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Synthetic Oil vs Regular Oil

If you were to match synthetic oil vs regular oil (also called conventional oil) in a grudge match who would win? Well the first thing to do is probably to define each type so that you know what we’re talking about.  What is the difference between synthetic oil versus conventional oil and which is better? For a start, synthetic oil costs double if not triple when compared to conventional oil.

Synthetic motor oil has some added value to cover for this extra cost. Most experts recommend the use of synthetic motor oil since it has superior capabilities as a lubricant.

However, there are some significant benefits and key differences that most people need to take note of which can help them make better decisions when choosing their next oil.

Conventional Oil Facts

Conventional oil also known as regular oil is a byproduct of crude oil. Regular oil is usually produced through the normal oil refinery process.

Crude oil has the natural component of mineral oils which are contaminants that cannot be separated when processing engine oil. However, some performance additives are usually introduced to increase efficiency and viscosity so that the oil does not break down easily.

These contaminants associated with conventional motor oil make it more impure thus making it less superior since it has a shorter life span. The performance also becomes weaker when exposed to extreme temperatures – either very hot or very cold conditions.

Synthetic Oil Facts

As the name suggests, synthetic oil is produced through artificial means. It has a higher purity level than regular oil because it is processed through chemical synthesis – a process that combines different organic compounds to improve its efficiency levels.

Special performance additives make synthetic motor oil superior since it does not break down easily when exposed to extreme conditions thus helping protect the engine for longer periods.

When oil breaks down, it solidifies. When this happens it forms a mineral like deposit called sludge. This has adverse effects on the engine life and performance of your vehicle.

The only limiting factor of synthesized oil is the price. As mentioned, it can be up to 2 or 3 times as expensive as standard oil.

Here is the tail of the tape so you can see the differences between synthetic oil vs conventional oil:

 Synthetic OilRegular Motor Oil
OriginSynthetically produced.Made from crude oil that comes from the ground.
ComponentsMade of 2 components: 1. Base stock which is artificially created. 2. Additives which are added to prevent sludge build up and mineral deposits and also to provide superior engine protection during extreme driving conditions i.e. extremely cold and hot temperatures.Conventional oil has its origins in crude oil which is separated into two types of oil that are thick and thin. The thinner oil that is extracted is used for conventional motor oil which is the base stock. Additives are then added by the oil manufacturers to offer various benefits.
DrawbacksIs more expensive – often 2-3 times as expensive – as regular motor oil so there is a cost consideration.Because conventional oil comes from the ground, there are some natural contaminants that simply can’t be removed and that remain.
BenefitsBetter protection in extremely cold and hot conditions and in high speed driving conditions. Longer oil change intervals (i.e. it lasts longer than conventional oil). Can increase the life of your engine through better protection. Fewer impurities than conventional oil.Cheaper than synthetic oil, often 2-3 times less expensive. Readily available (not that synthetics aren’t). Does the job and is likely all your vehicle needs in most cases unless you do extreme driving (i.e. frequent high speed driving) or live in extremely cold or hot climates.
UseSome people believe that synthetics are not ideal for brand new vehicles during the wear in period or for high mileage vehicles that might be prone to leaks due to the thinness of synthetic oil. In fact some synthetics manufacturers recommend sticking with conventional oil until the first scheduled oil change and then switching to their synthetic product.Can be used with any type of vehicle at any time in the life of the vehicle. High mileage and other specialty oils are available depending on the condition of your vehicle.

So is synthetic oil better than regular oil?

This table should shed some light on who wins the synthetic oil vs regular oil battle although it does depend on your driving conditions (i.e. weather), driving type (regular driving or long, high speed driving)  and vehicle type (i.e. does your manufacturer recommend synthetic oil perhaps making the question of whether or not to use synthetics a moot point?).

At the end of the day in most cases you get to decide whether or not the more expensive synthetic oil is worth the cost. You can always pick one oil change coupon from our collection and save some money. Check out the benefits and drawbacks of each type of oil and compare that with the type of driving that you do since frequent high speed drivers tends to be the type that synthetic oil offers the most benefits to.

Also, extremely cold and hot temperatures tend to get the most benefit from synthetics too since the thinness of the oil and design offers better protection at these extremities.

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