You've heard it before. Oil is the lifeblood of your engine. The purpose of motor oil is to lubricate and protect your engine from heat and friction; the two major enemies of your engine. Without oil, your engine would overheat and cease working. Your engine might even crack. Motor oil may be the single most important fluid you will put in your engine.
What Is Petroleum Oil?
Crude oil, better known as petroleum oil, is pumped from the earth, refined, and sold as a lubricant. In spite of the refining process, which is imperfect, contaminants that are not beneficial for your engine will be introduced using petroleum motor oil. Petroleum motor oils contain a different-sized molecular structure that contains properties both beneficial and non-beneficial. Petroleum motor oil has been the predominant automobile lubrication product for generations. If changed regularly, petroleum motor oil will provide a measure of protection for your engine, but not necessarily the best measure of protection.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Conventional Oil?
* High oil temperature in excess of 240F will break down petroleum oils and cause oxidation, which in turn forms deposits, varnish, and increases wear.
* Low oil temperatures will cause formation of sludge, which can block oil passages.
* Very low temperatures of -40F will make oil too thick to flow.
For dependable performance and long-term engine protection in all motor vehicles in all climatic conditions, petroleum oils must be supplemented with expensive additives that prolong the oil service life and reduce the wear to an acceptable level.
What Is Synthetic Oil?
Synthetic motor oil is a laboratory manufactured, custom-designed product that contains a uniform-sized molecular structure and is pure from any of the non-beneficial properties found in conventional petroleum motor oils. Before being introduced to automobiles, synthetic oils were first used in fighter jets. Synthetic oils were first introduced to the consumer market in 1972 and have grown in popularity because of the superiority in protecting today's high performance engines.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Synthetic Oil?
Quite simply, the biggest disadvantage of synthetic oil is price. With a manufacturing process that is much more involved, synthetic motor oil costs nearly four times the price of petroleum-based motor oil. This means an oil change that would typically cost $20, could cost nearly $80. However, since synthetics are more durable, oil changes are not needed as often, and this fact partially negates the cost disadvantage of synthetics.
Which is Better?
Every year motor oil companies spend millions promoting their product; the majority of them petroleum motor oils. Although petroleum motor oil will provide adequate protection, there are some reasons why synthetic motor oil may be the better choice when it comes to protection for your engine. Why settle for adequate protection? Synthetic motor oils have clear advantages. Let us look at some of these advantages.
Longer Oil Change Intervals
Unlike petroleum motor oil, which must be changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, synthetic motor oil can go 6,000 to 10,000 miles between oil changes. Longer oil change intervals, means fewer trips to the lube shop or time spent underneath your truck.
Better For The Environment
Because synthetic motor oil lasts about three times longer than petroleum motor oil, change intervals are significantly longer. Fewer oil changes reduce the waste-disposal problem that comes with changing your oil, which leads to a healthier, greener planet for all of us.
Higher Resistance To Breakdown
Petroleum motor oils are prone to boil or vaporize within the normal operating temperature of the engine. This is commonly referred to as breakdown. Once the oil begins to breakdown, it usually results in oxidation, creating hardened oil deposits -more commonly know as sludge- in your engines components. Synthetics by contrast, are able to withstand greater heat temperatures, resulting in greater protection against breakdown.
More Cost Effective
A typical oil change using petroleum motor oil may cost anywhere from $25 to $30 at your local oil change shop. Using synthetic motor oil will cost you approximately $75 per oil change. While synthetic motor oil may cost you more per quart, it will save you money in the long run because of longer oil change intervals.