In the battle of conventional vs. synthetic oil, most vehicle drivers today know that synthetic oil arises victorious. It’s widely known that synthetic oil offers improved wear protection, a cleaner engine, and gas efficiency, among various other advantages. Synthetic oil likewise lasts much longer, offering the benefit of increased cost savings. But why use synthetic oil over conventional? Let’s discover today!
What is synthetic oil?
It’s a question vehicle drivers commonly ponder. They additionally ask, “What is synthetic oil made from?”
Some wrongly assume synthetic oil is not originated from crude-oil sources or various other nonrenewable fuel sources. They assume that if all drivers changed to synthetics, we’d cut our ties to fossil fuels as well as concurrently save the kids, polar bears, and whales.
A noble concept, however a false one.
While synthetic and also conventional oils vary in performance as well as how they’re made, they both owe their beginnings to petroleum or other nonrenewable fuel sources. As you’ll see, they still vary greatly.
Engine oil, whether conventional or synthetic, is made from 2 essential elements:
- Base oils
The base oils are largely responsible for fighting wear, getting rid of high temperatures, and decreasing friction. Specialized additives combat chemical failure, reduce the effects of acids, and supply extra wear security, relying on the chemical formulation and application for which they’re designed for.
To illustrate this, think about a quart of oil like a glass of lemonade with sweetener. The base stock can be compared to water, and the chemical additives are akin to the lemon concentrate and sweetener.
To answer our initial query (What is synthetic oil?), let us leave the chemical additives aside for a moment and focus on the structural oil stock.
How are conventional base stock oils made?
The base oils utilized to make conventional engine oil are distilled from unrefined oil.
Unrefined oil has hundreds of different hydrocarbons. Oil refineries boil down the crude oil, making use of heat to separate it into different stocks, consisting of …
- Jet fuel
- Diesel fuel
- Heating oil
- The base oils that standard motor oils are made from
Distillation, nevertheless, has its restrictions. Base oils distilled from unrefined stock include a number of various molecules that are destructive to lubricating a vehicle’s engine. As a result, oil efficiency decreases, as does your engine’s performance.
What are the different ways synthetic base oils are made?
Synthetic base oils aren’t distilled; instead they’re chemically synthesized (i.e. constructed).
What does that suggest?
Refiners dismantle petroleum particles to their basic elements utilizing numerous chemical reactions in a highly complex refinery process. After that, utilizing only uniform molecules (normally ethylene), they build synthetic base stock oils from scratch. What is left is a pure base stock oil that doesn’t include the combination of irregular oil molecules originally discovered in standard base stock oils distilled from crude stock.
This is all a bit complicated unless you’re a chemical engineer, so let’s utilize an additional example.
Say you purchased an old Victorian residence. It’s filled with personality, but it’s seen much better days. The foundation is broken, the plaster is worn, the wall surfaces are out-of-plumb and the roof is leaking. You are forced to make repairs.
There are 2 methods to tackle it: the standard way or the synthetic approach
The standard way
You deal with the foundation, patch the cracked plaster, repair the used roof shingles and also decide to deal with the uneven wall surfaces. It’s not an ideal remodeling, but it’s cost-effective and your home will provide trustworthy shelter for a couple of years prior to needing more fixings.
The synthetic approach
Next, you rebuild the residence from the ground up making use of only straight studs as well as joists, excellent blocks, excellent shingles, etc. The final property is much more powerful and more durable than the house remodeled the “standard” way.
Similarly, refiners deconstruct petroleum molecules into fundamental components and also, using natural synthesis, build synthetic base stock oils making use of only the particles that are “right, square, and in perfect health,” to spin a phrase. The resulting product is enhanced for protecting your engine against extreme temperatures, wear, and stress.
(I must explain that this house-building analogy is applicable to PAO -based synthetic stock. The analogy is not applicable to synthetics created from Group III base stock oils.) Not all synthetic oil groups are produced in the same manner.
Is synthetic oil much better?
Yes. Thanks, next.
Seriously, however, if you have actually reviewed the blog post this far you can arrive at the answer on your own.
Synthetic oil is better than traditional oil.
Synthetic engine oil is made utilizing pure, uniform chemistry. It conveys advantages conventional engine oils just can’t touch. It makes excellent sense. Nearly anything manufactured with superior components is going to offer better performance and last much longer– an automotive engine, smart device, set of shoes– just to name a few.
Synthetic oil vs. traditional oil comparison
Synthetic oils have proven to last longer than conventional. For example, a 100% pure synthetic motor oil blended with moly has been engineered with drain intervals for 40,000 miles and more, while your conventional petroleum based motor oils still follow the old fashioned 3,000 mile drain interval.
A 100% pure synthetic motor oil engineered with molybdenum disulfide offers cold weather performance down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, because of its superior cold weather flowability, it delivers less startup engine wear. By using a synthetic motor oil blended with moly, there is virtually zero engine startup wear. One of the negative characteristics of petroleum based motor oils are their inferior cold weather performance characteristics and their poor ability to protect engine parts during cold weather startups.
Why use synthetic oil over conventional? The benefits
What advantages might vehicle drivers expect after changing to synthetic oil?
Boosted engine protection
Motorists have actually informed us that wear protection is the number-one advantage they demand from engine oil. If your engine oil could make your vehicle fly, yet not keep the engine components from breaking and failing, what good would the engine oil be?
Synthetic engine oil is superior at reducing motor wear and friction. It develops a tougher lubricant film, thus maintaining the proper protective lubricant cushion between the metal components. It likewise provides improved resistance to extreme high temperatures as well as fluid thickness loss, two functions that convert into better wear defense.
By utilizing a synthetic motor oil that has been formulated with MoS2, or moly, vehicle owners will reap many additional benefits from this unique friction modifier’s components, such as less engine wear, better fuel economy, and lower engine operating temperatures.
Will synthetics also protect diesel engines?
100% pure synthetic motor oils engineered with moly are designed to handle extreme operating conditions. Diesel engines provide the perfect work environment for synthetics. Diesel engines must cope with higher operating temperatures and also corrosive acids that form because of combustion. A synthetic moly motor oil withstands extreme operating temperatures ranging from -40 degrees F all the way up to 400 degrees F. Please note that moly withstands pressures as high as 500,000 psi and can withstand temperatures beyond 750 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, a moly synthetic motor oil contains the proper detergent dispersant additive chemistry to maintain diesel engine cleanliness. Whether it is protecting the engine from dry starts in the morning, long term idling in traffic, or hauling heavy loads up a mountain highway, a synthetic motor oil blended with moly would be a superior choice over conventional petroleum based engine oils.
Boosted cold-temperature performance
When the temperature goes down, the viscosity of engine oil increases, and it flows slower as a result. Due to this, engine components stay unguarded for a brief period of time. This is called “dry start.” It’s particularly problematic with standard oils since they consist of wax-like substances that expand in the cold. Synthetics, on the other hand, don’t contain these wax-like substances, meaning they remain even more fluid in low winter temperatures. This means synthetics can reach essential components faster, providing superior engine defense as well as minimizing wear.
In other words, synthetic oils offer much better extreme low-temperature protection. Additionally, it is critical to remember that choosing to use a synthetic motor oil formulated with moly provides superior dry start protection for critical engine parts.
Improved high-temperature defense
Engines can create a lot of heat. As a matter of fact, they run at much higher temperatures than ever before due to the widespread usage of direct fuel injection and turbochargers, which help car manufacturers to reach the EPA’s tough fuel-mileage requirements.
The extreme RPMs and extreme heat that turbos are forced to run in can cause deposit buildup, known as turbocharger coking, which can destroy the turbocharger. Turbo coking takes place when engine oil is left in the turbocharger as well as when the motor is shut off when hot.
It’s up to the engine oil to protect against that. Conventional oils merely aren’t suited for the task. They harbor unsteady, light molecules that vaporize when subjected to higher temperatures.
Synthetics, on the other hand, offer boosted extreme-heat resistance, hence they’re the far better choice for today’s hot-running motors. Actually, turbocharger defense is so imperative that GM requires engine oils to successfully complete without failure its Turbo Coking Test to be certified for its GM dexos1 ® Gen 2 engine oil specification.
Optimum fuel mileage
Earlier we spoke about exactly how conventional oil’s viscosity increases when it’s cold. Not only does thick, cool oil negatively affect wear protection, it causes the engine to expend larger amounts of energy. This subsequently requires the engine to use more fuel. Since synthetics flow easily at startup, synthetic oils make the most of fuel mileage efficiency.
When a synthetic oil contains molybdenum disulfide, fuel mileage improvements can be expected. Moly can reduce fluid friction or fluid drag by as much as 65%. The moly actually smooths over the rough metal surfaces, thus reducing friction, increasing power and improving fuel economy. Fuel savings range from 3% up to 15%.
Decreased oil usage
Several elements can trigger your engine to consume more engine oil unnecessarily. Most are mechanical, including …
- Worn gaskets or seals
- Stuck or worn out piston rings
- Broken or ruined bearings
- Obstructed PCV shutoff
Go to a mechanic and also have them repaired if your engine utilizes excessive engine oil due to mechanical flaws.
Engine oil volatility can additionally add to oil consumption. The more it vaporizes, the less oil is left to protect engine parts and also the more frequently a customer may need to replace the lost oil.
The lightweight molecular particulates in conventional lubes vaporize at relatively milder temperatures. These light molecules need much less energy in the form of heat than larger molecules to be evaporated out of the oil and into the atmosphere.
Volatility affects more factors than just the level of oil usage
When light elements in oil evaporate from heat, the oil’s viscosity rises. This thicker oil requires the engine to work harder, leading to numerous issues, including the following:
- Efficiency loss
- Lower fuel mileage
- Poor low-temperature starting
- Higher engine impurities
The goal is to make use of an oil that’s stable in the presence of extreme temperature and resists oil usage in both gasoline and diesel engines. Synthetic oils are typically superior in resisting extreme heat and volatility. Because of this, they help in reducing oil consumption to maintain your engine’s cleanliness and power.
A high performance synthetic motor oil blended with moly can offer drain intervals from 40,000 miles up to 80,000 miles. Additionally, moly helps lower temperatures, which helps extend oil life. Considering the extended drain interval capabilities and lower operating temperatures, oil consumption is vastly reduced.
How frequently should I replace synthetic oil?
It stands to reason that synthetic engine oil will certainly last longer than traditional oil as a result of its superior performance. That holds true, but for how long does synthetic engine oil last?
It depends upon the oil itself and also your operating circumstances.
While synthetics basically outperform standard oil, some synthetics are better than others. A pure synthetic motor oil with MoS2 can offer extended drain intervals of 40,000 to 80,000 miles or more between oil changes. This is based upon a previous average oil filter change interval of 10,000 miles.
Superior quality will determine the life of your oil
How long a synthetic oil can last depends upon its base stock oil as well as the quality of the chemical additive package. It also relies on whether your driving habits fall under the severe or normal category. Regular towing, hauling, snowplowing, stationary engine idling, or driving in dusty conditions are examples of extreme driving environments that can lower the oil’s change intervals.
We advise that you comply with the oil-change guidelines given by your car manufacturer’s guidebook or on the engine oil label. Some synthetics are suggested for extended mileage change intervals past what’s given up by the car manufacturer’s handbook. Surpassing drain intervals in this way allows you to safely reach longer oil change mileage. In other words, less oil changes means spending less of your hard earned money.
A high performance 100% synthetic motor oil with moly can deliver less frequent oil changes. For diesel engines, the results are the same: less frequent oil changes. In certain applications, it’s possible to get 3x the original equipment supplier’s drain interval, but not to exceed 60,000 miles/600 hrs of service or one year, whichever happens first.
Using oil testing analysis is the most effective technique in determining how long your engine oil can last. It entails taking and also sending an oil example to a laboratory, where technicians analyze its condition for the visibility of wear steels, coolants, gases, and other pollutants. When you need to scientifically know the condition of your engine oil, oil analysis is the most efficient way to determine precisely just how long your oil will last.
Synthetic vs. traditional oil change interval
Recall the 3,000-mile oil change found in your car manufacturer’s manual? Some shade-tree mechanics and fast lubes might still advertise the technique as an”economical insurance coverage” against engine wear. Desiring the best for your engine is a noble concept, yet tossing out perfectly functional engine oil benefits nobody.
The 3,000-mile oil-change campaign was embraced and also intensified in the 1970s by fast lubes (much of which were possessed by oil companies). While they may have had their clients’ benefits in mind, it really boosted their profits by forcing their clients to constantly come to the shop for unnecessary oil changes.
3,000 mile oil changes? A thing of the past.
Much like cars no longer needing carb adjustments, nor distributor point adjustments, nor H2O in their batteries, the industry has now advanced way past the outdated 3,000 mile oil change.
Engine oil advanced technology has progressed in lockstep with automotive innovation, meaning oils today frequently last longer than the old fashioned 3,000 miles of the past. As pointed out above, if you decide on using synthetic oils in your vehicle, you can expect benefits such as increased oil drain intervals, which will conserve money and time.
Can you mix traditional oil with synthetic oil?
Yes, you can blend standard oil with synthetic oil.
There is no issue in mixing the two. Synthetic-blend engine oil, for instance, which is easily available at any type of automotive parts shop, is just conventional oil and synthetic oil rolled into one.
Mixing the 2, nevertheless, will only diminish the synthetic oil’s exceptional efficiency and lower its benefits. It’s not a wonderful idea to blend synthetic and standard engine oil unless you have no choice. While making a stop for gas on your travels, you decide to check the oil level in your vehicle and notice the dipstick reads low. Chances are, the local convenience store only has traditional low-quality engine oil. Most likely, you’ll be forced to top-off your engine with this lower quality oil. It is advisable to change back to the superior synthetic engine oil at your earliest convenience.
Engine oil, whether synthetic or standard, is made from base oils as well as additives. While these parts work with each other, the base oils in synthetics are better. The additives, too, are usually higher quality. At the end of the day, it’s safe to mix them, however why trouble yourself when you’re merely weakening the premium properties of the synthetic oil?
What is semi-synthetic engine oil?
We hinted at the answer before: it’s absolutely nothing more than engine oil that’s developed making use of both synthetic and conventional base stock oils. Semi-synthetic oil is likewise described as synthetic-blend.
Semi-synthetic engine oils fall somewhere between traditional oil and synthetic oil on the engine oil chart. The idea behind them is to supply motorists a preference of the boosted efficiency of a full synthetic or a more cost-effective alternative to standard oil. Oil marketers see them as a stepping-stone product to encourage car owners to eventually upgrade to a complete synthetic.
The number one question by car owners concerning semi-synthetic engine oil is, “Just how much ‘synthetic’ remains in my oil?” Does the oil in the container include 2 percent synthetic base oils? 20 percent? Forty?
The greater the synthetic content, the far better the oil ought to perform.
100% synthetic vs. semi-synthetic
For car owners, there are no industry requirements or laws that specify the minimal percentage of synthetic parts to be categorized as semi-synthetic. Each engine oil manufacturer will want to maintain a level of secrecy concerning the amount of synthetic base oil used in their formulation. Thus, it will be difficult to know which oil truly is a full synthetic or a partial-synthetic blend.
There are a few things the intelligent car owner can investigate and look for when trying to determine whether the synthetic oil they want to use is full or partial-synthetic.
Check out the oil manufacturer’s internet site as well as locate the oil’s tech data sheet or TDS. Also look for the oil’s typical tech properties. Seek these 2 values:
Viscosity Index or VI: Oils with a greater number consist of a much better synthetic base stock oil that provides more security to vital elements over a broad temperature range by maintaining liquid density as well as the essential oil lubricant barrier between components.
Pour Factor: determines the oil’s fluidness at low temperatures as well as refers to the most optimal temperature level at which oil keeps its capability to flow. Reduced numbers are most likely to show a much better synthetic base stock oil.
You should know, however, that an oil’s base oil make-up is only part of what establishes its efficiency. The chemical additive package additionally plays a big role in battling wear and also deposited contaminants.
Synthetic oil vs. standard oil in older vehicles
False information about synthetic oil vs standard oil in older cars still populates some auto shops as well as the World Wide Web. Some people still wrongly assume that synthetic oil can be “too unsafe” and can also result in leaking seals.
Like lots of prominent misconceptions, the idea that synthetics trigger oil leaks is based on reality.
If you go back in time to the 70s, synthetic oils were developed utilizing chemistry that reacted in a harsher way with seals and gaskets than the chemistry utilized today. Early formulas occasionally resulted in oil leaks, which only added to the myth that exists today.
Synthetics can expose the true condition of seals.
Occasionally, changing to a synthetic oil in an older, high-mileage car or truck can result in dripping seals, however it’s not the engine oil’s fault.
The seals as well as gaskets in older engines can dry out, which can cause breaks and cracks. Sludge that has actually built up over the years, nevertheless, can cover the cracks and also stop them from leaking. It’s like making use of spackle to cover splits on a wall surface. The sludge successfully helps the used seals do their task by covering up the cracks and breaks in the gasket.
A good quality synthetic engine oil is formulated with a powerful detergent/dispersant chemistry that will eventually remove the sludge found throughout the engine, thus exposing the true problem of the worn seals and gaskets. Cleaning the sludge from the worn seals causes leakages, which the driver incorrectly attributes to the synthetic engine oil.
If you suspect that your older, high-mileage engine does in fact have too much engine sludge, you may wish to leave well enough alone and continue utilizing traditional run-of-the-mill engine oil.
The best way to change over to synthetic engine oil
Due to synthetic oil’s superior efficiency, a large number of car owners and car manufacturers are converting over to synthetic engine oils for the first time.
Once you’ve made up your mind to convert your car’s engine to a pure, fully synthetic oil, you’ll initially have to do the following: absolutely zero.
That’s correct. You need not do anything at all to change to synthetic engine oil. Simply drain the regular engine oil and fill up with the correct viscosity synthetic engine oil.
Why use synthetic oil over conventional? Synthetic engine oil defeats traditional engine oil every time!
Synthetic engine oil outperforms traditional oil on almost all occasions. It offers excellent protection against wear, destructive deposited contaminants, and chemical failure. Changing over to synthetic engine oil will assist your engine in lasting longer, providing better fuel mileage and more power.
In summary, before you go in for your next vehicle maintenance appointment, instead of opting for conventional motor oil, consider making the permanent switch to synthetic engine oil. In fact, when you do change to synthetic engine oil, consider utilizing a synthetic motor oil engineered with molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), or moly. So, why use synthetic oil over conventional? Quite simply, your vehicle will be happier, and so will you!