Should I use synthetic vs. conventional motor oil?

I decided to change the oil in my 2020 Honda Civic myself but a trip to the store just left me overwhelmed. Should I be using synthetic or conventional motor oil? Which is better?

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Answer provided by
Laura Salvas
Answered on Apr 13, 2022
With different ingredients, price points, and performance claims, knowing whether to choose synthetic vs. conventional motor oil can be confusing! Your cars’ user manual may explicitly state which oil you should use. But, if given the choice, synthetic motor oil has the upper hand.
Benefits of synthetic motor oil include:
  • More chemically stable, so protects your engine against corrosion longer
  • Evaporates less quickly
  • More fluid in extreme weather
  • Can last up to five times as long before an oil change
  • More environmentally friendly
Benefits of conventional motor oil include:
  • Lower cost
  • Much better option for older cars as it flows slowly, protecting aging engines
You can also buy mixed oils, which work fine and are cheaper than full synthetics.
Currently, 70% of new cars built, including your Honda Civic, use synthetic motor oil, and that percentage keeps climbing. Synthetic oil is made by humans, while conventional oil is made of refined crude oil.
Older cars were built when conventional oil was the only option, so you’re best to stick with it if that’s what you’ve been using.
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