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Difference Between Synthetic Oil and Mineral Oil

Synthetic Oil vs Mineral Oil

When changing the oil in your vehicle, you have two major categories to choose from; synthetic oils and mineral oils. The main difference between synthetic oil and mineral oil is how they are made. Mineral oil is basically a derivative of petroleum products which is then refined to its usable form. On the other hand, synthetic oil is actually created from scratch using certain chemicals. Because of how they are made, there is also a major difference when it comes to the price. Synthetic oils cost roughly twice as much as mineral oils depending on the brand.

When it comes to performance, synthetic oil beats mineral oil hands down. Its lubricating properties are far superior, allowing less energy to go to friction and more to the wheels. Synthetic oil can also resist greater amounts of heat before breaking down. This is important if you usually go for long drives as the engine tends to stay in high temperatures. When oil breaks down, it loses the lubricating properties it had. So the moving parts will rub more with each other causing increased wear and tear as well as creating more heat.

Even under normal conditions, synthetic oils last much longer than mineral oils. So you can change your oil a lot less often than with mineral oil. It lasts more than twice the expected lifetime of mineral oils. So in the long run, you will be saving more money by using synthetic oils. You will not only save on  the cost of the oil itself but also from the cost of having your vehicle’s oil changed if you do not do it yourself. You also help conserve the environment as you would be throwing away less oil in the same span of time.

Having said all that, it is clear that synthetic oils are the better option between the two. You get better performance, a longer lifetime, and even less expense. But if you are quite finicky and like to change your oil often, you may opt for mineral oil to save on costs.


  1. Mineral oil is derived from petroleum while synthetic oil is created.
  2. Synthetic oil is way more expensive than mineral oil.
  3. Synthetic oil can withstand heat better than mineral oil.
  4. Synthetic oil can be changed less often than mineral oil.

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  1. This article has biased views that are most likely influenced by oil company publicity. Although the first paragraph is factual, companies that specialize in oil testing (used or not) such as Blackstone Laboratories, cannot find scientific evidence from used oil testing that synthetic does a better job than mineral oil. These oil testing companies test a wide range of oil ran in different engine types and conditions and have enough data to analyse.

    I’ve had discussions with the technical people from Blackstone Labs on subjects like cold starts, oil breakdown and viscosity. They conclude that there is no trend in their data to differentiate the quality of used synthetic oil vs. used mineral oil. Besides, the major factor affecting the engine is how it is driven which should dictate how often you change your oil.

    I used to be a fan of synthetic oil in my daily drivers and race cars. And as I work in a technical world (the high performance composites industry) and rely on facts to make decisions, I needed proof that mineral oil wasn’t as good. I haven’t found any yet. I’m not so sure synthetic is worth the price anymore…

    • In my opinion this comment is bias, due to the fact that you don’t think using synthetics are worth the money. Obviously you care far less about our planet earth, and much more about personal money/wealth. Every day humans exploit the earths resources in absolute vile and horrific ways. Which then leaves hundreds of thousands of animals homeless and without food. Let alone the fact that we need trees to breathe and we have no idea what in the long run “fracking” is going to do. Oil spills in our oceans. We have the technology and the brain power why not flex our skills and advances. synthetic all the way..

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