Motor oil is responsible for lubricating the moving parts of your vehicles engine, and is one of the most important vehicle fluids that are used. Motor oil is vital to keeping your car in good running order by preventing excessive engine wear. But which type of motor oil should you use?

Types of Motor Oil

There are three main kinds of motor oil – conventional, synthetic and synthetic blend.

Conventional – This kind of oil is considered “organic.” Basically, it is refined crude oil that has been drilled out of the ground.

Synthetic – This kind of oil is man-made by oil engineers, scientists and chemists. It is manufactured molecule by molecule. This means that there are less imperfections in their chemical build up than their counterpart conventional oil.

Synthetic Blend – This kind of oil, also known as “semi-synthetic,” is conventional oil that has synthetic additives.

Which oil is best?

Many engines actually require synthetic oil for optimal performance. Though synthetic oils may not be approved for some diesel engines. Before you add any fluid to your car, you should always refer to your owner’s manual for your manufacturers recommendations. Failing to do so could cause avoidable engine problems and possibly void your warranty.

Synthetic oil outdoes conventional oil on pretty much all counts. It can handle extreme temperatures that range from below freezing to well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas conventional oil is much more reactive to various temperatures. Synthetics are manufactured to be more slippery, or provide more lubrication than conventional motor oils. As a result, synthetic oil gives you better performance, better fuel economy, and even helps provide your vehicle with a longer engine life (when properly maintained, of course). An additional plus to synthetic oils is that they don’t need to be changed as frequently. However, you should always make sure you meet warranty service mileage intervals and follow the manufacturer guidelines in your owner’s manual.

Synthetic oil does cost more than conventional. But, when you think about it, how much do you really save when you go with conventional? With synthetic oils offering you a better performance, better fuel economy and better engine protection, the amount you save on future wear far outweighs the additional cost of the oil.

If you are concerned about the additional cost of synthetic oil or are just deeply committed to conventional oil, choosing a synthetic blend at your next change might be a good compromise. (Again, refer to your owner’s manual to make sure this is acceptable with your vehicle.) Synthetic blends are less expensive than pure synthetic oil, but there is still an improvement in your vehicle’s performance.

As long as they meet the current American Petroleum Institute (API) certifications, and don’t go against your vehicles manufacturer’s recommendations, any of the three oils will work fine in your car. There is one type of engine, however, that should never use synthetic oil, and that is a rotary engine. These engines have special seals that are made to be used with conventional oils only.


When it comes to parts or fluids, following your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations is always the best thing you can do. So always, ALWAYS check your owner’s manual. If you use the wrong type of oil, it can result in engine failure so take their recommendation seriously. If you are able to choose between conventional, synthetic or synthetic blend oil and are still uncertain which to choose, it never hurts to consult a pro. We can help guide you in the right direction.

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