There can be a lot of confusion surrounding the topic of synthetic and regular motor oil. Some people believe that synthetic oil is always better than regular, while others are left wondering: can you mix synthetic oil with regular motor oil? In this article, we will clear up the confusion and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about what type of motor oil is best for your car so you can continue to care for your investment and get the best performance out of your vehicle.
Can You Mix Synthetic Oil With Regular Motor Oil
What's the Difference Between Synthetic and Regular Motor Oil?
Regular or conventional motor oil is sometimes referred to as mineral oil. It is a crude oil extracted from beneath the ground and then further refined. It was first “invented” in 1866, though the technology for refining mineral oil has certainly come a long way since then.
In fact, we’ve gone from simply removing impurities in mineral oil to adding additional components to increase the efficacy of the motor oil’s lubrication properties, operating temperature range, lifespan, and more. This is what most people are paying for when they pay for synthetic oil, which has been altered to have supplementary benefits and modified petroleum additives.
What's Added to Synthetic Motor Oil?
Since the invention of the first combustion engine in 1876 by Nicolaus Otto, engine lubrication technology has come a long way. Nowadays, there are many different types of synthetic or hybrid motor oils on the market so you can dial in your engine’s performance and get the most out of your gas mileage and drive your car further between oil changes. This is largely thanks to the laundry list of additives that are used to enhance regular crude oil with various properties. These additives range in scope from detergents (which keep the motor clean) to corrosion and rust inhibitors. Other common additives include:
· Antioxidants, to prevent the oil from acidifying if exposed to oxygen
· Viscosity index boosters, which increase lubrication
· Anti-wear agents, which prevent premature engine wear and help you protect your motor
· Extreme pressure additives, which are similar to anti-wear agents
· Dispersants, which prevent gunk and deposits from building up within the engine
· Friction modifiers, which will either add friction or decrease it, depending on the kind of motor
· Anti-foaming agents, which prevent bubbles from forming in the lubricant
· Biocides, which prevent bacteria from thriving
· Tackifiers, which help the lubricant to adhere to the moving parts rather than being flung off
· Emulsifiers, which keep all the additives and oil together
· Demulsifiers, which are primarily used in lubricants for motors that may be exposed to water or steam
· Pour point depressants, which allow the lubricant to flow even at low temperatures
Why Is Synthetic Motor Oil Better Than Conventional?
Well, the answer to this question is not as straightforward as it might sound. While the additives in synthetic motor oil mean you can tailor your engine’s lubrication to your driving style, climate conditions, and type of motor, this does not always mean that synthetic motor oil is the best choice for you. For example, if you have an older car and don’t drive it very frequently, you may be better off with the lower price point and straightforward lubrication of conventional oil.
However, if you use your car to commute or travel, or are at all interested in achieving optimal engine performance, chances are you will likely want to go with synthetic motor oil. Depending on the kind you get, it can be specifically engineered for your engine—which is hard to beat. If you’re on the fence about which kind of motor oil to get, you can always go with a synthetic and conventional motor oil hybrid. This offers the lower price point associated with conventional with some of the beneficial additives of synthetic.
Can You Mix Synthetic Oil With Regular Motor Oil?
If you’re a new car owner or have simply newly taken interest in caring for your vehicle, you may not know what type of motor oil is currently in your vehicle. Alternatively, you might have only had room in the budget for conventional motor oil, but now that you’ve happily experienced a pay increase, you may be willing to invest some of that money into synthetic motor oil. While it might not seem like a big deal to switch from conventional to synthetic motor oil, synthetic lubricants are more expensive for a reason—they can add years to the life of your engine, increase fuel economy, and boost your overall engine performance.
That being said, it is generally not a good idea to mix conventional motor oil with synthetic motor oil unless you drain the sump and intentionally add a hybrid motor oil mix. If you need a simple top-off, in a pinch you might be able to get away with mixing the two—but it’s generally best to completely drain your oil at your next scheduled oil change and make the switch to synthetic at that time.
What Type of Synthetic Oil Is Best?
While the right type of synthetic oil for your circumstances will vary based on where you live, how often you drive, and the age and type of car you maintain, not all synthetic motor oils are created equal. To decide which type of motor oil is best for your car, it is best to settle on a brand you trust, like AMSOIL premium synthetic motor lubricants, like the AMSOIL Synthetic Signature Series Motor Oil.
For even more advanced engine protection, try AMSOIL’s 100% synthetic OE Motor Oil, or click here to browse an inventory of some of the highest quality, American Autombile Association-tested engine lubricants available on the market today!