Understanding the Different Types of Engine Oil

Understanding the Different Types of Engine Oil

If you’ve ever gone to your local auto parts store and walked down the motor oil aisle, you’ve probably been shocked or even overwhelmed at the number of different choices you have. There are different brands, different quantities, different weights, and even different types of oil. How in the world could you possibly know which one is right for you?

It’s actually not nearly as difficult as it seems. If you consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual, you’ll find what weight of oil, how often you should change it, and how much oil you should put in every time you do. These are all important figures to know, but your manual may not include what type of oil to get. This is perhaps the most important choice when selecting your new oil, as it could have a pretty significant impact on your engine’s health.

Are all oils the same? Not at all. On this blog, our auto repair experts cover different types of motor oil, including conventional, synthetic, synthetic blend, and high-mileage and help you determine which one is right for your vehicle.

Conventional Oil

Conventional oil is your standard motor oil. It’s manufactured from crude oil that’s pulled from the ground and then refined in a factory. Different additives and processes are done to improve its viscosity (thickness) and engine protective properties, and it’s then bottled and sold for use in your engine. Simple as that.

There are up and downsides to this. The biggest upside: cost. Conventional oil is an extremely budget-friendly option for keeping your engine protected and your car running smoothly. It’s also fairly effective—there aren’t really any bad motor oils on the market these days; as long as you get the right weight and quantity, you can expect reasonable performance. However, their downsides are greater than other types. Because of the naturally-occurring materials, they tend to be less refined. They also offer a lower degree of protection than other types as well.

Full-Synthetic Oil

Synthetic motor oil is manufactured entirely in a factory, or lab. Because of this, they tend to be far more consistent; it’s easier to control manufacturing processes when all of your materials are held to much more stringent standards. Thus, these oils are more refined, and are overall better for your engine

But this comes at a cost—literally. Full-synthetic motor oil is more expensive than conventional oil. Not by a lot, mind you, but generally you can expect to pay anywhere from an extra $20 to $40 for your oil change if you use a full-synthetic oil, depending on how much your car takes. Synthetic oils also tend to last longer, going for longer periods of time and distance than conventional oils do before needing to be changed.

Synthetic Blend Oil

Synthetic blend oils are a kind of hybrid oil manufactured from both synthetic and natural materials. In other words, it’s a blend of both conventional and synthetic oils to try to capture some of the benefits of both while reducing their drawbacks.

The results are pretty much exactly what you’d expect: they provide better protection and performance than a conventional oil, but not quite as good as a full-synthetic oil. They last a little bit longer than conventional oils, but not as long as full-synthetic. When it comes to cost, they’re a little bit more expensive than a conventional oil, but not as much as a full-synthetic. Overall, they’re an okay middle ground for those looking to keep costs down, but want to give their car a little more help.

High-Mileage Oil

High-mileage oil is a somewhat unique branch of oil that’s entirely on its own. These products have a blend of unique additives included which are designed to help protect engine seals, which in turn helps prevent oil evaporation and improves overall performance. For cars that are getting a little long on the odometer, this extra protection is key as oil burn-off becomes a little bit more common of a problem, contributing to more engine wear and a decreased lifespan.

If you drive a car over 75,000 miles, it’s strongly advised that you use a high-mileage oil. 

About Christian Brothers Automotive

For over 30 years, the auto repair experts at Christian Brothers Automotive have offered quality care and maintenance services for your vehicle, including full-service oil changes. Whether your car is brand new or has hundreds of thousands of miles on the odometer, you can trust our ASE-Certified technicians to ensure it’s running at its absolute best and is well cared for.

Call your local Christian Brothers Automotive at today to request an appointment and get your oil changed!

Posted by, Christian Brothers Automotive