There is some debate today over the mileage at which engine oil should be changed. Traditional advice says 3,000 miles while modern car experts and manufacturers recommend 7,000 miles to 10,000 miles. But mileage is not the only thing you need to decide in regards to your engine oil, you also have to choose between two types of oil; conventional or regular and synthetic.

It is important to know the difference between these two varieties of oil so you know if you should choose conventional oil or synthetic oil for your vehicle.

The Difference between Conventional Oil and Synthetic Oil

Conventional oil, also called regular oil, is a direct derivation of crude oil. It is designed to provide lubrication to the numerous moving parts in an engine. It can maintain proper lubrication even in high temperatures, ensuring maximum engine performance and longevity.

Synthetic oil also starts as crude oil but that is where similarity with conventional oil ends. To produce synthetic oil, conventional oil undergoes further refinement. The oil is broken down into individual molecules that are then manipulated to fit specific needs such as increased protection or better stability in high temperatures. The purification process also removes most of the impurities found in conventional oil.

Which One Should you Use?

Now comes the tough part; choosing between the two. The choice is not so black and white. To help you make the best decision, we are going to compare the two types of oil in 4 different aspects.


When it comes to performance, synthetic oils are the clear winner. Because of the vigorous purification and refinement process they undergo, they offer better lubrication, increased protection and improved stability. They can maintain their viscosity even at high temperatures and do not need to be changed as often as conventional oils.

In fact, some synthetic oils are made specifically for use in high-performance cars where conventional oils simply would not do.


Synthetic oils also win in this category. Since they have better stability, they can last longer without losing their integrity. You can drive for more miles before having to get an oil change.


When it comes to environment, synthetic oils take an edge but only a slight one. Many people see conventional oils as dirty’ since they contain petroleum. Synthetic oils, while they may lack any petroleum impurities, also contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment. You cannot exactly call it a clean’ alternative.

Where synthetic oils take an edge is in durability. Since they last longer, they are not dumped as often as conventional oils, and this means less environmental pollution.


This is the make or break factor for many car owners. In this case the two oils sort of balance out. When you get an oil change, you will find that synthetic oil could cost as much as double the conventional oil. But when you consider that some synthetic oils last longer (hence fewer oil changes), the costs cancel out.

While conventional oil has a lifespan of 5,000-10,000 miles depending on diving conditions, some synthetic oils can go as far as 15,000 or even 20,000 miles.

The Verdict

Synthetic oils clearly have an edge in almost all areas. But if the cost of synthetic is too much for you, consider going for synthetic blends. These are mixed synthetic and conventional oils that give you some of the benefits of synthetic oil at the affordable cost of conventional oil.

Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto provides automotive safety and auto repair information for the sole purpose of educating the community at large. “We believe an educated customer is a loyal customer.” 8 Locations throughout the Northern Virginia area including locations in Fairfax, Leesburg, Falls Church, Sterling, Herndon, Winchester, Purcellville, and South Riding. Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto:  Copyright Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto November 22nd, 2016