Differences Between Synthetic and Conventional Oil
What are the differences between synthetic and conventional oil?
When you find yourself at the mechanic or auto repair store, it might be overwhelming when the question between synthetic and conventional oil comes up. The oil your car has is clearly a big factor in the well-being of your vehicle, but how do you know you are making the right choice? Simply, the order of preference for oils is that full synthetic oil is best, with a synthetic blend coming in next and a mineral motor oil – or conventional oil – being the worst, but still good. Here is a bit of an explanation to guide you in your decision making.
What makes synthetic oil different than conventional oil?
With all of the brightly colored advertisements for seemingly endless options of oils when you walk into your mechanic’s shop, it can be unclear what the best option is for you and your vehicle. One of the first things you will notice is that synthetic oil is more expensive than conventional. Seeing that, you will want to know what advantages there are to justify the price difference.
While both types are clearly oil, conventional is natural, straight from the ground, while synthetic has additives that change the performance value. The additives in synthetic oil are there to refine the substance to fit your vehicle’s needs. Engineers are able to control the size and purity of molecules within the synthetic oil with the additives. These changes impact friction, sludge build up within the engine, and higher performance abilities within your engine.
As with many products available today, there are not only a few options within synthetic oil. There is fully synthetic oil, but also a blend of synthetic and conventional. Often, the blends will have mixtures, in low quantities, of un-purified conventional oil. This makes your product less expensive, but also adds the impurities that create sludge and lesser performance. Knowing this, it is time to decide if you want to spend a bit more money have a higher quality, longer lasting oil, or it fits to go with the cheaper option that will get by for a smaller amount of time.
Now that you know the differences, how do you decide which oil to get?
Knowing what the differences between synthetic and conventional are does not necessarily answer your questions. There are a few factors that can guide your further. Within the short term, you will not see better gas mileage due to synthetic oil being used. If your budget is in flux, it is always okay to switch back and forth between synthetic and conventional. There is no oil available that will be “wrong” for your car, so you cannot accidentally go “overboard” with the level of synthetic that you get. Costs tend to be six to ten times higher with synthetic than conventional, but justification can be concrete. Synthetic oil can retroactively clean out deposits that have been left by conventional oil in the past. The overall engine protection that you receive with the higher quality oil will potential save you other mechanical charges in the future.
If budget is not a barrier, the best choice is undoubtedly full synthetic oil. The additives here benefit every car, so you can rest knowing that your decision is solid. If cost is a determining factor, keeping tracking of what you have put in your vehicle in the last oil changes can help you create a schedule for when you want to rotate in higher quality oil. This will allow your engine some time to clean out the sludge that will build up using conventional oil, without always breaking the bank to do it.
The most important factor in oil changes in your vehicle is simply remembering to change it as often as if is recommended. Depending on the choice you make, the period between your refill and the next time to you need to change it can be up to two thousand miles different. Paying attention to this number, or the period of time elected regardless of mileage, will protect your vehicle from engine damage.