Lube Advisor

Synthetic Motor Oil Facts & Benefits

Full Synthetic Motor Oil

Full synthetic motor oils have been scientifically and chemically engineered to deliver a higher level of performance than conventional oils derived from petroleum crude. These laboratory-formulated oils are created from synthesized, highly complex chemical compounds and additives to achieve very specific, enhanced benefits.

Overall, synthetic oils provide better protection against thermal breakdown and are better able to withstand both high and low temperature extremes. Synthetic oils are also more resistant to sludge/deposit buildup, offer better shear stability, and in most cases, provide better performance over longer oil change intervals, while keeping engines cleaner. Cleaner engines – uncongested by soot, carbon deposits and acids created during combustion – are quicker to respond during acceleration, and run better and more efficiently than dirty engines.

Scientific advantages

In synthetic oils, the petroleum components are chemically modified or synthesized from base oil derived from natural gas, a purer form of oil than crude. Eliminating impurities typically results in better fuel economy, increased horsepower and improved wear protection.

The customized molecules in synthetic oils are also more consistent and uniform in shape, facilitating more consistent performance under varying operating conditions. These molecules are tightly bonded, so oxygen molecules cannot easily attach. This serves to reduce oxidation, which causes oil to degrade, increase in viscosity (thicken) and leads to the buildup of varnish and sediments in the process.

Performance-Cost Evaluation

Synthetic oils offer better protection and performance compared to conventional oils, overall. However, they generally cost a bit more, so a cost-performance evaluation for your vehicle is a good idea. As another option, synthetic oil blends (a combination of synthetic and conventional oils) can be a cost-effective compromise.

Converting to Synthetic from Conventional

Some people are under the false assumption that you can’t use synthetic oil if you previously have been using conventional oil, fearing that it may harm their engine. This is far from the case. The two types of oil – although different in performance characteristics – are interchangeable. The choice is up to you as long as you select the appropriate grade as recommended in your vehicle owner’s manual.