Synthetic Lubricants

Synthetic lubricants are oils made up mostly, or even entirely, from chemical compounds, instead of naturally occurring ones. In cars, they’re used in exactly the same way as oil is, that is, to lubricate your engine. There are a bevy of advantages and disadvantages to synthetic lubricants over natural oils, but in general, synthetics are just more effective – they’re tailor made for cars. This shows up in a variety of ways. It’s possible to replace regular oil with synthetic oil, an engine doesn’t need t be made for one or the other. They have different characteristics, so there might be reason to do just that.

First, for the advantages: synthetic lubricants are usually more fluid. That’s not to be mistaken for being “thinner,” as some fear. There are federally mandated levels of viscosity (thickness) that synthetic oils have to reach in order to be sold as car lubricants. However, because they are more fluid, they cause less stress on the engine. Also, they generally handle hot and cold temperature fluctuations better than natural, petroleum-based oils. To be more specific, they maintain their viscosity better under fluctuating or extreme temperatures. This will also let synthetic oils lubricate better from cold starts.

On top of that, you’re less likely to lose oil because of evaporation, because synthetic oils contain less water. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to change your oil less often, but it will help you deal with that, as well as help if their some fault in your engine or oil tank that would cause the oil to evaporate. Along the same, synthetic oils are more resistant to oxidation and sludging. In general, synthetic lubrications help the engine run smoother because they run smoother in almost every way compared to petroleum based oil.

On the other hand, there is a reason why people still make and sell petroleum based oil. There are some pretty serious disadvantages that synthetic oils have which could make natural oil a better choice in specific situations. For example, the friction that natural oil creates within the engine might not be good for most engines, but when you’re trying to break in an engine, that friction can actually be a very good thing. Other than that, most of natural oil’s advantages are for vehicles other than cars. You can still buy natural oils for regular cars, but they just aren’t as good as synthetics.

There are a number of different kinds of synthetic lubricants, and they can be made of a number of different things. There is no one magic ingredient in any synthetic oils that can make one definitely better than the other. All oils present a different mixture of ingredients, and which mixture works best for you will invariably depend upon the make and model of your car. Most of them can even be mixed with natural oil. There are even semi-synthetic oils that are sold, although in general you shouldn’t mix the two in the same tank.

The important thing to remember is that synthetic oils, in general, are much better than natural oils for your car’s performance. They react better to different temperatures, they keep the engine cleaner, they last longer, they don’t evaporate or turn to sludge as easily, they improve performance, and they can improve the overall life and durability of your car’s engine. Pretty much, unless you’re breaking in a new engine, there is absolutely no reason to use natural oils in an engine. The only thing that can possibly happen is that you harm your engine in a variety of ways. Natural oils can be less expensive, but that’s really no reason not to save your engine from the inevitable wear and tear that they can inflict.

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