This is the Difference Between Regular and Synthetic Motor Oil

Article by Christian A., on August 21, 2018

Primarily, motor oil is used to lubricate the engine, thereby reducing friction and wear of moving parts while cleaning the powerplant from sludge and varnish. In addition, motor oil improves sealing of piston rings while cooling down the engine by taking heat away from its moving parts.

Buying motor oil could be overwhelming, no thanks to the wide array of available products. Furthermore, using the wrong type of oil could prove to be a disaster to your engine. Thus, you have to choose right type of oil for your engine.

Basically, there are four types of motor oil: conventional (regular), synthetic, synthetic blend and high mileage motor oil. Since the type of motor oil that your engine needs depends on the on the age of your car and your driving activity, knowing the their characteristics would help you determine which would be the best for your ride.

1. Conventional motor oil

This type of motor is around 75 percent to 80 percent refined crude oil as blended with different chemical additives. It breaks down quicker than synthetic motor oil, which means that you would have to change oil more frequently. Likewise, conventional oil can leave carbon deposits in the engine over time, forming what is called as engine sludge.

Offered in different viscosity grades and in different quality levels, conventional motor oils are usually cheap – with costs around half of synthetic motor oil. While it contains some additives, conventional motor oil isn't as good in high and low temperature conditions as synthetic motor oils. Conventional motor oils usually have impurities and inconsistent molecular size.

Conventional motor oils are recommended for late-model cars with simpler or low-mileage engines. Conventional motor oils are also suggested from drivers who have regular driving styles.

2. Synthetic motor oil

As it name indicates, this type of oil is synthesized, or chemically engineered in a lab environment. The molecules of synthetic motor oil are more uniform both in size and shape, which means that they offer better lubrication than conventional motor oil. Because synthetic motor oil is more refined, it leaves minimal carbon deposits in the engine.

Furthermore, synthetic motor oil can perform as fine even in hot or cold conditions. They boast of greater number and higher quality of additives than conventional motor oil, allowing them to perform better in most areas.

Most modern engines use synthetic motor oil because of the aforementioned qualities. Unlike conventional motor oil, synthetic motor oil means less frequent oil change. It is, however, more expensive that the regular oil.

3. Synthetic blend motor oil

Also called semi-synthetic motor oil, synthetic blend motor oil is essentially a mix of conventional and synthetic motor oils. This means that synthetic blend motor oils have certain characteristics from conventional and synthetic motor oils. It has more additives and is more refined than conventional motor oil, but it has more impurities than the synthetic counterpart. Moreover, synthetic blend motor oils have inconsistent molecular sizes.

Synthetic blend motor oil are good for vehicles that need to operate in high engine speeds and have to carry heavy loads. Synthetic blend motor oil costs less than synthetic motor oil but more than conventional motor oil.

4. High-mileage motor oil

This type of motor oil is specially formulated for older vehicles or even new ones that have already registered at least 75,000 miles (120,701 kilometers) on the odometer – thus its name.

High-mileage oils contain a special blend of additives that help reduce oil burn-off while restoring compression. High-mileage oils also have seal conditioners that can help expand and hike the flexibility of internal engine seals, thereby preventing oil leaks.

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