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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A strong case for Changing Engine Oil - Synthetic vs. Mineral Oils.

Synthetic vs mineral oils – why should you consider the switch to mineral.

In absolutes there’s no doubt that synthetic oil out performs mineral oil, but then why does the debate on synthetic vs. mineral oils rage on? As with most decisions in life, this one is also usually based on money.

What are the differences in cost, synthetic vs. mineral oils?

The common price for a quart of 10W-30 brand-name mineral-based oil at a local auto parts store is approx twice the price for
brand-name synthetic oil. Why would anyone pay twice as much for engine lubrication?

And this is where the debate around synthetic vs. mineral oils gets heated.

The obvious reason is that it lasts longer.

With their excellent stability under extreme temperatures and superior anti-oxidation properties, synthetic oils have proven that they can last far longer than twice the recommended 20,000 km oil change and still maintain their lubricant qualities.

Why do synthetic oils last longer than mineral oils?

Heat and oxidation are the primary reasons for oil break down. Petroleum-based lubricants are mixtures of several sizes of hydrocarbon molecules, sulphur, paraffins, salts and metals. With different evaporation, oxygenation and burn points for each size and type of molecule, the refined petroleum-based oils start changing to the moment you start your car.

In time, a lubricant will have a diminished ability to perform its job, which is to lubricate metal-to-metal contact surfaces in machinery and to transfer heat away from the area being lubricated.

The diminished ability to lubricate increases as the molecules of various size and weight are consumed by evaporation and oxidation. Lubrication ability may continue to diminish as these various molecules interact with the blow-by gases and other contaminants in the engine environment.

Additives are used to control acid, stabilize viscosity, and keep soot in suspension. The additives are typically consumed as they do their job. Therefore, in many cases, but not all cases oil needs to be changed at familiar intervals of 15,000 to 20,000 Km’s.

Synthetics may have better viscosity film strength than petroleum stocks at elevated temperatures (greater than 80°C). Film strength indicates a lubricant’s ability to occupy the space between two metal surfaces under pressure and/or heat. This is the fundamental reason for lubrication, to hang in there and do the job.

However the final nail in the synthetic vs. mineral oils is the fact that many synthetics have a much higher base numbe (BN) retention than petroleum-based formulations.

The BN is contributed by overbase additives such as detergents and is a measure of a lubricant’s ability to neutralize acid. The longer a lubricant can resist turning to acid, the longer it can be used. This fact, along with the decreasing cost differential of the two lubricants, is reason enough to use synthetics.

An undeniable conclusion to the synthetic vs. mineral oils argument.


Consumers are awakening to the idea of extended oil drain intervals. The quick-lube shops and petroleum oil manufacturers are naturally going to resist the idea for their own economic interests. But weighing the upward spiraling costs of today’s oil and fuel, the synthetics with their better protection and extended drain intervals are looking good.

But old habits die hard, and for those who are wary of suddenly extending oil drain intervals, I would recommend using oil analysis to confirm the results of the synthetic vs. mineral oils debate.

There’s no better time to put the synthetic vs. mineral oils debate to bed: Call Habot Synthetic Lubricants for quality synthetic lubricant that can save you money and improve performance.


Miami Auto Repair said...

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David H Friedman said...

Our car's Oil Changes!
If you didn't know, getting a regular oil change for your car is the easiest way to extend it's life and save the trouble and danger of breakdowns and the cost of repairs. It is a key part of routine maintenance, essential to keeping your vehicle running smoothly and efficiently.