Motor Oil: Synthetic Oil vs. Regular Oil

Jiffy Lube® is one of the largest providers of preventive maintenance and light duty repair in North America.

Motor Oil: Synthetic Oil vs. Regular Oil

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Jiffy Lube® technicians hear the question all the time. Should I be using conventional oil, a full synthetic or a synthetic blend? For many drivers, it really isn’t a question at all. More and more vehicle manufacturers today require the use of synthetic motor oil in their vehicles. Use a conventional oil and you not only risk engine damage, you could void your new vehicle warranty. So don’t resort to guesswork. Your Jiffy Lube technician can tell you exactly what kind of oil your vehicle’s manufacturer requires.

For those of us who drive vehicles that don’t require the use of full synthetic motor oil, the answer depends more on what we intend to do with our vehicle and how long we plan to keep it. Simply put, synthetics perform and protect better than conventional oils can. So if you want the highest levels of protection and performance for your engine, particularly in temperature extremes, you want synthetic oil.

Synthetic motor oil is a laboratory synthesis of precisely controlled ingredients created by oil engineers, scientists and chemists. When combined with a high-performance additive package, this results in an oil with the highest levels of lubrication and engine protection, generally offering better protection at start-up, better cleansing qualities, enhanced durability and better protection against heat buildup.

Conventional motor oil is what its name implies — it uses base oils enhanced in the blending process with chemical additives to help meet the manufacturer's desired levels of heat tolerance, breakdown resistance and viscosity (viscosity simply being a technical term for the thickness and fluidity of the oil). Conventional motor oil comes in a range of viscosity grades and quality levels, from adequate to an extensively designed, high-quality lubricant. Conventional motor oil is recommended for drivers with low-mileage, late-model vehicles whose driving habits can be described as routine — commuting, running errands, vacation driving at relaxed cruising speeds. Again, today more and more engines require synthetic oil, so be sure to check your owner’s manual to make sure you don’t invite avoidable engine problems or void your warranty.

Synthetic blend motor oils are a third choice in between full synthetic motor oil and conventional oil. As the name suggests, it is a blend of full synthetic oil and conventional oil. Synthetic blend motor oils use a mixture of synthetic and conventional base oils for added resistance to oxidation (compared to conventional oil) and to provide excellent low-temperature properties, and are recommended for vehicles, trucks, vans and SUVs that regularly carry heavy loads, tow trailers and/or operate frequently at high RPMs. It’s a good middle ground for people who want the added performance and protection of a synthetic oil but aren’t ready to make the jump to a full synthetic.