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Conventional Motor Oil Vs Synthetic Motor Oil

There is a long standing debate among auto enthusiasts about which is better: conventional motor oil or synthetic motor oil.

While there are differences, motor oils all do the same thing. They lubricate your car’s internal combustion engine to reduce wear on moving parts. Motor oil also cleans, inhibits corrosion and improves sealing. It also cools the engine by removing heat from moving parts. With the help of Blain’s Farm & Fleet, you can learn about the differences between synthetic and conventional motor oil.

Differences of Conventional and Synthetic Motor Oil

Man pouring conventional motor oil into his car's oil reservoir.
What side to do you stand on? Do you prefer conventional motor oil or synthetic motor oil in your car?

Conventional Motor Oil

Conventional motor oil is mineral-based and refined from crude oil. Over the years, regular motor oils have added viscosity enhancers. These make the oil flow over a larger range of temperatures in your car’s engine. Conventional motor oil is less expensive than synthetic. A disadvantage is you have to change your car’s oil every 3,000 miles.

Synthetic Motor Oil

Synthetic oil is refined like conventional oil. It is also distilled, purified and broken down into its basic molecules. The refining process removes impurities from the crude oil. This enables the molecules to be tailored to the demands of modern engines. These molecules offer a higher level or protection and performance. Synthetic oils last as much as three times longer than conventional oils. Synthetic oil users only need to change their motor oil every 7,500-10,000 miles. Synthetic oil must be paired with a synthetic oil filter to achieve this long life. Without a synthetic filter, synthetic oil only lasts as long as conventional oil.

Synthetic motor oil is also thinner than conventional motor oil. It resists extreme temperatures (some brands above 400°F). It has been shown to produce less resistance in an engine. Therefore it offers more horsepower and overall efficiency for the engine. It also has a higher Viscosity Index (VI).

There are disadvantages of synthetic motor oils. They are more expensive than conventional motor oil. However, since they last twice as long as conventional oils, the price difference is negligible. Spending sixty dollars on a synthetic oil change every 6,000 miles would be the same as spending thirty dollars on two conventional oil changes over the same 6,000-mile interval.

Whatever side of the argument you are on regarding conventional motor oil or synthetic motor oil, one thing remains clear: always take the best care of your vehicle. If there are any signs of trouble, you can bring it to your local Blain’s Farm & Fleet automotive center.

Environmental impact

While both synthetic and conventional motor oil are toxic to the environment, synthetic oil is the “greener” choice between the two, since it lasts twice as long as conventional oil. This means that you will use half as much oil. Also, since synthetic oil reduces friction and lets your engine run more efficiently than conventional oil, your will also burn less gas if you use synthetic motor oil.


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