A synthetic lubricant contains more highly refined base oils than those used in conventional mineral oils, offering excellent protection and performance. Synthetic engine oils offer a variety of benefits that help keep engines running at optimal performance for years. To understand synthetic engine oils, let's look at the origins of engine oils. There are two basic types of lubricants available:
Conventional mineral oils are the traditional lubricants
Synthetic lubricants which are growing in popularity
Both lubricant types are made from crude oil. The difference is that synthetic oils are made from more advanced refining processes and are of a higher purity and quality than conventional mineral oils. This not only removes more impurities, it enables individual molecules in the oil to be tailored to the demands of modern engines. These customised molecules offer higher levels of protection and performance.
What is so good about synthetic lubricants?
The performance of synthetic engine oils is typically more robust, especially in terms of low temperature pumpability and high temperature stability and protection against deposits. These attributes can help towards reduced engine wear, fuel economy potential and long engine life.
Synthetic engine oils have been developed specifically to cope with extreme conditions found within modern engines. They are much more free-flowing than traditional mineral oils. The biggest benefit is greatly increased engine protection. When an engine first starts, a mineral oil takes time to circulate, allowing friction between un-lubricated parts to cause wear. In contrast, a synthetic lubricant starts circulating straight away, protecting every moving part within the engine.
Synthetic engine oils can also help to improve fuel economy. During the warm-up period of a typical truck journey, mineral oils are thicker and move more slowly, making the engine thirstier and less efficient. Synthetics, however, get to work much more quickly, so the engine reaches peak operating efficiency much sooner. Another advantage of synthetics is that they're cleaner – helping to cut engine emissions compared to conventional mineral oils.