Synthetic Oil

Synthetic Oil vs. Conventional Oil, Which One to Use?

Daniel McDonald
Daniel McDonald8 min read
Synthetic Oil vs. Conventional Oil, Which One to Use?

Oil is a crucial element that ensures the engine and its vital components operate correctly. The engine oils help in proper lubrication of the engine's vital parts such as rings, calipers, etc. So, oil changes are something that you should pay close attention to; the longer you delay the oil changes, the more they will impact your engine.

When it comes to an oil change, many drivers find it difficult to decide whether to go for conventional or synthetic oil. While conventional oil costs way less than synthetic oil, the latter provides many more benefits. It ensures proper lubrication of the engine part, low emissions levels, etc.

So, synthetic oil vs. conventional oil, which one should you use? We will comprehensively compare these two oils to give you an idea of what they offer. You can then choose the best for your vehicle. Let's start by understanding what both of these oils are and their advantages and disadvantages.

What Is Synthetic Oil?

Synthetic oil is a top choice for many drivers since it offers many benefits. This oil comprises artificially made chemical compounds that are taken by breaking and reconstructing the petroleum molecules. With the help of a microscope, you can see millions of molecules in a tiny dot of synthetic oil.

One thing about synthetic oil is that you will find millions of molecules with the same attributes (size, shape, and structure). On the other hand, conventional oil has millions of molecules, but they all have different attributes. The primary reason for the different attributes of molecules in conventional oil is that it comes from refined crude oil.

There are different base types through which you can either derive a synthetic blend or a fully synthetic blend oil. The fully synthetic oil has higher quality base stock, created molecule by molecule. Its base stock is made without utilizing petroleum and also has some additives, such as castor waxes and paraffinic oils, which assist in oil degradation.

That is not the case with the synthetic blend since it is a mixture of the fully synthetic base oil and the conventional one. With an additional base stock of synthetic gives the conventional mineral oil to provide more protection. This oil is much better than using conventional oil for your car's engine.

A vital point to note is that synthetics come in various types, each having specific applications and attributes. But, most car service providers will use the Polyalphaolefin (PAO), and this is why it is the most popular choice for the base oils in the automotive industry.

What is Conventional Oil?

Now that you know about synthetic oil let's dive into the specifics of conventional oil. Conventional oil is the standard oil that many people add to their cars. Unlike synthetic oil, conventional oil comes from refined crude oil, making it a cheaper option than synthetic oil.

That is a competitive advantage over synthetic oil as conventional oil is available at more pocket-friendly pricing. However, many people argue about the demerits that come with this price range, such as a drop in the performance, maintenance, and the engine's lifespan. 

That is not entirely true since it depends on the car's make and model. For instance, new cars with modern engines will operate well with synthetic oils.

But the engines of the old vehicles are built on the conventional oil. So, if you have an old model car, it might be better to use conventional motor oil rather than synthetic oil.

In addition to the car's make and model, the mileage is also crucial when choosing the engine oil. The engine comprises various parts, making them complicated to understand for someone with little mechanical knowledge.

Nevertheless, the mechanics will tell how the car's age will impact the grinding of gears and the other vital engine parts. According to experts, vehicles that have traveled more than 65,000 miles will suffer from engine wear and tear.

Not only the engine but other moving parts and gears are likely going to be affected. Therefore, the flow rate of the oils can have a significant impact on these parts.

Since conventional has a slow flow rate compared to synthetic oil, it is an optimal choice for older engines. They can provide adequate lubrication to the critical parts of the engine and your car.

So, if you have a car at 65,000 miles or more, it is better to use conventional oil for better engine protection. But if you live in areas with extreme temperatures, the conventional is subject to quicker chemical degradation and wear.

Since it is much thicker, the conventional motor oil cannot circulate properly and become clogged in tiny gaps of the vital parts.

Benefits That You Can Get from Using Synthetic Motor Oil

The higher quality base oils allow synthetic oils to provide better protection and various other advantages. Le's go over some of the advantages you can get from using synthetic motor oil.

Superior Engine Protection

The engine is a vital component of your car, and you want to protect it from wear and tear as much as possible. Even a minor problem with the engine can cost hundreds of dollars. So, you would want the very best for this vital component of your car.

That is where synthetic motor oil can help you since it offers much better engine protection than conventional oil. The engine parts constantly engage with each other when you drive your vehicle. And the thing which keeps them in proper mechanism is the engine oil.

Since the molecules of the conventional oils will break down after a certain period, they won't offer the same protection as synthetic oils. You must frequently go for an oil change to protect the engine.

Furthermore, the decomposition will occur faster if the engine is in extreme heat or other severe conditions. Therefore, it will further reduce down protection capacity of the conventional oil.

On the flip side, synthetic oils are made from less refined base oils and have fewer impurities. These features help it survive for an extended period without undergoing chemical decomposition. Also, it improves the engine's life since it can now survive extreme driving conditions.

Better Flow Than the Conventional Motor Oil

Another feature of synthetic oil is that it has an optimal flow vs. conventional oil. The oil settles down if you live in an area with extreme cold weather most of the year or when you keep your car standard for some time.

But as soon as you start your car, the oil should start circulating, so it continues to provide continuous protection to the engine. This way, you'll ensure your engine life will not impact.

Since synthetic oils are man-made, they are designed to start circulation even if you don't drive the car for an extended period. Conventional motor oils do not have the same ability and would take some time before the circulation cycle begins.

Therefore, if you want better assurance regarding the engine life and its protection, you should go for synthetic oils vs. conventional ones.

Protection from the Engine Sludge

When you take your car for an oil change, you might hear your mechanic using the word sludge. The engine sludge is a mixture of the impurities of the solid and liquid components. Throughout its life cycle, the oil picks up impurities, and as a result, it causes an engine sludge to form.

Sludge can wreak havoc on your engine since it can enhance emission, reduce its performance, and impact its critical components. This problem is quite common for drivers who don't go for an oil change regularly. However, the type of oil you choose also leads to sludge formation.

Conventional oils are likely to create a sludge since they are made from refined crude oil. Since synthetic motor oils have fewer impurities, they can be crucial in preventing the sludges from forming in your engine.

The best part is that the stencil oil change will clear out any sludges that are previously there in your engine. Thus, it will improve the overall life of your car and give you an optimal driving experience.

Protection to Turbocharger

Climate change is a significant concern for many industries, and the automakers are now focusing more on it. That is why they are manufacturing vehicles with a small engine with much more output. They can achieve this goal with the help of turbocharging technology.

The turbocharger engine allows you to improve the performance since it stuffs the additional fuel-air mixture quantity into the combustion chamber. However, the turbocharging engine will function at a high-temperature level than the standard engine, and thus, it will need better engine protection for optimal performance.

For example, the oil temperature inside the turbocharger can go way beyond 400 degrees Fahrenheit or the shaft might spin at a speed of more than 2,00,000 RPM (Revolutions Per Minute).

The oil circulation needs to be fast in both scenarios for the engine to function correctly, and this is only possible if you use synthetic oils instead of conventional oils.

If you have a turbocharging car, you should go for synthetic oil rather than conventional oil. You won't have to go for an oil change if you choose synthetic motor oil over conventional oil.

This is why many cars with turbocharging engines use synthetic oils instead of conventional oils.

Optimal For High Temperatures

Last but not least, the advantage of synthetic oils compared to conventional oils is their better resistance to high temperatures. The conventional oils will dry up and evaporate faster when they are subject to extreme heat or harsh conditions.

Since the conventional oils comprise average-grade mineral oil, the molecules inside it will break away and evaporate. Consequently, it will leave the engine vulnerable to likely wear and tear.

Synthetic oils have better resistance to higher temperatures since the molecules stay in position. Its molecules will stay intact, offering better engine protection even in hot conditions.

Conventional Oil or Synthetic Oil: Which One Should You Choose?

You might wonder whether you should use synthetic motor oil or synthetic oils for your vehicle. Many new cars can use synthetic oils which meet the standards set by the International Lubricant Standardization and the American Petroleum Institute.

Since synthetic oils offer many benefits and can help you improve fuel economy and ensure the vehicle's engine continues to give peak performance. However, it is better to check the vehicle owner's manual to know what the manufacturer recommends for your car. The owner's manual will tell you about the range, oil filter, and other things to remember when going for oil changes.

Also, it is vital to take your car for an oil change from time to time, even if you have a high-mileage engine. The oil change should occur after driving your car for more than 7,000 to 7,500 miles. Getting synthetic oils for your can will save you from more frequent oil changes and enhance engine performance.

Final Word

While synthetic oil costs more than conventional oil, you won't have to go for frequent oil changes. If you compare the benefits of synthetic oil vs. conventional one, synthetic oil has the upper hand.

The full synthetic motor oil will give you a better engine performance and last longer than the conventional one. So, you shouldn't focus on saving a few bucks by ignoring the full synthetic motor oil when going for an oil change.

If you are wondering if synthetic oil is worth the high price, then the short answer is yes. The synthetic oil change will cost you less than $50 to 70. In addition, you can drive up to 8,000 miles if you go for a synthetic oil change. The synthetic oil will keep your engine cleaner and give you better gas mileage.