What is the Difference Between Mineral Oil and Synthetic Oil

To any vehicle, engines are highly vital components that are responsible for converting the heat from burning gasoline into mechanical energy. The role of engine oils here is to ensure their critical and fast-moving parts remain lubricated, protected and cool. They also safeguard the internal elements of the engine from unwanted friction and excessive heating. 

Given their significance, engine oils come in various types. These are also categorically known as traditional or conventional engine oils and synthetic-blended. They are namely;

  1. Mineral Engine Oils
  2. Synthetic Engine Oils
  3. Semi-synthetic Engine Oils

Mineral oils are derived from refined crude oil and are characterized by their high viscosity which is the thickness of a fluid. On the other hand, synthetic engine oils are chemically created lubricants that usually contain various additives. Lastly, semi-synthetic engine oils are suitable for those who want the best of both worlds; mineral and synthetic engine oils. They are formed by blending both mineral and semi-synthetic engine oils and are mostly preferred because of their pocket-friendliness. 

Considering that the presence of crude oil makes it difficult to distinguish synthetic oil from mineral oil, there remains some confusion between the two types of engine oils. However, there are stark differences between the two even if their base oil is the same. 

What are Mineral Oil and Synthetic Oils?

As previously mentioned, mineral oil is a refined version of crude oil and this derivation from the crude oil is direct. These mainly benefit older vehicle models and tend to vary because of the thickness of the fluid. Consequently, fuel consumption tends to increase because of the notable thickness of these lubricants. Another thing to note here is the absence of chemical additives, which, conversely, can be found in synthetic engine oils.

Benefits of using conventional minerals oils are; 


  1. Higher viscosity index
  2. Increased engine protection 
  3. Least expensive of the group
  4. Best-suited for older vehicles models

On the contrary, fully synthetic oils are artificially made from chemical compounds with the objective to accentuate the best qualities of their base oil. This is where crude oil comes in. Distilled crude oil is the base material for these lubricants and various chemical additives further enhance their makeup. The addition of additives helps the lubricant perform well even at extreme temperatures and conditions. Synthetic oils have multiple advantages which include the following;


  • Resisting oil breakdown
  • Enduring extreme temperatures 
  • Less frequent oil change intervals
  • Best-suited for higher-performing engines
  • Lasting longer and fewer purities than conventional oils

What is the Difference Between Mineral Oil and Synthetic Oil?

One of the absolute differences between mineral oils and synthetic oils is that the former contain base oils that are refined from crude oil more moderately. 

Whereas, synthetic oils have highly refined base oils which is why there are fewer impurities than its counterpart, as they are removed during the refining process. 

This is also the reason for their resistance towards extreme engine conditions, hence promoting the vehicle performance. Secondly, mineral oils perform well in various conditions depending upon the refinement process level. 

But synthetic oils offer heightened lubrication because of the extensive refinement technique. This keeps the engine running smoothly, reduces wear in the long run and contributes to engine longevity. 

Thirdly, mineral oils lack the uniform layers of synthetic oils which is a result of comprehensive refinement. This inevitably helps in better protection and facilitates the functioning of your engine. 

Modern vehicles’ engines take advantage of this quality, making them higher performing engines. Furthermore, synthetic oils provide less friction and more stability as compared to non-synthetic oils. 

Finally, concerning the cost; mineral engine oils are more easily available and more pocket-friendly amongst the bunch, and synthetic engine oils are the most expensive because of the superior protection they offer and the complex refining process they undergo.


Essentially, your vehicle manual plays the most significant role in determining which oil is best for your engine. It will ultimately recommend the engine oil that will be best for your engine, whether that be mineral or synthetic. 

Apart from this, the difference between mineral oils and synthetic oils comes down to what they offer and whether that coincides with the engine requirements, your vehicle needs and driving conditions. 

Since both have their own set of advantages such as synthetic offers superior engine protection whereas minerals oil are more cost-friendly and plenty more. 

That is why being informed and updated with the differences and the nuances of the two kinds of oil enable us to better understand engine oils and how they impact our vehicle. 

After all, a well-maintained engine gives you an effortless, smooth and effective vehicle performance.  



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