Synthetic vs. Conventional Oils and Oil Additives: Which is Better for Your Vehicle?

A well-designed engine oil is essential for the proper lubrication of your vehicle’s engine. Without proper lubrication, your engine stands at risk for damage.

Oil additives help boost the effectiveness of your oil. They work with your oil to enhance your engine’s performance and prolong its lifespan. Some oil additives can help with engine noise or seized engines.

But with so many different types of oils and oil additives available on the market, how do you know which one is best for your vehicle?

In this article, we will explain the differences between synthetic and conventional oils and oil additives. We will help you make an informed decision when choosing which is better for your vehicle’s needs.

Synthetic vs. Conventional Oils and Oil Additives: The Basics

Conventional: Conventional motor oils are petroleum-based oils taken from the ground and then refined. During the refining process, natural contaminants and unwanted hydrocarbons are removed.

Conventional oils don’t protect as well against wear & tear as synthetic oils do. Although refined, the oils still contain contaminants such as sulfur, wax, and asphalt material. This can also promote deterioration and sludge buildup.

Conventional oils will ‘get the job done’ but they will need to be changed more frequently than synthetic oils. This however shouldn’t break your bank since they are typically cheaper than synthetic oils.

Synthetic: Synthetic oils are modified petroleum-based products. They are designed to provide superior performance over conventional oils. They are formulated with polyalphaolefin (PAO) as their base stock. Various detergents, dispersants, rust inhibitors, and antioxidants are added to enhance their performance.

Synthetic oil has molecules that are equal in size. More uniform oil molecules equal better lubrication, and that equals better engine performance. And because they are chemically produced, there are no contaminants in the oil. This means your engine oil will be “good” for longer than conventional oils.

Oil Additives: Oil additives are specially formulated chemical compounds that can be added to your engine’s standard oil. They are available in either synthetic or conventional formulas. You can choose to add oil additives to your engine’s standard oil to boost your oil’s performance.

These compounds can be divided into three main categories:

  • Detergents – Prevent deposits from forming in engines by keeping dirt suspended in the oil.
  • Dispersants – Break down contamination deposits and keep them suspended in the oil.
  • Friction Modifiers – Reduce wear on engine components by reducing friction between moving parts.

Conventional Oils: What You Need To Know

Conventional oils are petroleum-based products. They provide adequate lubrication however they don’t work as hard as their synthetic counterparts to prevent wear & tear. They cost less than synthetic oils but they are often in need of additional additives to match the performance of synthetic oils. Conventional oils are typically used in older model vehicles.

But what makes conventional oils different from synthetics? And most importantly, what types of additives can be found in conventional oil that make them suitable for your engine? In this section, we’ll cover these questions and explain the advantages of using conventional oils in your vehicle.

As stated above, conventional motor oils are refined petroleum-based oils. They provide some level of protection against wear & tear but are not as effective as synthetic oils.

Conventional oils also contain additives that provide some protection against wear and tear. While not as effective as their synthetic counterparts, they help reduce friction, disperse heat, prevent corrosion, and help to keep your engine clean. Additionally, conventional motor oils may also contain antioxidants and other chemicals. These are designed to protect your engine from corrosion and oxidation.

When it comes to cost comparison between conventional and synthetic oils, conventional oils will always be cheaper. There are many reasons why conventional oils will always be cheaper. One reason is the processing required to produce the oils. The amount of processing required to produce synthetic oils is far greater than what is required for conventional oils. And since synthetic oils offer superior performance and longer service life, they will inevitably be more costly.

Which Oil is Better for Your Vehicle?

Synthetic or conventional, which oil should you choose? Consider the advantages and limitations of each. Both types of oils provide adequate lubrication and protection against wear & tear.

Synthetic oils are generally seen as the better option due to their enhanced performance levels. However, there may be certain circumstances where using a conventional oil might be more suitable than using a synthetic one. If budgeting is an issue, you may want to consider using conventional oils and oil additives.

In this section, we’ll discuss the benefits and limitations of both synthetic and conventional oils and oil additives. We will also present you with some factors you should consider before making your choice.

Synthetic oils and oil additives have been designed and manufactured to offer you the best performance for your engine. Their superior base stock paired with a variety of additives produces an oil without comparison.

Synthetic oils tend to last longer than conventional ones. Fewer annual oil changes and better protection against wear and tear can help balance the higher cost of these oils.

Conventional motor oils are petroleum-based oils taken from the ground and then refined. They too provide lubrication and other benefits for your engine. They may not be as efficient as synthetics at protecting your engine against corrosion, wear and tear, and build up but they do provide some protection.

Conventional motor oils tend to be cheaper than synthetic oils however they require more maintenance. You will need to change your oil more often and you may want to consider adding aftermarket oil additives to boost its performance.

When deciding which type of oil additive is right for your vehicle consider your budget constraints. Would you prefer to save money now or down the road? And does your vehicle need the added performance of synthetic oils or will conventional oils suffice? And be sure to only use oils and oil additives that have been approved by your vehicle’s manufacturer.


In conclusion, there are both advantages and limitations of synthetic and conventional oils. Take these into consideration when choosing the product you think is best for your engine.

Synthetic options provide enhanced performance levels but are generally more expensive. Conventional options are cheaper but require more maintenance.

Ultimately, it all comes down to your engine’s needs and the price you’re willing to pay. The factors discussed here should help you make an informed decision that best suits your own individual requirements.


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