Before we address the choice between synthetic and conventional engine oil, let's get a grasp of what exactly they both are. Synthetic oil is a lubricant created from chemical compounds, altered by scientists to provide maximum lubrication for the longest time period possible. Conventional oil is your typical old mineral oil refined from the crude oil found in nature.


The choice between regular and synthetic oil can be a confusing one. For most drivers, this is because oils of the same viscosity are offered in both conventional and synthetic varieties. Viscosity is that sequence you find in your owner's manual that tells you which kind of oil you need to use. A common example of this is 5W-30.

While synthetic oils aren't necessarily the right choice for every vehicle, they do carry a few definite advantages over conventional options. To begin with, they produce less resistance among moving engine parts which can mean more horsepower and even greater fuel efficiency. They also resist extreme temperatures better and may provide better performance in summer and winter months.

Synthetic oil can produce different symptoms in vehicles that conventional oil would not - even with the same viscosity. If you switch to synthetic from conventional oil, your engine might start to sound different due to different oil pressure. You may also experience oil leaks due to different flow characteristics. Synthetic oil usually escapes through smaller spaces than conventional oil. This is why many older engines fare better with conventional oil.

The reduced frequency in needed oil changes is one of the primary benefits of using synthetic oil. Generally, synthetic oil needs to be changed at around 2,000 or 3,000 miles fewer than conventional oil. This fact has garnered synthetic oil support from environmental groups concerned with the pollution associated with frequent oil changes.

Because of this factor, the choice between the oil varieties is often regarded as a trade-off between how one will be spending their money. Synthetic oil is usually twice as expensive as conventional oil but will require fewer oil changes. Because oil changes are costly, this means synthetic oil can usually save drivers money. However, the decision of whether or not to use synthetic oil should be based primarily on your engine and your manufacturer's recommendations, not the frequency of needed oil changes.

Ultimately, the best choice for your type of oil will depend on your vehicle. Read your owner's manual and seek information online as to what your manufacturer recommends. Some vehicles call for full synthetic oil, some for half synthetic, and many older models demand plain conventional varieties. As is in many cases, the best way to fully care for your car is to understand your car.  If you further questions about your car schedule a service appointment or come visit Norm Reeves Lincoln's service center.