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What are the Advantages of Synthetic Engine Oil?

Synthetic engine oils are made of chemical compounds formulated (synthesized) from chemically modified petroleum compounds or other raw materials. Synthetic lubricants are made differently than petroleum-based motor oils. Petroleum-derived oils contain a mixture of distillates from crude oil that share the same boiling temperature range. This range can include thousands of different molecules, many of which may be good lubricants, but just as many of which may not. Poor lubricant molecules break down easily and cause unwanted changes in the viscosity of the oil or produce sludge.

In contrast, synthetic motor oils are designed with the efficient lubrication of the engine in mind. They are formulated to work under extreme conditions, and provide resistance to oxidation, thermal stability, better performance at low temperatures, energy savings, improved resistance to frictional wear and greater lubricant service life.

Better Performance — Hot or Cold

Synthetic oils were originally developed for use in jet aircraft engines that operate at high temperatures. In this application, petroleum-based oils oxidized and broke down over time, creating sludge and residue that could damage the engine internally. Synthetics were developed to resist the effects of high-temperature service, eventually finding their way into internal combustion engines. In fact, synthetics can withstand elevated temperatures that would burn petroleum-based products.

Synthetics also fare better at low temperatures. In frigid conditions, synthetic oils flow easier than mineral-based products, whose viscosity increases in the cold and makes starters and batteries work harder. Synthetic oil is generally more stable at low temperatures, allowing it to be more easily pumped through the engine and offering improved start-up protection against friction.

Synthetics' characteristics are more stable across wide temperataure ranges, meaning they resist thinning at hotter operating temperature, and flow well in the cold. This viscosity stability results in excellent protection.

Other Favorable Characteristics

Additional benefits of synthetic motor oils include:

  • Oxidation Resistance — The uniform molecular characteristics of synthetic oils help the lubricant resist oxidation. Oxygen molecules, in their diatomic form of O2, flow around the synthetic oil molecules and are less likely to react with them. This is contrasted by the irregular molecular shapes found in mineral (petroleum) oils, which are more likely to "capture" oxygen and react with it.
  • Environmentally Friendly — Synthetic oils are less volatile and contain almost no light components such as those found in mineral oils, which evaporate quickly into the atmosphere.
  • Stronger Lubrication — Because synthetics have uniformly sized molecules, they provide a more uniform coating; this translates into excellent wear protection. The many different molecules in petroleum oils are irregularly sized and do not coat wear surfaces as uniformly as synthetics. This translates into excellent wear protection.

Are Synthetics Right for You?

Synthetic oils offer numerous advantages over mineral-based products. Under extreme operating conditions, synthetics offer better protection for engines and components. Also, the use of synthetics means a longer lubricant service life and fewer oil changes.

Synthetic oils are costlier than their mineral-based counterparts.

However, synthetics blend easily with petroleum oils, these blended products can offer some of the advantages of synthetics at a reduced cost.

The question becomes: Are synthetic oils worth the additional cost per gallon? That can only be answered by working with Acculube's team. It takes about an hour to collect the data and return with a 'Total Cost of Ownership' (TCO) study.

You might pay more per gallon, but use fewer gallons over the year, actually reducing your overall spending & getting a better performing product.

NEXT ESSAY

 

Need More Information?
If you are wondering if synthetics are right for your equipment, contact the
experts at Acculube. Our trained professionals can help you determine the
right motor oil for you.

Contact Us: 1.800.404.2570 or email us at sales@acculube.com

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Acculube supplies the
Diesel Exhaust Fluid ("DEF")
you need to reduce NOx emissions and improve fuel economy

  • API certified for on-highway diesel engines
  • Bulk, totes, drums or 2.5 gallon containers