The Difference Between Conventional and Synthetic Oils
Motor oil serves many purposes. Its primary function is to lubricate and protect, but it also is designed to keep your engine cool and running clean.
Under ideal driving conditions (consistent speed highway driving), conventional motor oils recommended by the vehicle manufacturer work just fine.
But for many people, ideal driving conditions are few and far between. In cases of stop and go traffic, short trips, very cold temperatures, very hot temperatures (caused by weather, traffic jams or turbo engines) or towing and hauling, drivers can benefit from the extra protection of synthetics.
Conventional motor oils are made from crude oil that is drilled from the ground and processed in a refinery. Synthetic motor oils are created from special "synthesized" materials and deliver more performance benefits, such as:
- Superior protection from engine wear
- Lower volatility for decreased oil consumption ("volatility" is the tendency of an oil to break down at extreme temperatures)
- Easier start-ups at very cold temperatures (because they flow easier)
- Greater viscosity (the "thickness" of an oil) at very high temperatures
- Reduced engine deposits, which are the "by-products" of combustion in the engine
Many people think that synthetic motor oils are designed for extending the time between oil changes. This is not the case. While synthetics offer extra protection for your investment, taking proper care of your car still requires oil changes at intervals recommended by the auto manufacturer. However, if circumstances cause you to extend your drain interval, synthetics give you the peace of mind that you're using a superior level of protection.