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Synthetic Oil vs Normal Oil for Cars

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 07/12/2023

You love your car, don't you? You want to keep it running smoothly and efficiently for as long as possible.

But do you know what the most crucial factor is that affects your car's performance and longevity? It is not the engine, the transmission, or the tires. It is the oil.

Oil lubricates, cools, and cleans your car's engine. It secures your vehicle from wear and tear, friction, heat, dirt, and sludge.

Different types of oils are available in the market. They have distinct properties and effects on your car's engine. The two main types of oils are synthetic oil and conventional oil. Which one should you choose for your vehicle? What are the differences between them? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each type of oil?

Let’s answer all these by discussing synthetic engine oil vs normal engine oil.

Which Engine Oil is Best for the Car: Synthetic or Normal?

In order to understand the vital difference between mineral oil and synthetic oil, let’s know the meanings, benefits, and drawbacks of both these oils.

What is Synthetic Oil?

Synthetic oil is made from hydrocarbons, polyalphaolefins, esters, alkylated naphthalenes, or polyalkylene glycols. These compounds are derived from natural gas, coal, or biomass and are chemically modified to have the desired molecular structure and properties.

Benefits of Synthetic Oil

Synthetic oil has many benefits for your car, such as:

Higher Resistance to Oxidation

Synthetic oil does not degrade or deteriorate as quickly as conventional oil when exposed to high temperatures, oxygen, water, dirt, or other contaminants. It maintains its viscosity and flow better than traditional oil and does not form sludge or deposits that can clog or damage your engine.

Better Viscosity

This oil has a lower pour point and a higher flash point. That means it can flow more smoothly and consistently at low and high temperatures. Synthetic oil does not thicken or thin out as much as conventional oil when the temperature changes and can provide better lubrication and protection for your engine in cold or hot weather.

Reduced Friction

This oil has a lower coefficient of friction. That means it reduces the friction and wear between the moving parts of your engine. Synthetic oil also has a higher thermal conductivity than conventional oil, can transfer heat more efficiently, and keeps your engine cooler. It can help your engine run smoother and quieter and extend its life span.

Increased Horsepower

This oil can enhance the performance and efficiency of your engine by reducing the drag and resistance caused by conventional oil. It can help your engine produce more power and torque and consume less fuel. It can also reduce the emissions and pollution from your car and help you save money and the environment.

Longer Oil Life

This oil can last longer and does not need to be changed as frequently. It can further protect your engine better and longer and reduce your car's maintenance and repair costs.

Drawbacks of Synthetic Oil

Higher Cost

This oil is more costly than conventional oil and may not be worth the extra cost for some drivers or cars. It may not provide significant benefits or savings for cars with low-performance or low-mileage engines or driven in mild or normal conditions. It may also require special filters or additives that can add to the cost and complexity of using synthetic oil.

Potential Compatibility Issues

This oil may not be compatible with a few older or neglected engines that have been using conventional oil for a long time. It may cause leaks or burn-offs due to the slickness and thinness or may dissolve or loosen the deposits or seals formed by conventional oil. It may also cause problems for engines that have not been properly maintained or cleaned or worn or damaged parts.

Reduced Break-in Effect

Synthetic oil may reduce the break-in effect for new engine parts, such as pistons, rings, or bearings. The break-in effect is smoothing and polishing the surfaces of the new parts using conventional oil, which helps to improve the fit and seal of the parts and reduce the friction and wear of the parts. Synthetic oil may prevent or delay the break-in effect by providing too much lubrication and protection for the new parts. It may affect the performance and longevity of the components.

What is Conventional Oil?

Conventional oil, also called mineral oil or regular oil, is a type of engine oil derived from refined crude oil with additives to improve its performance and protection. Conventional oil has been used for decades and is still widely used by many car owners.

Benefits of Conventional Oil

Cost-effectiveness

When comparing synthetic engine oil vs normal engine oil prices, conventional oil is cheaper and readily available. You can find conventional oil in any gas station or auto shop without spending much money to buy it. For example, a 5-litre bottle of traditional oil costs around Rs. 500, while a 5-litre bottle of synthetic oil costs around Rs. 1500.

Suitability for Older Engines

Conventional oil has a higher viscosity, resulting in better lubrication and reduced chance of grinding gears and engine wear for older cars with more mileage. Conventional oil might be a better option if you have a car over ten years old that have covered more than 1 lakh kilometres.

Compatibility with most Car Models

Conventional oil meets most car manufacturers' quality and performance standards and can be used in various vehicles without causing any issues. It is compatible with most engine types, such as gasoline, diesel, or hybrid, and most engine sizes, such as small, medium, or large. It also works well with most oil filters and does not require any special equipment or modifications.

Drawbacks of Conventional Oil

Shorter oil change intervals

Conventional oil breaks down faster than synthetic oil due to its inconsistent molecular structure and exposure to high temperatures, so you must change it more frequently to prevent engine damage. You need to change this oil every 5,000 to 10,000 kilometres, while synthetic oil can last up to 15,000 to 20,000 kilometres.

Lower fuel efficiency

Conventional oil creates more friction and resistance inside the engine, which reduces fuel economy and increases car emissions.

Poor performance in extreme conditions

Conventional oil does not perform well under low or high temperatures, as it tends to thicken or thin out, which affects the engine’s lubrication and protection. This oil can freeze in cold weather or burn in hot weather.

Conclusion

The difference between synthetic and normal engine oil is simple. The former is made from artificial chemical compounds designed to provide superior protection and stability under extreme temperatures and driving conditions.

Regular oil is derived from crude oil and has a simpler and cheaper manufacturing process, but it also has more impurities and less resistance to breakdown and oxidation.

Synthetic oil is generally better for newer, high-performance cars, while conventional oil is preferred for older, less demanding vehicles. Synthetic oil costs more than conventional oil but lasts longer and requires less frequent oil changes.

Therefore, the choice between synthetic oil and normal oil depends on the type of car, driving habits, budget, and personal preference.

Once you have decided whether synthetic oil or normal oil is ideal for your vehicle, you must also spare some time to compare car insurance for better engine protection.

Your four-wheeler insurance can shield you financially against fire, riots, cyclones, earthquakes, or other incidents that damage your vehicle. Car insurance providers also have partnerships with several garages in most cities where you can get cashless repair facilities.

FAQS

What are the disadvantages of synthetic oil?

While synthetic oil offers benefits like improved engine performance and longevity, it can be more expensive than conventional oil. Additionally, some older engines may not require or fully utilise synthetic oil.

Is fully synthetic oil better for cars?

Yes, fully synthetic oil is generally better for cars. It provides superior engine protection, enhances performance, and lasts longer than conventional oil. It flows better in cold temperatures and maintains stability in high heat.

Is synthetic oil good for every car?

No, it may not be ideal for older cars.

Does synthetic oil reduce mileage?

No, synthetic oil typically does not reduce mileage. In fact, it can improve fuel efficiency by reducing friction and providing better engine lubrication.

Is regular car oil better than synthetic?

It depends on your car and driving habits. Synthetic oil offers better engine protection and performance but is more expensive. Regular oil is suitable for some vehicles, especially older ones.

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