A mechanic shop. A car is hoisted above the mechanic, who is changing its oil.

What Is Synthetic Blend Oil?

You’ve probably seen it on the shelves of your local auto parts store or repair shop and wondered: What is synthetic blend oil? Also known as part- or semi-synthetic motor oil, it consists of a combination of mineral oil and synthetic base oil. This means that it provides some of the same benefits as a full-synthetic motor oil, including improved wear detection and fuel efficiency. Here’s a look at the differences between the two prominent motor oil types and why synthetic blend oil can be a beneficial third option.

Conventional and Synthetic Motor Oil

Brian Snelson

If you shop for motor oil, you’ll find two familiar types: conventional and synthetic.

Conventional oil has been around since Valvoline produced the first engine lubricant in 1866, derived directly from crude oil. Such oils supply lubrication along with high-temperature protection, while remaining stable for many miles.

Full-synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, is chemically engineered in a laboratory. These oils are designed with the express purpose of being free of the contaminants found in crude-based conventional oils. Synthetic oils are also imbued with molecules that reduce friction. Thus, they improve fuel economy, work optimally under extreme temperatures and last longer. Synthetic oils also protect crucial engine parts like cams and pistons. When done properly, using a full-synthetic or a synthetic blend oil can extend the life of an engine.

Synthetic Blend Oil

There is a third motor oil choice available, known as a synthetic blend. Such oils use a mix of conventional and synthetic oils, supplying increased protection from oxidation (corrosion) over conventional motor oil. Other benefits include: seal conditioners for rejuvenating aging engine seals to help stop or prevent oil leaks, additional protection against future engine wear, enhanced removal of sludge and deposits, and longer intervals between oil changes. Such oils are ideal for older vehicles that have 75,000 or more miles on the odometer and have run on conventional oil all along.

Why Choose a Synthetic Blend?

With conventional and full-synthetic motor oils available, why choose a blend of both?

The simple reason is that the synthetic blend offers a stepping stone to a full synthetic. If you’ve been using conventional oil all along and aren’t sure you want to make the leap to synthetic, a blend of both is an ideal transitional step before you make that change.

With the synthetic blend, you’ll enjoy a longer interval between oil changes than with conventional oil, allowing you to evaluate how the oil holds up. If you’re satisfied with the upgrade, you can continue with it or move up to a full synthetic to enjoy even longer oil change intervals and superior engine protection. After all, motor oil is about protecting your engine and keeping it in optimum condition for as long as you own the car.

Now you know the answer to the question: What is synthetic blend oil? Knowing your options, make sure to choose the best oil for your car to protect your investment.

Check out all the chemical products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. To learn more about synthetic blend oil, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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Matthew C. Keegan

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