Difference Between Conventional and Synthetic Engine Oil - Service Information at Capitol Chevrolet

When you arrive at the service center for an oil change, you may be presented with a choice: conventional or synthetic? And if you're the type to perform these kinds of auto care tasks on your own, you might want to know what oil is best for your Chevrolet. Below, we look at five things we think you should know about Synthetic and conventional engine oils. It's just one more way that our service experts help you with the information you need to take the best care of your Chevy. That way, it's certain to keep providing reliable service for years to come.

Oil Change Dashboard Warning

5. The Difference Between Synthetic & Conventional Engine Oil

Both oils begin life as crude oil extracted from the earth. Conventional oil is refined to remove impurities, but its organic compounds mean a wider variety of molecular sizes. Synthetic oil takes that crude oil and not only refines it but also goes into a laboratory process that creates a more uniform molecular structure. This makes the synthetic oil more durable, reduces friction and it's also slower to form sludge build-up than conventional oil. What's more, synthetic oil better sticks to engine parts at high operating temperatures and it flows more easily through the system during startup on those especially cold mornings.

Pouring Oil Into Engine

4. Switching Between Conventional & Synthetic Oil

A popular myth suggests that mixing conventional oil with synthetic oil is bad for your engine, meaning your engine would require an expensive cleaning service to switch from ordinary conventional oil to a more durable synthetic. But this is generally untrue -- switching from conventional oil & synthetic oil requires no special procedures. Just an ordinary oil & filter change service! You could even switch back from synthetic to conventional if you choose. However, if your engine was filled with synthetic oil from the factory, conventional oils may not be sufficient to provide adequate protection. So only use conventional motor oil in your car if it's allowed according to the manufacture.

3. A Happy Medium Between Conventional & Full Synthetic Oil

For many cars, yes! If you want superior protection and a longer oil change interval than you get from conventional oil, without the cost of a full synthetic oil, most service garages will also offer a synthetic blend. As we mentioned above, there's no reason a conventional and synthetic oil can't mix in your engine. In fact, that's pretty much exactly what synthetic blend oils are -- a mix of conventional and synthetic oil for a great balance of performance and value.

Chevrolet LS Engine

2. How Does Synthetic Oil Last Longer Than Conventional?

All oils have additives like rust and corrosion inhibitors, viscosity modifiers, detergents and more. Over time, these additives will wear out and stop doing their job in the engine. Furthermore, oil that's subjected to many thousands of miles will eventually start to form sludge and fail to provide the lubrication your engine needs for maximum protection. But since synthetic oil has a more uniform molecular structure, it creates less friction against the engine's moving parts. That makes it more durable so that it wears down more slowly.

1. Is Synthetic Oil Cost Effective?

In most cases, you'll find that switching to synthetic oil is well worth the extra up-front cost. Even if you'll have to pay more for an oil change than a conventional oil change from the local quick-lube service station, you'll be able to go twice as long or more between changes with synthetic oil! And since synthetic oil protects your engine from wear, it can save you money on expensive repairs down the road.