Synthetic oil vs conventional oil is an old debate that does not seem to settle anytime soon.
A vehicle’s engine needs a lubricant to ensure its smooth functioning. And for that engine oil is what people use. In earlier days there was no fuss over it as there was only one kind of product available in the market.
However, over time new advancements have occurred, and now there are other options available than the conventional ones.
Now, drivers have the choice choose between conventional engine oil and synthetic or semi-synthetic engine oil. Conventional oil is a natural one, while synthetic oil is man-made.
Both oils serve the same purpose but hold their share of pros and cons. This makes it hard for people to choose the ideal one.
If you too struggle with this problem, this article is for you. Today we will discuss synthetic oil & conventional oil, their pros & cons, and differences.
So, keep reading to learn more about your vehicle’s engine oil.
Conventional oil, referred to as mineral oil, is an organic compound that is obtained naturally from Earth’s crust and is used as a lubricant in automobiles.
In Layman’s terms, conventional oil is obtained from crude oil which has been refined until it attains the right properties to lubricate your engine.
Since it is made from a natural process there are some natural inconsistencies in the structure of the oil at the molecular level.
To talk about old school, conventional oil is the oldie but goodie engine oil. And it is mostly used in older cars.
Today, the usage of a conventional oil is starting to get limited because the impurities present in it adversely affect the longevity, operation, and maintenance of a vehicle.
In other words, the impurities in the oil can increase friction and cause the oil to break down at a faster rate.
Advantages Of Conventional Oil
Using natural products offers many advantages to the buyer. Conventional oil is in the market since the automobile revolution.
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The product has passed so many decades, indicating the benefits that made it sustainable in the world of constant change.
So, if you are thinking to opt for conventional engine oil, it is better to go through the advantages you can enjoy.
– Easy Availability
This motor oil is fairly easy to produce. Oil mining is an easy process that makes the availability of this natural resource easy.
America has its drill points and even imports oil from around the world.
One of the biggest advantages of a conventional oil is it is highly economical. This motor oil is cheap.
So, if you are a cautious driver who doesn’t practice extreme driving habits and follows a regular oil change schedule, you are all set with this old yet good choice.
– Better-Suited For Older Engines
Conventional engine oil is suitable for older engines due to its high viscosity. It results in better lubrication and decreased chances of gears grinding and engine wear.
Also, in the older times, conventional oil was the only engine oil available. So, the companies formulated their engines compatible with this engine oil.
– Good For Brand New Cars
The car manufacturers use their brand of conventional engine oil during the assembly of their models in the factory.
A brand-new engine takes around 5,000 miles period to break in. Thus, it is better to use conventional oil for at least the first five to six thousand miles of your brand-new ride.
– Right Choice For Upgraded Vehicles
If you are among the people who like to upgrade their vehicle now and then, conventional oil is the best option.
Just like it is a good choice for a brand-new car, it is right for upgraded ones too.
The reason is simple. Regular upgrading will not give your vehicle much time to necessitate synthetic oil. At such times, going for something that your engine is already familiar with is a smart move.
Disadvantages Of Conventional Oil
As we said before, every material comes with its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. Conventional oil sure offers many benefits to the user, but at the same time, it has some dark side to it too.
Conventional motor oil contains impurities. Over time it begins to leave carbon deposits, which can settle in your engine, forming sludge and leading to its breakdown.
– Frequent Change
To ensure the good health of your engine you need to change it within the interval as suggested by the manufacturer.
However, conventional engine oil breaks down faster and requires more frequent oil changes.
– Not Feasible With Extreme Conditions
Conventional oil does not do well with extreme hot or cold conditions. The oil starts to boil off in high heat, causing a loss of lubrication to the engine running at high speed.
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Furthermore, the oil can become thick & less fluid in cold conditions making it unable to reach all parts of the engine. It further can lead to sudden heat-up & damage.
Synthetic oil is another engine lubricant that is artificially made by mixing chemicals with crude oil.
There are two types of synthetic oil: Synthetic Blend, also known as Semi-Synthetic, and Full Synthetic.
A synthetic blend oil is formed with a combination of conventional and synthetic oils. It works similarly to conventional oil, but the addition of synthetics offers much better protection to a vehicle’s engine.
On the other hand, fully synthetic engine oil uses synthetic oil as a base. It also has chemicals added to it to obtain properties to serve your engine better.
So, when it comes to full synthetic vs conventional oil, full synthetic oil has the advantage of being better suited for the latest automobiles.
There are different types of synthetics with distinctly different properties and applications. However, polyalphaolefins (PAO) are the most used ones.
Advantages Of Synthetic Oil
If you want to try out synthetic motor oil for your ride, it is always better to find out how it can benefit your ride. Jumping into buying any product without researching it can backfire.
To make it easy for you, here we have listed the advantages you can enjoy with synthetic oil poured into your engine:
– Longer Life
Synthetic oil is more effective at resisting oil breakdown, which makes it last for a long time. It lasts more than your non-synthetic engine oil.
– Withstand Extreme Temperatures
Synthetic engine oil is more susceptible to extreme temperatures. So, whether their condition is too hot or too cold, this oil can withstand it and help keep the engine running for a longer period.
– Keep Engine Cleaner
As the oil circulates through the engine, it picks up the deposits. It does not contain any impurities and thus has better resistance to the formation of sludge & other deposits.
– Less Volatile
Synthetic oil is less volatile, meaning there is less loss of oil to the engine’s exhaust system causing atmospheric pollution. It means you require less makeup oil between the oil changes.
Disadvantages Of Synthetic Oil
Apart from all the above-mentioned advantages, synthetic engine oil comes with a few disadvantages. As an automobile owner, you should be aware of them to make better maintenance decisions for your ride.
Synthetic oil is expensive quite a bit from the old-style motor oils. For some buyers, it can be too much to even consider.
– Prone To Additive Separation
The synthetics are more prone to addictive precipitation during cold conditions. This leads to stratification, meaning a complete separation of synthetics from the oil.
– Slightly Lower Fuel Economy
The multi-grade motor oils that use synthetics may showcase slightly less fuel economy at highway speed compared to what is publicized.
Difference Between Synthetic And Conventional Oil
Now that we have discussed both conventional and synthetic engine oils in detail, we compare the two to find out which one is better and why.
Many buyers who have always used particular engine oil for a long time find it hard to make the switch. Experts say it is mostly because they are unaware of the similarities and differences between the products.
The lack of clarity is what stops people from adapting to change. So, if you are thinking of switching to new engine oil, are struggling to use a current one, or are not sure which one is better for your new or old ride, this section will sort out all of your issues.
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Below we have a detailed description of synthetic oil vs conventional oil. You will learn the major differences between the two motor oils and find out which one is more suited to your requirements.
So, let us get started and help you understand how conventional engine oil differs from a synthetic one.
Synthetic oil has a uniform molecular size compared to conventional oil. The uniform size of the molecules means less friction.
Due to the same size of all the particles, synthetic oil offers no barrier to the engine and gives a smooth engine function. However, in contrast to this conventional oil leads to friction while channeling within the engine.
Motor oil circulates throughout the engine, which leads to deposit formation. Conventional oil contains impurities and forms sludge over time with deposits.
However, synthetic oil contains no impurities. It resists sludge and deposit formation and even helps clean them from the engine, keeping them healthy.
Synthetic oil is cleaner & impurities-free compared to the old conventional oil. The impurities in conventional oil can lead to extreme fuel burns and finally harmful emissions.
However, synthetic motor oil is low on impurities leading to fewer emissions. Furthermore, it makes your vehicle much more eco-friendly than it used to be when you used conventional oil.
4. Engine Protection
The motor oil circulates throughout the engine and eventually breaks down. Conventional oil breaks down faster than synthetic, leading to wear from friction.
But as we said, synthetic oil is in for the long run & it protects your engine for a much longer time.
5. Fuel Economy
If your engine is well lubricated it will give better performance. Conventional oil’s fast breakdown can cause strain on the engine, leading to poor fuel economy.
However, the synthetic oil’s breakdown rate is slower, meaning you will not have your engine heat up or friction leading to better fuel efficiency.
6. All-Weather Protection
Synthetic oil does not start to boil when the temperature is too hot or thickens when the temperature is too low. It ensures the overall protection of your engine no matter what the weather conditions are.
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However, this is not the case with conventional engine oil. It can begin to heat up at high temperatures and thickens to a level in winter where it can no more lubricate the engine.
7. Quick Start Engine
Most of the time engine delays start-up because of the friction caused by its parts which indicate poor lubrication. It is a common issue when using conventional motor oil.
However, with synthetic oil, such issues are seen by quite a few. Synthetic oil does a great job of keeping the engine lubricated even when it is shut down.
So, you can see your engine starting fastly with synthetic in your ride.
8. Oil Change Intervals
An oil that requires frequent changing is not efficient. Conventional oil requires frequent change as compared to synthetic. It is not only frustrating but heavy on your pocket.
You can only use the things you can afford. Synthetic oil is much costlier than a conventional one. If you do not have much budget to spare on high-end engine oil, conventional is all you can go for.
10. Type Of Vehicle
The kind of automobile you own plays a crucial role in deciding which engine oil you should go for.
If you have an old-time automobile, it is better to use conventional oil. Older engines were built by keeping conventional oil in mind as it was the only one available at that time.
However, if you have recent rides, you can go for either one. Also, it is advised to go for synthetic oil for the newer ones.
Frequently Asked Questions
When it comes to price, synthetic oil costs more than conventional oil. The primary reason is that synthetic is premium. It contains little to no impurities, provides better lubrication, leads to fewer emissions, and does not require frequent oil changes.
Not only this, it ensures your engine remains healthy in every condition. Thus with so many features, you will have to pay more for synthetic than conventional.
Is it okay to do synthetic oil vs conventional oil for older cars?
Honestly, if you own an older car, there is no need for you to exhaust yourself while comparing the two prime engine oils. It is a well-known fact that conventional oil is better suited for older cars.
The reason is earlier conventional oil was the only engine oil available on the market. Thus, car manufacturers are used to making the engine keeping this fact in their mind.
Thus, older engines perform exceptionally well with conventional oil in their tank.
How much is a synthetic oil change vs a conventional oil change?
If you are questioning how many times you will have to change your car’s oil, then it is going to be more with conventional oil than synthetic one.
Conventional oil has a high breakdown rate meaning it gets used up quickly. To maintain the lubrication of your engine, you need to change it frequently.
Generally, older vehicles need an oil change every 3,000 miles. However, with modern lubricants, it has increased to every 5,000 to 7,000 miles.
Will there be a horsepower boost in my engine with synthetic oil?
There is no sure proof indicating using synthetic oil will boost your engine’s horsepower. It surely boosts the overall performance by reducing friction, helping to quick-start, and remaining well in all sorts of weather conditions.
Can I change my choice of engine oil?
YES. If currently, you are using conventional engine oil, you can switch to synthetic and vice versa.
The earlier versions of synthetic oil were not compatible with the vehicles of those days. So, when people switched from synthetic to conventional, the engine would wear out.
However, today most vehicles are synthetic oil friendly. It means you can switch between the oils without worrying about harming your engine.
What will happen if I do not change my engine oil for the suggested miles?
According to experts, you need to change the engine oil of your ride every 3,000 miles & in some cases 5,000 miles.
If you avoid doing it, your engine may suffer from carbon, sludge & deposit build-up, generally known as oil sludging.
This will hinder the performance of your engine and ultimately leads to a complete breakdown.
In the debate of synthetic oil vs conventional oil, Synthetic oil is the winner with many features under its hood.
However, experts recommend using conventional oil for older cars, and the newer ones are both engine oil friendly. So, decide based on your budget and requirements.
But overall, synthetic oil is the best choice for better engine health.