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Synthetic Vs Conventional: Which Oil Is Right For Your Car?

As far as a regular person is concerned, motor oil is motor oil. For them, the distinction between synthetic oil vs regular oil might be arbitrary, to the point that if it says ‘for gasoline-powered engines’ on it, people are content with it and don’t fall for the debate of synthetic oil vs conventional oil. However, as experts, it is our duty at Magnum Autoclub to inform the people and the general public of the differences that exist between the two. Synthetic oils and conventional oils are vastly different, and as such, have different properties and affect engines differently. In this blog post, we’ll look at both of these engine oil types separately and understand which one might be right for your vehicle, whether you drive a regular passenger car or a high-performance vehicle. 

Engine oil is necessary for a vehicle; powered by internal combustion engines, the moving parts within an engine (including pistons, camshafts, connecting rods etc) need to be constantly lubricated and provided with ample amounts of oil for their cooling and cleaning effect. Which makes engine oil the essential lifeblood of an engine. The types of engine oil then come in, like synthetic oil vs regular oil, and which one might be better for your car. 

Let’s start by looking at your regular engine oil. 

Regular/ conventional engine oil

Engine oil in the conventional sense is essentially mineral oil that has been used by the automotive industry for quite a long time now. It is a byproduct of crude oil but is refined by adding cleaners and other compounds to it for enhanced viscosity and performance in gasoline engines. Regular motor oil or engine oil works best in cars from the previous era. Many mechanical experts agree that for basic protection from wear and tear and to sufficiently lubricate a conventional internal combustion engine, conventional engine oil is fine and does the job well. 

Usage of conventional motor oil

As stated beforehand, the conventional or regular motor oil has been in use for the longest time now. From the automobiles made in the 80s and onwards, up until the early 2010s, all vehicles with an internal combustion engine utilize conventional motor oil. This is because the engine of these vehicles was designed with the capabilities of conventional motor oil in mind, which makes them very much congruent with the conventional oil. In fact, mechanical experts agree that using synthetic oils for older vehicles might adversely affect their performance and their engine components, since they aren’t designed to work with the increased viscosity and lubrication levels of newer, more chemically advanced synthetic oils. 

Synthetic motor oil

Synthetic motor oils, on the other hand, are much more refined, purpose-engineered and have chemical additives that supplement their viscosity and their properties crucial for motoring. For example, synthetic motor oil, when compared to conventional or regular motor oil, boasts enhanced viscosity as well as temperature resistance for both heat-intensive driving and during cold startups. Furthermore, synthetic motor oils are also engineered for specific purposes; for instance, high-performance vehicles equipped with forced induction systems like turbochargers and superchargers require better lubrication and cleaning, which means that they come recommended with synthetic motor oils. 

To differentiate between the two types of motor oils, let’s look at their primary applications and where they are used extensively. 

Usage of synthetic motor oil

On the other hand, synthetic motor oil has been a more recent development, and therefore, only newer cars or cars above a certain performance level require such engineered oils. Considering the fact that modern engines are turbocharged and usually have lots of driver assists and technologically advanced components, manufacturers regularly recommend synthetic oils for optimal performance. For example, passenger cars like hatchbacks, sedans and coupes from 2016 onwards recommend using synthetic motor oil since it allows for better heat dissipation, better lubrication and reduced wear and tear. High-torque trucks and SUVs with increased towing capabilities also recommend using synthetic motor oil, since the engines in these vehicles are overstressed during towing and require increased wear and tear protection as well as lubrication for the engine to perform satisfactorily under high-stress conditions. Similarly, high-performance vehicles like supercars and performance vehicles require usage of synthetic motor oils for their increased performance and to keep the engine performing well. 

What are the advantages of using synthetic oil?

Since synthetic oils are now most commonly used for newer cars (obviously equipped with an internal combustion engine), here are the many benefits that synthetic engine oils have as compared to conventional or regular engine oils. 

  1. Wear protection

The first and foremost reason why many newer cars and high-performance vehicles use synthetic oils is due to their superior wear and tear protection. While conventional oils are essentially mineral oils with some agents added to them, synthetic oils are custom engineered with compounds that help extend the lubrication life of the oil as well as providing a much better performance to the engine by protecting components from heat damage. Synthetic oils simply do it much better than conventional oils. 

  1. Change interval

One of the biggest reasons why synthetic oils are preferred so much and are quickly replacing conventional oils as the standard is due to their long life, and their increased change interval. You see, where conventional oil might have to be changed after 3000 or 5000 miles, synthetic oils routinely go over 10,000 miles and even upto 15,000 miles between changes. That means that the change interval for synthetic oils is much better and allows for money to be saved on repeat oil changes between a certain mileage point. 

  1. Better efficiency

Engine oil makes a considerable difference in how well your engine performs: whether its power or fuel efficiency. Dirty, old engine oil will reduce engine performance and bring down efficiency numbers. On the other hand, better quality engine oil gives much better efficiency numbers. And since synthetic engine oils are formulated with much better lubrication and performance metrics, it automatically results in better fuel efficiency for the engine and is a big part of the appeal of modern, high-performance synthetic oils. 

  1. Better cooling/ cleaning

One of the secondary purposes of engine oil is the engine cooling and cleaning effect that oil provides. Since temperatures within an engine are extremely high, engine oil performs vital heat dissipation function by cooling down components like pistons etc. similarly, since moving parts discharge microscopic particles that could build on the moving parts, the engine oil also cleans the parts and carries these impurities to the oil filter. While conventional oils do both these jobs, synthetic engine oils are much more efficient at this job and provide much more usability in terms of both engine cooling and cleaning. 

  1. Temperature performance efficiency

Engine oil needs to be good at both fronts: when the temperature is high, it needs to be viscous enough to stick to the moving parts and not lose its consistency. On the other hand, during colder startups and in climates below freezing, it needs to be thin enough to reach the hard-to-get parts and components of the engine. Synthetic oils do this the best; they are formulated for optimal functioning in both temperature extremes. Conventional oil is much thicker, and tends to underperform in lower temperatures, starving the engine of oil during the crucial startup. 

So, which is better for your vehicle?

The most prudent step is to check the owner’s manual of your car and follow whatever recommendation the manufacturer has for the vehicle. You can also find the recommendation on the cap with the engine oil sign, located on top of the engine itself. Newer cars usually have synthetic oils recommended, and while they might cost more, they will provide you with a lot of usability as compared to conventional oils. On the other hand, it is viable that conventional oils be used for older cars; older engines aren’t designed to run with synthetic oils and might struggle with such an overengineered oil. For older cars, conventional oil is best. At the end of the day, you can ask your mechanic about the type of oil that your car will run best on. 

Magnum Autoclub: here for your car’s ultimate performance!

Worried about what kind of oil your car takes? Or do you have an offroad trip coming up that you need to prepare your car for? Well, if you are tired of your regular mechanics and their shenanigans, get a breath of fresh air with Magnum Autoclub. They understand that the automobile maintenance industry is riddled with uncertainty and mistrust, so they exclude that. With Magnum, you don’t need to second-guess everything. They will give you the best advice and tell you exactly what needs to be done to keep the car running like a dream. The highest standards of care for your car, always: trust Magnum Autoclub for the experience unlike ever before.

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