If you own a car, then you may have come across synthetic oil and conventional oil during your routine oil change. The use of synthetic and conventional oils has been a favorite subject of debate among car enthusiasts. Choosing the right oil for your vehicle is crucial to ensure that your car is receiving the right treatment as well as for a comfortable and safe driving experience. When it comes to engine oil, you will have two choices: synthetic oil or conventional oil. But what really is the difference between the two? And which of these is better for your vehicle’s engine?
Synthetic oil is an engine oil artificially made from a base oil, powder additives, a carrier oil to rebuild petroleum molecules. Other synthetic oils used today are a product of highly refined crude oil, pumped from an underground source. Synthetic oils can be further categorized as full synthetic and synthetic blends. Full synthetic oils such as those that use a synthetic base stock or those designed molecules without the use of petroleum. Instead, it includes additives to assist in the degradation process of the oil. Synthetic blend on the other hand is a mixture of conventional oil and synthetic base stocks.
Synthetic oils are designed to withstand extreme temperatures and weather and will not break down easily. In fact, it flows better in cold temperatures. Because of this, prior to its commercial release, it is mainly used in military cars and fighter jets. Since synthetic oil has more additives, it can protect your engine longer against viscosity breakdown. Another advantage of synthetic oil is that it requires less frequent oil changes, with up to 25K miles between engine oil changes. The impurities in synthetic oil also help to minimize engine sludge. However, because synthetic oil flows easily, it is not recommended to use during break-in period and for those vehicles with high mileage engines.
Conventional oil, as its name implies, is the type of engine oil that is derived or produced from crude oil that is extracted from the ground using the traditional drilling methods. One of the many benefits of conventional oil is that it is liquid in atmospheric and pressurized conditions, making it an excellent lubricant at high temperature.
Conventional oil is also cheaper compared to synthetic oil. This is a great advantage especially if you are not pushing your vehicle to its limits and follows a regular engine oil change. Conventional oil has been on the market longer than synthetic oil. This means that it is easier to find stocks of conventional oil than the latter.
The downside with using conventional oil is the deposits it leaves on the components of the engine as the oil breaks down. Though, there are also conventional oils that can remove some of the deposits on the engine’s components
Determining which type of engine lubricant is better for your vehicle depends on several factors. While synthetic oil provides better protection on your engine, it isn’t recommended to use on vehicles that have seen better days or those which have reached around 75,000 miles on the odometer. You also need to consider your budget as both engine oils differ widely in cost.