Semi-Synthetic vs. Synthetic Oil

November 7, 2022

The type of motor oil you put in your vehicle is critical to its continued performance and longevity. With various motor oil types available on the market, it can take some research to determine which is best for your engine. Learn more about semi-synthetic vs. synthetic oils here, and discover what both types offer to make the most suitable choice for your vehicle.


What Is Conventional Motor Oil? What Is Synthetic Oil?

Conventional motor oil consists of a base mineral oil made from refined crude oil, though it’s less refined than synthetic and semi-synthetic oils. It’s recommended for use in older vehicles due to its high viscosity, meaning it moves slowly through an engine. It’s more economical than synthetic oils and is widely available, but it’s generally not suitable for more modern cars that require higher performance levels.

In contrast, synthetic oil is chemically formulated for a lower viscosity and greater longevity, making it best for vehicles that see significant long-distance travel and demand top performance. This oil type contains a pure synthetic oil base and additives, and it has a uniform molecular formula. This characteristic means it contains no impurities, and each molecule within the oil is highly refined and tailored for improving engine performance.


What’s the Difference Between Synthetic and Semi-Synthetic Oil?

Although fully synthetic and semi-synthetic formulas both contain synthetic motor oil, they aren’t the same. Semi-synthetics combine conventional and synthetic oil in their base formula, making them less pure and less high-performing than fully synthetic versions. The more synthetic oils a formula has, the better it will perform in terms of longevity and lubricity — meaning semi-synthetics still offer a higher-quality option than conventional oil, but they aren’t as efficient as fully synthetic formulations.

Synthetic oil’s base formula consists entirely of chemically engineered, purified oil. However, when creating a semi-synthetic oil, there’s no industry-regulated amount of synthetic base oil that must be included for the product to qualify as a semi-synthetic blend. That means there can be some variance in how much synthetic oil these blends have, meaning that different brands provide different amounts of protection for your engine.


What Oil Is Better?

When considering semi-synthetic versus synthetic oil, it’s important to also weigh their similarities. Despite their differences, synthetic and semi-synthetic oils provide similar benefits, and knowing these can help you decide if your vehicle requires the greatest improvements possible or if it can run fine with moderate enhancements. Some of these benefits of a higher synthetic oil ratio include:

  • Oxidation resistance
  • Better heat resistance than conventional oil
  • Lighter viscosity than conventional oil
  • Better performance at low temperatures

If you’re seeking longer-lasting protection or frequently use your vehicle for demanding tasks, fully synthetic oil is the way to go. For anyone who uses their vehicle for commuting or regular errands, semi-synthetic may be enough to suffice and keep your maintenance expenses down.


Which Should You Choose?

When deciding between semi-synthetic oil versus a synthetic blend, consider your specific application alongside the properties of each oil type. Demanding applications like extreme temperatures and heavy towing typically call for synthetic oil because of its higher stability and lower viscosity. Remember, too, that it’s usually recommended to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on what type of oil to use in your vehicle. 

If you use fully synthetic oil in an engine that takes semi-synthetic oils, you can see increased benefits due to its improved lubrication and resistance to degradation. However, we don’t recommend mixing oil types or using a semi-synthetic blend in an engine that takes fully synthetic oil, as you may experience diminished performance.

Synthetic oils are a go-to choice for many vehicle owners, as they build upon the protective qualities and other benefits that semi-synthetic oils provide, giving you an optimal advantage.


Choose Hot Shot’s Secret for High-Performance Synthetic Oil

If you’ve decided on using synthetic oil in your vehicle, Hot Shot’s Secret has the products you need to ensure it stays up and running. Enjoy the benefits of science-backed formulas that help extend your engine’s longevity and enable continued performance in any condition.

Want to learn more about our engine oils and how they can boost your vehicle or fleet? Feel free to reach out to us for more information.