Synthetic vs. Mineral Oil

Synthetic Oil vs. Mineral Oil - Which Should I Choose? 

There isn’t a universal standard for choosing between synthetic and mineral oil but there are many things to take into consideration during the decision-making process.

What’s the difference between synthetic and mineral oil?

The use of mineral oil dates back to the 1850’s, when it was originally used to repel insects and for certain medicinal purposes. Oil began being used commercially after it was discovered that it could be distilled and used in place of whale blubber. This discovery revolutionized the lubricant industry in that oil was more easily accessible than hunting whales.

Conventional oil blends work well with combustion engines, airplane engines and older vehicles that are not able to handle synthetic oil.

Synthetic oil goes through a scientific process to achieve a higher grade of lubrication as it only allows for the creation and utilization of the most desirable molecular chains. Performance properties vary by chain so it is important to choose a chain that aligns with what it’s being used for.

Synthetic blends are ideal for high-performance engines and driving, extremely cold environments, towing, and other heavy loads as well as vehicles that have a longer engine life.

Do note that there can be a variance in conventional and synthetic engine quality. They must meet the API ILSAC GF-6 specification but can vary in quality performance. We recommend staying with higher quality brands such as Pennzoil and Truegard that have proven performance.

The Pros & Cons 

Both synthetic and conventional blends have pros and cons when it comes to cost, time between service, and environmental conditions.

Mineral oil tends to be less expensive but the service doesn’t last as long so it may not be cost effective for all uses. In addition, the natural impurities of mineral oil can lead to build-up of waxes and other undesirable substances. Oxidation can occur at higher temperatures which can cause failure due to the development of sludge and acid. 

On the other hand, synthetic oil is somewhat more expensive but it tends to have a longer service life and a wider temperature band, aiding in low-temperature startups and higher temperature stability. In addition, there is some debate on whether or not there is any improvement in fuel economy with synthetics. The main thing to be mindful of with synthetic blends is that they can deteriorate quickly if they aren’t taken care of properly.

Which Should I Use?

There is no clear answer to this question as it truly depends on:

  • How is it being used? 
  • What is it being used for? 
  • In what environment it is being used?

Taking these points into consideration in conjunction with the differences in each as well as their limitations will help you determine what works best for your situation. 

Similar posts

Get the latest oil & lubricant
industry insights

Subscribe to the Keller-Heartt blog so you can sharpen your industry knowledge, gather helpful tips, and stay informed about changes or updates in the oil provider landscape.

Subscribe to Our Blog!