What makes a motor oil Synthetic motor oil? The word “synthetic” has a pretty loose definition, a lot of manufacturer prefer the word synthetic to only apply to oils chemically formulated without the use of petroleum as a base oil.
However it is not that simple. At first lets talk about petroleum based motor oils. Petroleum based or Conventional motor oil is a lubricant that is produced directly from crude oil.
Petroleum base motor oils are very “sensitive” to temperature changes. This means at extremely low temperatures, for example at winter time, here in Canada it may be thick, and at high temperatures, it’s fairly thin. To change the oil properties, oil companies mix additives, chemicals into the petroleum base.
Those chemicals effects the oil viscosity, improve it at high and low temperature too. When a 5W-30 conventional motor oil is brand new, it can acts exactly like a 5W-30 synthetic motor oil.
German Synthetic Oil
The problem is comes with time, from the use, the chemical additives in the conventional oil begin to break-down and or vaporize. This means, the oil starts to get thick when cold and start to get thin when hot.
Synthetic oils work quite differently. From the start, the chemical structure is designed to match a specific multi-grade oil, plus certain additives like rust inhibitors or dispersants will be added to further improve the usefulness of the oil.
The end result is that over time the synthetic oil does not degrade as conventional oils do. From a viscosity standpoint, an old synthetic oil act pretty similar to a new synthetic oil, however it might get slightly thicker as a result of contaminants.
Some people states it, from a viscosity standpoint alone, a conventional motor oil could match the protection of a synthetic motor oil simply by changing conventional oil more often, and it is true. However synthetic motor oils not just lubricate only, they come with superior quality additives, leading to a cleaner, smoother running engine as well.
Which one is right for your car? Which one is better? Synthetic or conventional motor oil?
Before any misunderstanding, probably hard to buy a bad lubricant these days. some of them good and some others are better. Even the most basic conventional oils available on the market are far better than ones offered 10 years ago.
We believe, it’s ok to use a quality petroleum-based oil in an average car, but if you drive a luxury or a high performance vehicles, we recommend to follow the owner manual’s recommendations, which is synthetic oil.
For sure, the synthetic oil cost more, but the benefits of synthetic justify the expense, with longer oil changes intervals, reduced oil deposit formation, slightly better fuel economy and longer engine life.
Call us for more details. Telephone: 905.795.0419.
The Importance of Oil Changes
Oil Recommendations by BMW