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The Difference Between Synthetic and Conventional Oil

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What’s the difference between synthetic and conventional oil? Is one better than the other? It’s not unusual for car owners to have these and other questions about their engine oil. Here’s what you should know.

Synthetic versus conventional oil

Conventional motor oils come from crude oil that’s extracted and refined, while synthetic oils are manufactured in a lab and contain fewer impurities. One of the main differences between the two oils is the size and construction of their molecules. Synthetic oils are created to have a uniform molecular structure that enhances their overall performance. Due to irregular and unpredictable molecule sizes, conventional oils are notably less stable and tend to oxidize more easily. Here are some additional advantages of synthetic oils:

  • A cleaner engine. As oil circulates through the engine, deposits can form. Conventional oils are more likely to form sludge, making them less efficient. Synthetic oils have fewer impurities and will keep your engine cleaner.
  • Superior viscosity. Viscosity is the measure of a fluid’s resistance to flow. Synthetic oils maintain their viscosity despite the temperature. They flow quickly in the winter and are resistant to extreme heat in the summer.
  • Improved protection. Motor oil lubricates and reduces the friction between fast-moving parts. Since synthetic oils are clean and don’t break down as easily, they provide better protection for longer. They can even help increase the lifespan of your engine.
  • Reduced consumption. Synthetic oils have fewer volatile components and experience less evaporation. This results in reduced consumption, which can help support longer intervals between oil changes. This increased efficiency also lowers emissions.

How to choose the best oil for your car>

In most cases, full synthetic oils are best, followed by semi-refined blends. Although these oils are more expensive than conventional, their increased efficiency and protection can help offset this cost. Your vehicle’s engine was built to use a motor oil of a certain viscosity. It’s important to use the right viscosity for your car. Refer to your owner’s manual for oil specifications or talk to a qualified mechanic for advice.

Read more about different types of oil in our recent blog post and decide which is best for your vehicle.

Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres offers quick, affordable and convenient oil change services in Vancouver and across British Columbia and Alberta. Changing your oil regularly helps keep your engine functioning optimally. Plus, our mechanics will perform an inspection of your vehicle to make sure everything is in good working order. Contact us today to book your oil change at one of our 17 locations.


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Here at Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres in British Columbia, we’re always pleased to help our customers get the most out of their cars and trucks. To that end, we’ll add a relevant blog topic from time to time to keep you up to date and getting the most out of your vehicle.