What is the Difference Between Synthetic and Conventional Oil?

Despite having been around for a long time, it’s only recently that we’ve seen synthetic oils used in vehicles as opposed to conventional oil. The main difference between conventional oil and synthetic oil is that the latter is not found in nature, but it is actually a wholly man-made product. When looking after your vehicle, it’s important to ensure the oil does not become too low, failing this; you may encounter many costly problems. In this post, we’ll look specifically at two types of oil – synthetic and conventional – and discuss the difference between them.

Synthetic Oil & Its Uses

Synthetic oil is used primarily as lubricant, its molecular composition offers protection against temperature conditions, for example, jet engines require the use of synthetic oil as it performs better under extremely high temperatures. Compared to conventional oil, Synthetic oil provides better performance and protection against sludge build up.

Synthetic Oil & Its Uses

Conventional oil has been used for many decades. It is commonly associated with motor oil and is produced from the distillation and refinement of crude oil. Crude oil was created over millions of years through the heating and compression of organic matter left behind by prehistoric organic matter. Like synthetic oil, conventional oil has various uses, one being a lubricant. Conventional oil is also used in the creation of plastics, cosmetics and also for fuels; gasoline diesel and jet fuel. It has properties which make it perform under high temperatures, whilst maintaining its functionality over long periods of time.

Synthetic Oil & Its Uses

When considering the right oil, there are differences between synthetic and conventional oil which may help with your decision:

  • Your vehicle, its age, engine, and requirement – generally all cars use either conventional or synthetic oils, however you should always refer to your owner’s manual or use an oil checker such as this one. Switching between Synthetic oil and conventional oil could cause damage to your vehicle.
  • Your budget – Conventional oil is considerably cheaper than synthetic oil, although there are various grades available, including blends between synthetic and conventional.
  • Your ecological beliefs – Synthetic oil emits fewer emissions into the atmosphere and so is considered more eco-riendly.
  • Keeping your engine clean – As conventional oil breaks down, it often leaves debris known as ‘sludge’ or ‘scale’ on engine components. Synthetic oils are less prone to this.
  • If you drive in extreme temperature conditions, synthetic oil will give better performance – Synthetic oil flows better in low and high temperatures when compared to conventional oil.
  • Synthetic oil can typically be used for longer – Meaning that you won’t need to change the oil in your car as often.


Both conventional and synthetic oils have their uses. Generally, synthetic oil is superior to conventional oil when used in engines for a number of reasons. Although synthetic oil may be more expensive, the quality of oil should always outweigh the price of oil in terms of importance. You can read more about the importance of quality over price here. If you’re unsure of the correct oil type for your vehicle, this useful tool will assist you. If you require further advice with regards to oil lubricants, contact Exol Lubricants today, either by calling +44(0)121 568 6800 or emailing hello@exol-lubricants.com.