So why do people use synthetic motor oils rather than sticking with the old petroleum based stand-bys which are admittedly cheaper?
1. Let’s start with the cost per quart issue.
Synthetic motor oils ARE more expensive at purchase. However, these oils last longer, requiring fewer oil changes. As a synthetic motor oil outlasts several changes of petroleum based lubricants, the ultimate out-of-pocket cost of the lubricant is less. This cost savings becomes even greater if you have someone else change your oil for you rather than doing it yourself!
2. Viscosity Index and Viscosity Breakdown
Synthetic motor oils have a higher initial viscosity index and less viscosity breakdown as compared to conventional lubricants. They also have more uniformly sized molecules. This means that over the period of life of the oil, more lubrication, hence less heat and more protection is being provided to the engine. In other words, longer engine life.
3. Conventional Oil Contaminants
Petroleum based oils may contain ingredients not found in synthetic motor oils. These ingredients often have nothing to do with the lubrication of the engine, but exist simply because it is too expensive or too complicated to remove them. The breakdown of these ingredients can result in sludge and other contamination. This not only affects the performance of the engine and its components, but contributes to pollution as well. While petroleum based lubricants are, as the words imply, “refined” from a “crude” product, there is a certain level of variability of product as well. Synthetic motor oils, on the other hand, are engineered to be of consistent quality. Additionally, they can be designed for specific purposes. For example, synthetic varieties can be found for the family car, race cars, motorcycles, chain saws, and diesel trucks.
4. Fuel Economy
Because of their ability to lubricate better and last longer, synthetic motor oils help your engine operate more efficiently and easily, therefore requiring less fuel to accomplish a given amount of work. This is money in your pocket, and, since the benefits of the oil’s effectiveness extend longer, this is the gift that keeps on giving.
5. Overall Return on Investment
Regular use of synthetic motor oil means lower maintenance costs across the board, not just in terms of the oil changes themselves. Engines and engine components simply tend to last longer. It has long been known that one of the most important acts a car owner could perform to prolong the life of his or her car while lowering overall maintenance costs was to perform regular oil changes. When synthetic motor oil is used and changed on a regular schedule, the synergistic affect of lower lubrication costs, plus lower fuel costs, plus lower maintenance costs, plus longer engine and component life adds up to a tidy amount, not to mention the sales or trade value of the vehicle that has been kept in this manner.
6. Improved Cold Start Lubrication
Due to the lack of ingredients such as wax or paraffin, which may be found in conventional oils, synthetic motor oils begin flowing effectively throughout the engine much more rapidly in cold weather. Again, this results in lower engine wear and longer engine life.
7. Environmental and Political Benefits
Less dependence on foreign oil. If all cars in America switched to synthetic motor oils, gear lubes, and drive train lubricants, billions of gallons of oil could be saved every year.
So, use of synthetic motor oils can save you money by making your engine and other components last longer, require less maintenance, and use less fuel. Repair costs will be reduced, your vehicle will last longer and perform more effectively. You will be contributing to the environment while reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil.