Best Oil 101: Synthetic or Conventional Motor Oil?

Synthetic or Conventional Motor Oil?

What should prefer? Synthetic or conventional motor oil?

When it comes to caring for your vehicle, basic maintenance choices often come down to balancing engine health and cost.

In the question of synthetic or conventional motor oil, there is more to consider than just the price tag alone.

Long-term engine wear, change intervals, and engine performance are all things to keep in mind.

In this article, we will cover the difference between synthetic or conventional motor oil.

So you can go through your next oil change with confidence.

Synthetic or Conventional Motor Oil

What Is Synthetic Motor Oil Made Of?

Knowing what synthetic oil is made of helps you decide which one is better for you: synthetic or conventional motor oil.

While the actual “recipe” for synthetic motor oils is often kept proprietary…

Synthetic engine lubricants are frequently made from distilled crude oil and other artificially rendered chemical ingredients.

This lubricant was first developed in 1929 and has been used in everything from cars to jet engines by folks across the globe.

What Is Conventional Motor Oil Made Of?

Knowing what conventional oil is made of helps you decide which one is better for you: synthetic or conventional motor oil.

Conventional motor oil is like synthetic but without man-made compounds.

It is also derived from crude oil, which is a mixture of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur.

The petroleum is then fractionated, or heated to the point that various chemical compounds break, in order to refine it.

Synthetic or Conventional Motor Oil

Which is Better: Synthetic or Conventional Motor Oil?

So, which oil is good for you: synthetic or conventional motor oil?

Since 1929, we’ve come a long way with motor oil.

When selecting a lubricant for your engine, you’ll want to keep some of the following ideas in mind:

  • Keeping your engine clean
  • Keeping your engine moving at low temperatures
  • Protecting your engine at high temperatures
  • Keeping turbocharger parts cool
  • Protecting your engine from long-term wear and tear
  • How often you’ll be able to change the oil
  • Your budget

Generally speaking, synthetic oil is better than conventional oil because it is designed to optimize the characteristics above.

It is more chemically stable than conventional oil and much less likely to oxidize or acidify.

Synthetic or Conventional Motor Oil

Does Synthetic Motor Oil Cost More Than Conventional?

The answer to this question is twofold. Initially, synthetic motor oil does cost more than conventional oil.

But it requires fewer oil changes than conventional oil over time.

This may end up saving you money in the long run, as your engine will be better maintained and will require fewer oil changes.

Does Synthetic Oil Last Longer Than Conventional Oil?

Yes. While most conventional oils recommend a change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles…

Synthetic oil can be changed every 7,500-20,000 miles, depending on the engine and driving conditions.

Synthetic or Conventional Motor Oil

Conventional vs. Synthetic Oil

One of the primary downsides of conventional, un-engineered motor oil is that it creates build-up over time.

Deposits from conventional oil can gum up your engine in the long term and cause more serious problems for you down the road.

This includes:

  • Oil pressure problems
  • Hard starting
  • Overheating
  • Power loss
  • Increased fuel consumption

Synthetic or Conventional Motor Oil

In comparison, as long as you drive your motor 10 miles a day to burn off accumulated condensation…

You will be keeping your engine in optimal running conditions by selecting synthetic.

Synthetic motor oil will:

  • Keep turbochargers from overheating.
  • Turbocharger parts can reach upwards of 400°F and thus run hotter than non-turbo engines.
  • For this reason, it is especially crucial to select synthetic motor oil if you have a turbo.
  • Improving engine performance in temperature extremes.
  • If you live where temperatures regularly dip below freezing or above 90°F, proper engine care becomes even more critical.
  • Protecting from undue engine wear.
  • By keeping your engine free from deposits, synthetic oil maximizes the life of your engine over time.

Synthetic or Conventional Motor Oil

Can I Convert From Conventional Oil to Synthetic?

Now you already have pretty good which oil suits you. Synthetic or conventional motor oil, right?

If you started out on a budget and originally opted for conventional motor oil for previous oil changes…

It’s not too late to make the switch to synthetic!

If you suspect your engine may have accumulated sludge, switching to synthetic is a great way to “scrub” your engine.

Once you make the change, the unwanted deposits will loosen and eventually end up in the oil filter.

This can be changed every other oil change.

Keep in mind that the first synthetic oil change may only be good for 3,000 miles as you will be purging your engine of sludge.

After the first change or so, you’ll be good for more miles, especially if you replace the oil filter.

Synthetic or Conventional Motor Oil

Which Is Better: Synthetic or Conventional Oil?

Synthetic or conventional motor oil?

While synthetic oil may have a larger up-front cost than conventional oil…

This price difference is negligible over time when you think about engine maintenance and the reduced frequency of oil changes.

Conventional oil becomes a good option if you have an older car or live in a cold climate, as it offers reliable, heavy-duty lubrication.

However, if you’re looking at maintaining the health of your engine long-term…

It’s best to think about maximizing your engine’s cleanliness and efficiency with synthetic motor oil.

Are you looking for the right motor oil for your engine? Click here to browse Amsoil’s optimized oil lubricants!