Synthetic Oil vs. Conventional Oil – what is the difference?! We get this question a lot. Most modern vehicles require synthetic engine oil, but where does it come from? Most importantly, why is synthetic oil the right choice for your vehicle's oil changes if it is required?
Synthetic Engine Oil uses a synthetic base stock. Many times the beginnings of the base stock comes from crude oil but that is just the beginning. The base stock goes through a much more involved process where the molecules are broken down and then re-built into uniform shapes. Additives, friction modifiers and cleaners are added to the synthetic base stock and it is ready for use. Synthetic oil does a superior job of reducing friction, limiting wear and being able to lubricate in tighter tolerances (less space).
Conventional Engine Oil uses refined crude oil as its base stock. Crude oil is cleaned, filtered and held under pressure and heat and one of the many products made from crude is base stock engine oil. Additives, friction modifiers and cleaners are added to the engine oil and it is ready for use. While conventional engine oil is acceptable for use in many engines on a molecular level the shapes of the base stock are irregular and not uniform. Meaning while the oil is able to reduce friction, it could be better.
Let's Compare 3 Scenarios to Illustrate the Differences
1. First, imagine you are trying to push a board across a cement floor. If you attempt to push the board on a bare cement floor it will require a lot of effort, also the board will get scraped and damaged as it is being pushed… that's no oil.
2. Second, imagine you take that same board but before you place it on the cement floor you dump out a container of kids building blocks on the floor. While some of the blocks are sphere shaped, other blocks are squares, rods, rectangles and cones. Pushing the board across the cement floor takes significantly less effort with the barrier of blocks between the floor and the board, as well as the board while it may get some scratches from the irregular blocks for the most part it is unscathed….that's the conventional oil.
3. Now Imagine you take the same board but before you place it on the cement floor you dump out a container of balls, not all of them are the exact same size but they are all uniform spheres. Pushing the board across the cement floor is now effortless because of the barrier of spheres between the floor and the board, also the board is protected from scratches and wear because of the regularity of the molecules…that’s the synthetic oil.
Credit for this great description: Our friend and oil salesperson, Chad.
Not only do most of the vehicles we service require synthetic oil, Tim’s whole heartedly believes in the benefits of synthetic oil for all vehicles and we see proof of the benefits on a daily basis. In our opinion synthetic oil is worth the expense because you can use it for longer than conventional oil and it provides superior protection.
Read Our Blog: When Should I Change My Oil
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