Conventional Motor Oil vs. Synthetic Motor Oil: What’s the Difference?

Conventional motor oil is a lubricant that is derived directly from crude oil. It has excellent properties that allow it to provide lubrication at high temperatures, as well as maintaining its stability over long periods of time.

Synthetic lubricants are derived from a number of sources, including completely synthetic compounds, petroleum-based products or other organic oils. Synthetic oil differs from conventional oil because of unique polymers added to the base formulation.

Here is a quick overview of the most common advantages that synthetic oils offer over conventional motor oil:

Improved Lubrication – Most synthetic oils have added lubricants that increase the ability of the oil to keep engine parts slick, especially at high temperatures. This decreases wear over the long term and may make your engine last longer.

Better Stability – Synthetic oils are specially engineered to maintain their thickness at higher temperatures and over longer periods of time allowing “oil” to “stick” to engine parts more readily, providing better wear protection.

Reduced Breakdown – Synthetic oils are less apt to break down which means that many synthetic oils don’t need to be changed as often as conventional oils.

Fewer Deposits – As conventional oils break down, they often leave deposits on engine components. This is especially common in engines that run for long periods of time, are driven hard or driven under tough conditions. As conventional oil breaks down, it literally sticks to different surfaces in the engine and “bakes on” just like cooking oil would in a frying pan. Synthetic oils are less apt to do this. In fact, some conventional oils are available that actually have the ability to remove some of these deposits.

Although the properties of the synthetic oil are definitely better, conventional oil will protect your vehicle’s engine just fine. The most important thing you can do to keep your car running smoothly is to follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended service schedule found in your owner’s manual.

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