Cap for covering oil filters

Differences between Synthetic or Conventional Oils

The popular debate of what type of motor oil to use when performing an Oil Change has been going on for years and that isn’t going to change any time soon. Many people generally follow the principle that synthetic oil is the best, followed by synthetic blend, and then conventional motor oil. Although most experts will agree that synthetic oils are superior to conventional oils in both heat reduction and lubricity, as to whether or not the higher price tag is worth it in the long run is still up for debate. The following are a few pros and cons of the different oil types to help you in making your decision as to which oil type to use in your vehicle.

Synthetic Oil

Advantages of Synthetic Oil:

  • Increased ability to clean sludge deposits from engine
  • Can reduce heat inside motor
  • Some studies show slightly improved gas mileage
  • Manufacturers claim longer intervals in between oil changes

Disadvantages of Synthetic Oil:

  • Expensive (can often be over twice as much as conventional)
  • Higher chance of seals and gaskets leaking

Conventional Oil

Advantages of Conventional Oil:

  • Much cheaper than synthetic oils
  • Less likely to cause leaks
  • Has provided reliable lubrication for years

Disadvantages of Conventional Oil:

  • Less pure than synthetic oils
  • Requires more frequent oil changes

conventional and synthetic oils

Synthetic blend oils

Synthetic blend oils are a combination of both oil types and can provide the best of both worlds. These oils will hold their viscosity in cooler temperatures and can help provide protection on start up. They offer excellent lubricating properties and come at a much lower price than full synthetic oils.

Oils effect on the environment

When making your decision, another thing to think about is the potential harm caused to the environment. Everyone knows that oil refineries are harmful to the environment, but most are unaware of the harsh chemicals required to make synthetic oils. Either way you toss the coin, both cause an equal amount of harm to the environment and if you plan to drive a gasoline engine than you understand the necessary evil that goes along with your decision.

Switching between oils

Contrary to popular belief, you can switch between these oils as many times as you want to and will not cause harm to your engine. Both oils have lubricating properties that will keep your engine running strong and healthy for years.

We have owned a successful auto repair shop for over 40 years now and have learned a thing or two in our time wrenching on cars. We have seen new cars that have used only Mobil 1 full synthetic oil from the start and have never exceeded 15K mile intervals between oil changes need engine replacements under 60K miles. The same goes for conventional oils being changed every 5K. We have also witnessed vehicles that only saw the cheapest conventional oils on the market last over 400K miles with no issues.

Effect on oil filters

Probably above all, the most important thing to consider is your vehicles oil filter. Oil, whether synthetic or conventional will break down over time and although manufacturers may recommend 15K mile intervals in between oil changes, we simply do not. No matter what oil type you use, your oil filter is taking all of the abuse and to think that an oil filter can last 15K miles and perform like new does not sit well with us.

Now that you know some of the pros and cons of the different oil types you are more equipped to make your decision. Due to the extra cost, higher chance of leaks, longer intervals between changes (causing oil to breakdown and filter to see abuse) we recommend against using full synthetic oils. On the same note, regular conventional oils in our opinion do not carry the same lubricating properties as full synthetic and may cause excessive heat to build up inside engines. We recommend using synthetic blend oil and changing the fluid and filter every 3K-5K miles (for gasoline motors), regardless of vehicle type or manufacturers recommended interval.