Synthetic Oil vs Conventional Oil – Which is Best?

For those who don’t know much about cars, the question of which motor oil to use can be quite confusing. Walk into any auto parts store, and you’re confronted with rows and rows of various brands and types. The brand is a matter of personal preference. The question really comes down to this: synthetic oil vs conventional oil.

There’s no immediately clear cut answer. It depends on the kind of car you have, where you live, how you drive, etc. In order to know which is best, it helps to first understand the difference.

Synthetic Oil vs Conventional Oil - Which is Best?

Conventional Oil

Conventional oil is derived from petroleum. Despite being naturally occurring, it’s actually the dirtiest oil option available. Additives are mixed in with conventional oils to give them the proper heat tolerance, thickness, and breakdown resistance that most engines require. It’s the least expensive oil option and is good enough for most vehicles to get the job done.

Synthetic Oil

Synthetic Oil is a chemical formula perfected in a lab, as opposed to nature. As oil goes, it’s cleaner than conventional, but not necessarily any better for the environment. That being said, its enhanced durability means it lasts longer – almost twice as long as its conventional counterpart. It stands up much better to heat and so doesn’t burn off at the same rate. Engine efficiency is another benefit – synthetic oil has been shown to produce less resistance and thus more horsepower for your engine. The added horsepower ensures that while your car functions the same, you’ll use less gas.

Synthetic Oil Blend

You can also buy a blend of synthetic and conventional oil. Synthetic oil blends don’t provide the same longevity as full synthetic, and the added conventional oil makes it dirtier in your engine, but they’re also less expensive. It’s a decent middle of the road option.

Synthetic Oil vs Conventional Oil – Which is Best?

If you want some of the added benefits of synthetic oil, but the price is a factor, you can go with a synthetic oil blend. For most people, however, the true question comes down to a matter of synthetic oil vs conventional oil.

Synthetic Oil vs Conventional Oil - Which is Best?


Synthetics are good for cars designed for performance, as well as cars with turbo engines. These cars accumulate more heat in the engine, so they’re better off with full synthetic or at least a synthetic blend. If you live in a climate that experiences the full spectrum of temperatures, from extreme hot to extreme cold, then synthetic’s durability is a better option for your car. Likewise, if you experience a lot of stop-and-go traffic or have a short commute, synthetic oil would be better as short distances don’t heat the oil enough to boil off condensation in the engine.

Synthetic oil costs are almost double what conventional oil costs. Although, for that price you receive a higher quality product that lasts about twice as long.

Not all cars require synthetic oil, however. Conventional oil will do the trick for cars that travel longer distances frequently, operate in moderate climates, and have engines that produce less heat than the performance-oriented models. If you have an older car, then you can look into a conventional oil designed specifically to protect higher mileage engines.

The quality of synthetic oils is superior, but conventional oil will still protect your car and get the job done. Most importantly, it comes down to whatever the manufacturer recommends being best for your car.

If you’re still unsure about synthetic oil vs conventional oil, family-owned Holiday Service Center is here to help. With nearly 40 years in business, our experts can assist with any and all questions regarding which oil is appropriate for your car. Contact us today, or stop by. You can also check out our specials to see any promotions we offer with oil changes.

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