Synthetic oil

What is synthetic oil and ho wis it made? What is the difference between synthetic oil and regular motor oil? Is synthetic oil better, or just more expensive? If better, how much better is it? Does it increase the time between oil changes?

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Synthetics are chemically the same as dino oils, but with more consistant molecule size and far fewer impurities. If you operate in extreme conditions or subject the oil to extreme temperatures, such as with a turbocharger, they’ll hold up better. If not, there is no evidence that they reduce wear or or prolong the life of an engine better than dino oils. Far and away the most common cause of engine failure due to lubricants is simple neglect. People don’t check and/or change their oil.

Others will add more, but here is the 5 cent description and personal experience.

Synthetic oil differs from conventional oil in that conventional oil has hundreds of different chemicals (molecular structures) in it. Synthetic oil is more ‘pure’ if you will, with only the most desirable molecular structures in it, to give the desired characteristics.

Synthetic oil used to be made ‘from scratch’ but the marketing definition for synthetic oil has been expanded so that the synthetic oil you buy from the auto parts store today was made from petroleum stock. Made-from-scratch synthetic oil is available, but it is more expensive than the popular, petroleum-based, synthetics.

Is it better? Yes. Does it extend oil change intervals? Yes. Is it worth the extra cost? Depends. Will you spend less on oil changes and repairs over the life of your car if you switch to synthetic oil? Maybe.

I personally have two cars (late model BMWs) that came originally with petroleum-based synthetic oil, and that is what the owners manual calls for. That is what I put in them.

My other two cars (older BMWs) came with petroleum oil in them, and that is what I put in them.

The two older ones are around a quarter-million miles each and both engines are perfect and consume virtually no oil. One of the newer ones that has always used synthetic consumes a couple of quarts between changes at only 110k miles. Is that the oil’s fault? Probably not, but but it does not argue in favor of synthetic.

I tried synthetic in my older BMWs and my old Volvo once, and immediately got oil leaks in all three cars so I switched back. This does NOT imply that you will get oil leaks if you switch to synthetic oil. Most folks have no trouble at all.

Work smarter, not harder. Google “Synthetic oil Wiki” for some reading on this topic that is subject to more critical review than what you will see here.

I pretty much agree with your post except for the comment about synthetic oil extending oil change intervaals. Synthetics are just as subject to contaminants and dilution by blowby as dinos are, and I don’t subscribe to the theory that they allow extended intervals without reduced protection. But I do recognize that there are divergent beliefs on this subject.

Here is a place you can go to obsess about motor oil

In addition to what others have said, I’d also say that not every brand (whether conventional or synthetic) agrees with every car, just like not every type of food agrees with every person.

You may have to experiment with different brands/weights to find what agrees with your vehicle. Not that the ‘wrong’ choice will cause harm, but you may notice a smoother engine, better economy, and less oil consumption once you find a good match for your car.

Personally I like using synthetic and will not likely go back. I do 2 oil changes per year, maybe 3. For the extra $20-30 per year, it’s not that much of a savings to cheap out on the oil.