Despite its name, synthetic oil is actually made from the minerals found in mineral oil but is processed to become a higher performing option for drivers looking to take care of their vehicles. The first synthetic oils were developed as far back as 1929, but I Drive Safely reports oil shortages during World War II and the energy crisis of the 1970s led to their increased popularity. There are different grades of synthetic oils which can be enjoyed by drivers who must make a decision between performance and price when choosing a product.
1. Reducing wear and tear
During the processing of synthetic oils, one of the major changes made to the natural mineral oils blended is there increased uniformity. When the particles of synthetic oil are uniform the product flows more easily through the engine and various parts of the vehicle to reduce friction and wear and tear. The reduction of friction can be of benefit for both new and high-mileage cars which can be susceptible to damage when the irregular particles of non-synthetic mineral oils are used.
2. Longer periods between oil changes
The introduction of synthetic oils made major changes to the frequency of oil changes and services required for vehicles of all ages. When using natural mineral oil, the owner of a vehicle may be required to complete oil changes every 3,000 miles, but not when using synthetic oils. The need to change the oil when using synthetic products is lower than the number of changes required with natural oils and can reach as far as 10,000. Synthetic oil manufacturer, Elf, recommends vehicles using synthetic oils should undergo an oil change between 7,500 and 10,000 miles after the last change.
3. Effective in cold climates
The effectiveness of synthetic oils is far higher than natural mineral oils in cold conditions when natural mineral oils can struggle to cope with shorter distances covered. Synthetic oils do not contain the same amount of impurities and moisture as their natural mineral oil cousins meaning they will not break down as quickly in extreme conditions.
The development of synthetic oils continues and should be an option explored by all drivers, particularly those living in regions where winters and summers offer extremes of temperature. Although synthetic blend oils are more expensive, the majority of drivers believe the lower frequency of changes assists makes up for the higher cost. The increased use of synthetic oils can be of benefit for those who tow large objects and put their engines through extreme situations.