What’s the Difference Between Synthetic and Conventional Oil?

Lisa Steuer McArdle
· 4 min read
Not so long ago,
synthetic oil
was for high-performance vehicles. Today it's used in a much wider
range of cars
, almost as much as conventional oil. Why is this? 
Is it better for
maintaining your car
than conventional oil? Is it of comparable performance to traditional oil? Here, we'll look at the differences between synthetic and conventional oil according to
I Drive Safely
and
Hagerty
.
The difference between synthetic and conventional oil boils down to a few factors: quality, performance, and additives.

Synthetic oil vs. conventional oil: What are they?

Synthetic oil is a lubricant made from a blend of several base oils, such as refined petroleum, mineral oils, and many more. The base oil gets mixed with chemical additives, which give it its properties. 
These additives can include viscosity modifiers, detergents, anti-wear agents, and more. The mixture is then heated, and the chemicals react to form the synthetic oil.
On the other hand, conventional oil is just that—oil made from organic petroleum sources. It consists of refined crude oil created by exposure to heat and chemical solvents to remove impurities.
It contains at least 80% base oil. The rest of the mix consists of additives that give the oil its properties, such as detergents, corrosion inhibitors, and more. Although both oils come from refined oil, there is a difference.
So what's the difference? The difference between synthetic and conventional oil boils down to a few factors: quality, performance, and additives. Synthetic oil is artificially made, using base oils to create a blend that has the required performance properties.
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Synthetic oil vs. conventional oil: Viscosity

Conventional motor oils are classified by the American Petroleum Institute (API) to meet viscosity requirements. These grades include multi-viscosity, which is good for fuel economy in cold weather climates. Also, the grading includes single-weight oils for less extreme temperatures and high-performance or racing oils for maximum performance.
Most conventional oil has 10 cSt viscosity at 100 degrees Celsius, which is the most crucial viscosity index to measure oil's performance. The difference between synthetic and conventional oil is that synthetic oils have different viscosities. A difference of one grade can make a difference of up to 2% in fuel economy.

Runner-up difference: Better performance 

Since synthetic oils are artificial, they are specifically made to meet the needs of high-performance engines. They flow and work better at higher temperatures and pressures than conventional oils. They also tend to handle
cold weather
better.
So, if you have a high-performance engine or drive in harsh conditions, synthetic oil is your best bet. Additionally, it also tends to last longer than conventional oils. 
But that's not all. The ability to hold on to its viscosity for a long time helps prolong your engine's lifespan. That makes synthetic oil more economical sound despite the initial high prices.
Vehicles using conventional oil for short daily commutes tend to gather moisture and impurities. That's because the oil doesn't get hot enough to burn them away. In older engines, that can lead to engine sludge that eventually kills your engine. 

Key takeaway on synthetic vs. conventional oil

Conventional oil has its place, but we're going to bet that if you're reading this, your engine is not one of them. While synthetic oil comes with a higher price tag, it ultimately offers better performance and can be more economical in the long run.
However, the best engine oil for you will depend on several factors, such as the make and model of your car, driving habits, and climate. But, if you're looking for the best all-around protection for your engine, synthetic oil is generally the way to go.
Apart from protecting your engine, you need insurance cover to protect your car and yourself from any accidents or incidents. You can get affordable insurance by comparing quotes from several providers. Sign up with
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