetic oil.

C. Oil Change Interval 

Here’s where synthetic oil justifies some of its high prices. 

1. Synthetic Oil 

While synthetic oil does cost more, it also has better oil change intervals

Most vehicle mechanics and vehicle manufacturer manuals recommend getting a synthetic oil change every 5000-7000 miles

However, it can go as long as 10,000 to 15,000 miles if you practice good driving habits. These include regular oil top-ups, oil filter changes, good braking habits, and using quality oil. 

2. Conventional Oil 

Conventional oil, on the other hand, has a far shorter oil change interval. 

You can expect to get 3000-5000 miles out of your traditional oil. In best-case scenarios, it can go about 7000 miles without needing an oil change.

After this point, you may start noticing signs that your oil has gone bad, including darker, muddy oil and impurities suspended in the expired oil. It is best to change your oil at this point.

Does this mean that synthetic oil is better than conventional oil?

Benefits Of Synthetic Vs Conventional Oil

While both conventional and synthetic oils have their advantages, synthetic oil outperforms regular oil in most cases.   

To be fair, let’s take a closer look at the benefits each type of oil offers:

1. Benefits Of Synthetic Oil

Synthetic oil is an excellent motor oil for a number of functions, including engine protection at extreme temperatures. 

Here are some benefits of synthetic motor oil:

2. Benefits Of Conventional Oil 

Conventional motor oil may not be as refined as synthetic oil, but it still has a couple of advantages over the latter. It’s:

Given these advantages, how do you decide the right oil for your car? 

How To Pick The Right Engine Oil For You?

Synthetic oil always makes for a good choice when it comes to your car engine.

Synthetic oil is good because

If you’re going to be using synthetic oil for the long run, the longer oil change intervals usually make up for the oil’s high costs. It also gives you better fuel economy. It’s therefore perfect for heavy-duty use under extreme temperatures.

Conventional oil is a good because

Conventional oil is cheaper to maintain. 

It’s also better suited for high mileage vehicles since synthetic oil’s viscosity risks grinding gears for older vehicle engines. And if you don’t practice harsh driving or operate your car at a high temperature, conventional oil may be a good choice for you. 

The good news is that you can always alternate between conventional and synthetic oil
You can also try semi synthetic oil for your engine. 

Synthetic blend motor oil is cheaper than synthetic oil but performs far better than mineral oil. Synthetic blend oil also helps with fuel economy and protects against engine wear. 

Irrespective of whether you choose a conventional, synthetic, or synthetic blend oil type, remember to refer to your vehicle manufacturer manual to make sure it’s the right fit for your car. 

Closing Thoughts

Choosing the right oil for your vehicle can be very intimidating at first.. 

Before deciding between conventional or synthetic motor oil, make sure you consult the vehicle manufacturer manual for the right oil your car needs.
If unsure, you can always try synthetic blend oil. 
Synthetic blend oil is an excellent stepping stone when switching between conventional and synthetic! 

Most importantly, get routine car maintenance to keep your vehicle in good shape.
And if you’re looking for a mobile auto repair maintenance and service provider, RepairSmith is your answer! 

With RepairSmith, you can avail of competitive and upfront pricing, and quality service from ASE-certified mechanics. Contact them now!