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Best Synthetic Oil For Cold Weather

Snowplows removing the snow on the highway on a snowy winter day.

The best synthetic oil for cold weather is one that doesn’t thicken up when temperatures drop, thus allowing the oil to flow easily to critical parts that need proper lubrication and protection. Whether you are part of the heavy equipment or automotive industry, there are two oil types: synthetic and conventional. A synthetic base oil differs physically from a conventional base oil. This difference primarily concerns the molecular structure of each.

Conventional oils are made up of uneven-sized molecules and are commonly used in the auto industry. The uneven-sized molecules do not flow easily in warm weather, let alone cold weather. Conventional motor oil contains waxes that thicken when temperatures start to drop. When this happens, the oil’s ability to flow is significantly impacted when you try to start your engine.

When cold weather reaches sub-zero temperatures, conventional oils can become so thick that the engine crank shaft is prevented from turning fast enough to start the engine.

In addition to waxes, conventional oils have other unwanted byproducts that also contribute to the oil’s natural inability to flow easily during cold weather and cold startup conditions.

Snow plow doing snow removal during a blizzard.
Conventional oils cannot be relied on when emergency equipment is needed to provide urgent services during cold weather storms.

Characteristics of the Best Synthetic Oil for Cold Weather

In comparison, a synthetic oil is made of equal-sized molecules. Because the molecular structure is even, the oil flows with very little fluid friction throughout a broad temperature range. This naturally easy flowability is very helpful during cold weather conditions and cold startup situations.

If a conventional oil thickens in frigid winter temperatures, then the engine will lack the necessary lubrication due to the oil being too thick to travel. Synthetic oil will provide fast lubrication to critical components because it does not thicken when temperatures drop and flows easily throughout all oil passageways.

Not only is it important that a motor oil flow easily during cold weather, the same useful characteristics of cold weather flowability are needed for transmission fluids in both automatic and manual transmissions.

Old excavator with excavator bucket using the best synthetic oil for cold weather.
Synthetic oil, with its perfectly even molecular structure, provides the natural flowability needed for maximum cold weather lubrication protection.

Improved Diesel and Gas Fuel Economy + Extended Oil Drain Intervals

A critical part of a premium grade synthetic oil would be the quality of the additives. For example, to blend a special ultra long drain mileage motor oil, a robust volume of additives needs to be incorporated in the chemistry. Such an additive package impacts various performance characteristics of such a high performance synthetic oil.

One particular area would be the oil’s potential at improving fuel economy. There are various friction modifying additives that can be incorporated to improve the car’s engine fuel efficiency. One additive that historically offers a high rating of benefits is moly.

Moly reduces friction, thus translating to less gasoline being consumed. In particular, a moly synthetic diesel motor oil with a viscosity of 5W40 can increase fuel economy by 1 to 3%. Also, this chemistry, containing robust quantities of additives such as moly along with a TBN of 15, can offer extended drain intervals.

A high performance synthetic motor oil with a TBN of 15 can reduce oil change frequencies and result in a savings in oil filter expenses. Such an additive package will also result in maintaining a clean engine.

Tractor driving in the snow.
Synthetic oils greatly outperform conventional oils in terms of the amount of fuel burned. Expect lower fuel expenses if you run synthetic lubricants in your equipment.

Provide the Best Wear Protection

Another factor to consider when deciding what is the best synthetic oil for cold weather for your heavy duty fleet of equipment would be the viscosity of the engine oil. 5W40 is an excellent multipurpose full synthetic motor oil that will cover a very broad range of temperatures. Whether your operation utilizes off-highway or on-highway diesel engines, a 5W40 engine oil that is engineered with synthetic base oils will provide the required protection for cold weather and hot weather conditions.

A high performance synthetic motor oil will have a higher VI, or viscosity index. This means that the synthetic motor oil will be resistant to any viscosity change, regardless of whether there are low temperatures or severely hot temperatures.

Very often, conventional motor oils lack the necessary oil film required during cold start ups and extreme temperatures. Synthetic motor oil will greatly reduce unnecessary wear during cold weather temperatures, because synthetic oils flow quickly during cold startups and cold weather conditions.

It has been scientifically proven that 80% of wear on motors happen during cold startups. Obviously, the faster an oil can travel to critical engine components during cold startups, the better. The point is, this oil must provide a layer of oil film protection to the metal parts in order to shield against wear.

High performance synthetic oils accomplish the fastest cold temperature flowability over any other lubricant. Using fully synthetic oils will help you radically slash that 80% of dry start wear, thus greatly extending the life of the engine.

Tractor with a snow plough.
80% of engine wear is proven to happen during cold start ups. To significantly reduce this number, consider using a 5W40 moly synthetic motor oil.

Stop Oxidation and Improve Engine Protection

Not only is is important to understand what is the best synthetic oil for cold weather, it is also important to choose the best oil for protecting your vehicles in ALL temperatures and conditions.

Once an engine, transmission, or gear box reaches operating conditions, then the issues of cold temperatures is no longer a factor, but rather how the oil will ultimately perform and protect during extreme operating conditions. To that end, let’s discuss how synthetic oils offer even greater benefits during extreme operating conditions than conventional oils.

When a diesel engine is asked to operate in extremely high temperatures or to perform very difficult tasks for longer periods of time, the motor oil is put to the ultimate test.

One of the most common reasons that an engine oil and an engine’s life are both greatly reduced is oxidation. Extreme high temperatures can and will cause conventional oils to thin out, break down, and oxidize. This oxidation causes damaging deposits.

Along with oxidation, there is the acidification of the engine oil during combustion. Oxidation and acid formation combined quickly thickens the engine oil.

To eliminate these problems, switching from a conventional oil to a high performance synthetic goes a long way in solving these issues.

In addition to the lubricant utilizing synthetic base oils, the additive package should be robust and have very strong acid neutralizers and detergents to remove any deposits.

Switching to the best synthetic oil for cold weather not only is good for cold climates but also for hot temperatures.

Semi truck operating in the cold.
When engines are called upon to perform in extreme conditions, conventional oils start to oxidize or break down. Switching to the best synthetic oil for cold weather will eliminate damaging oxidation and sludge deposits.

High Performance Synthetic Oil Can Also Be Used For Transmissions

Typically, the number 1 reason for asking what is the best synthetic oil for cold weather is often related to the requirements of an engine. We should not forget that other important systems in a piece of equipment also can suffer negative issues during cold weather and cold startups, such as transmissions.

Much like motor oil, transmission fluids also will thicken up when temperatures are cold. A cold, thick fluid will also have difficulty flowing quickly and easily through the complex oil passageways that are found in the valve body of the transmission or through the openings of the small solenoid.

When a transmission oil becomes too thick, the end result is poor shift quality. A conventional transmission fluid will thicken up when temperatures are sub-zero. The oil simply is too thick to flow easily through the very tight confines of a transmission.

By simply switching to a synthetic oil, these shifting problems vanish when you drive down the road. A synthetic transmission fluid maintains the proper viscosity designed for the requirements of the transmission. No matter whether temperatures are very cold or very hot, a synthetic base oil maintains the desired viscosity throughout a wide range of temperatures.

Truck and car on a winter road.
Cold weather performance for engine oils is important, but don’t forget the same requirement is as important for your transmission. Maintain transmission efficiency by using synthetics.

The Best Synthetic Motor Oil Technology Will Lower Maintenance Costs

Yes, a synthetic oil initially requires a larger dollar investment, but the returns on that initial investment provide real value when considering how many thousands of dollars could be spent on rebuilding an engine or a transmission simply because of using a cheap conventional oil. The best and most expensive synthetic lubricant is infinitely cheaper than the cost of engine parts, labor, and downtime.

Whether you have a high mileage car or you are looking for extended engine life for a piece of diesel equipment, one of the best ways for reaching your goals and achieving more benefits is choosing a high performance synthetic motor oil.

We have now determined that the best synthetic oil for cold weather is also a highly rated solution for protecting your vehicle in all operating conditions. It will also increase the longevity of its service life and improve both hot and cold temperature performance.

Tractor plowing snow.
Across all lubricant requirements, utilizing synthetic oils in all power train systems will deliver benefits like better fuel economy, improved performance, and less breakdowns.