It’s a very common question; “What is difference between synthetic and regular motor oil”? In this article will explore the truth behind synthetic vs regular motor oil.
Regular Motor Oil
Regular motor oil (otherwise known as conventional oil) is derived directly from crude oil from the earth. Regular motor oil has molecules which are:
- Inconsistent in size
- Inconsistent in shape
These molecular attributes of regular motor oil are the primary cause of friction in engines.
Synthetic Motor Oil
Compared to regular motor oil, synthetic motor oil differs in that it is designed in a lab from assorted raw materials. While three different base oil types could be considered “synthetic”, all differ from conventional oil in that they are engineered to have:
- Specific properties
- Uniform molecular structure (which does not exist in nature)
The consistent and identical molecular size of synthetic motor oil delivers much less friction over regular motor oil.
One more thing about synthetic vs regular motor oil; regular motor oil also has undesirable components like wax, which can congeal in cold weather. As synthetic base oils are custom-designed in a lab, they have only what are desired so there are no waxes or other unwanted elements.
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Synthetic vs Regular Motor Oil
Is There Really a Synthetic Advantage?
Whereas synthetic motor oil is engineered to have precise traits and is not hindered by extra impurities, regular motor oil is not equipped to compete with synthetics. Synthetic motor oil’s uniform molecular structure lowers friction and offers an increase in fuel efficiency to optimize power output and combat high heat.
A Problem for Regular Motor Oil
As conventional or regular motor oil contains waxes that congeal in cold temperatures, it’s easy to see why it will not contend with wax-free synthetic oil during cold-start situations. What many do not realize is that synthetic motor oil also offers even more protection over regular motor oil in high heat situations.
Regular motor oil is susceptible to thinning out in high temperatures, which can compromise protection. To combat this issue, regular motor oil manufacturers add “viscosity index improvers”. This additive helps to resist thinning as oil temperature rises, but does not aid in the lubrication in any way. Viscosity index improvers can account for up to 20% of the volume of conventional motor oils.
Synthetic motor oil is designed to have a consistent viscosity across the temperature spectrum. Good quality synthetic motor oils do not contain, nor do they need, viscosity index improvers.
Synthetic vs Regular Motor Oil Changes
As synthetic motor oil is more resistant to breakdown and viscosity loss, it should be more capable of remaining in service longer than regular motor oil. But this is not always the case. Good quality motor oil will have a healthy dose and balance of additives like (to name a few):
- Detergent/dispersant agents
- Friction modifiers
- Anti-foam additives
- Anti-wear additives
- And rust/corrosion inhibiters
Many synthetic oil makers will include the same additive package content as their cheaper conventional motor oil offerings. This can hinder extending the motor oil service interval. That is why many synthetic motor oil manufacturers do not recommend service intervals beyond the time/mileage suggested by the automakers. Some synthetic manufacturers like AMSOIL use top quality base oils and robust additive packages to maximize the service life of their synthetic motor oils.
Synthetic vs Regular Motor Oil Fuel Economy
Is synthetic oil more “slippery” and will it improve gas mileage? This is another common question and the answer is yes. Synthetic motor oil is more slippery than regular motor oil and will lower friction in the engine.
This is due to the uniformity in size and shape of the molecules in synthetic motor oil, which creates less friction. This uniformity allows the molecules to move across each other quite easily. As regular motor oil originates in nature and is not designed in a lab, the molecular makeup is inconsistent and is present in a variety of shapes and dimensions. Synthetic motor oil’s lower resistance equals:
- Less heat build-up
- Optimized horsepower output
- Increased fuel economy
Synthetic Motor Oil Blends vs Regular Motor Oil
Synthetic blend motor oils are a combination of synthetic and regular motor oils, but the proportion is not equal. Synthetic blend engine oils only contain between 20% and 30% synthetic oil by volume. This synthetic oil content will offer benefits over comparable regular motor oil that possesses a similar additive package. As synthetic motor oil blends are mostly regular motor oil, they do not offer the complete benefits of 100% synthetic motor oils found in our Amsoil Synthetic Oil Products.
Synthetic vs Regular Motor Oil Prices
Is a synthetic oil change worth the cost?
Depending on brands and retailers, synthetic motor oil is priced between 60 and 150 percent over regular motor oil. As some brands (like AMSOIL) offer synthetic motor oils that are capable of service intervals that are many times longer than regular motor oil, the economics of going synthetic are much more justifiable. If the motor oil manufacturer only recommends an OEM drain interval, one must weigh the other benefits of synthetic motor oil including but not limited to:
- Better start-up protection
- Improved fuel economy
- And increased overall protection
Contact our AMSOIL Synthetic Oil Dealers
|Call Toll Free||1-800-748-5781|
|Email:||AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oil Sales|