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Synthetic oil vs. conventional oil

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Most readers know that synthetic motor oils typically perform better than conventional motor oils in providing protection for your vehicle, but they might not know why. What’s the real difference between synthetic and conventional oil? Pretty much everything.

Conventional and synthetic oils begin in the ground. But that’s where the similarities end. 

Synthetic oil is not only refined but also distilled, purified and broken down into its basic molecules. This process not only removes more impurities from the crude oil but also enables individual molecules in the oil to be tailored to the demands of modern engines. These customized molecules provide higher levels of protection and performance than conventional oils. But the synthetic base oil is only half the story. The correct blend additives must go into the mix to create the oil.

Our Mobil 1™ brand of advanced full synthetic motor oils has a unique, balanced formulation to keep your engine running like new. So what are the benefits of Mobil 1 synthetic oil? Synthetics typically outperform conventional motor oils in providing more protection for your vehicle. Here’s how all that chemistry translates to the real world.

Synthetic motor oil keeping your engine clean

Keep your engine cleaner
As oil circulates through your engine it can pick up deposits. Over time, conventional oils can sometimes form sludge, which can reduce your engine's efficiency and, ultimately, reduce the life of your engine. Mobil 1 motor oils contain fewer impurities compared to conventional motor oils and can better resist the formation of sludge thereby preventing deposits from forming in your engine.

Synthetic motor parts for engine wear protection with components

Offer greater engine wear protection
Engine parts are in constant contact with each other. They’re also moving at high speeds. In the extreme environment of your engine, components can wear and break down. Your motor oil is the protective barrier between these components. As conventional oils break down, their ability to prevent engine wear diminishes. Mobil 1 motor oils, on the other hand, retain their wear protection properties for a much longer time, increasing engine life.

Mobil 1™ oil in car driving in cold weather with snow on ground and trees

Flow better in low temperatures
When your car sits for awhile (let’s say overnight) the oil settles. But, when you fire up the ignition, it begins flowing through critical engine parts to protect against friction. With conventional oils, it takes more time until they are able to flow smoothly through the engine. During the cold winter months, or if you live in an extremely cold environment, this flow process takes even longer. Mobil 1 motor oils, however, are engineered to flow quickly even at low temperatures, and they start protecting your engine right after you start your car.

Synthetic oil in car protects in desert high temperatures

Protect better at high temperatures
When running, engines are hot. Really, really hot. Over time, the high temperatures in your engine can cause conventional motor oils to break down or evaporate exposing your engine to wear. Mobil 1 motor oils are engineered to resist these high temperatures, which is especially important if you’re driving in hot climates.

Synthetic oil protects turbocharger engine parts

Protect critical turbocharger parts 
To meet consumer demand, automakers are building cars with smaller engines (for greater fuel efficiency) but adding turbochargers (to boost power). We already mentioned how engines run at high temperatures, which can break down conventional oils faster, but today’s turbocharged engines are even more aggressive. The shaft inside a turbocharger can spin upwards of 200,000 revolutions per minute, so it’s critical that your motor oil can get to that shaft and lubricate it properly very quickly. Conventional oils can break down faster under these conditions and leave deposits on turbocharger components, which can lead to failure. Mobil 1 motor oils can protect these components much better than conventional oils, keeping them operating at peak performance and boosting your engine’s power.

While synthetics as a motor oil category provide better protection than conventional oils, not all synthetics are created equal. Learn about the science of Mobil 1 motor oils and see their amazing performance in the lab, on the road and on the track.

Synthetic vs conventional comparisonMotor Oils

Compare our Mobil™ motor oil lineup to find the best formulation for your engine.

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