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Regular vs. Synthetic Oil

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What’s the Difference Between Regular and Synthetic Oil?

As a vehicle owner, you will understand that oil is the lifeblood of an engine. You know that you should pay close attention to this lubricant if you want to avoid issues and keep your car or truck running smoothly. Consequently, you also know that you should schedule a regular service and get in touch with an experienced company like Beachwheels to carry out the work. However, should you settle for regular oil or the synthetic alternative?

What’s the Major Difference Between These Two Lubricants?

With the naked eye, you wouldn’t be able to tell conventional and synthetic oil apart. Essentially, the distinction is in the way that the product is made, with regular motor oil being entirely petroleum-based and synthetic being made with artificially created chemical compounds.

Is Synthetic Oil New?

Although many people think synthetic oil is a new innovation, it can be traced back to the First World War. At that time, conventional oil was highly regulated in an attempt to deprive the enemy forces, forcing them to rely on synthetic oil instead. The product was given further attention during the energy crisis of the 1970s, when artificial oils were developed to try and improve fuel economy.

What Are Synthetic Oils Used for?

Synthetic oils are often used as a substitute for the traditional solution, as they are more able to deal with extreme temperatures. For example, they’re almost always found in aircraft jet engines and are typically chosen for competition cars and other high-performance vehicles.

Nevertheless, many car manufacturers recommend that buyers use synthetic oil whenever they present their vehicle for service. In doing so, they could not only help to protect the car when it is operating under peak stress but may be able to improve fuel efficiency as well.

What’s the Construction Process?

Synthetic oils are still petroleum-based products. They are created with “base” oils that are far more refined and of higher quality than conventional products. Consequently, these oils are less likely to oxidise or acidify. As they are far more chemically stable, they may not break down as easily under high temperatures, thereby losing those desirable protective qualities.

Conventional motor oil tends to be much thicker when it is cold and during engine start-up. That oil would then become relatively thin at high temperatures, which may partly compromise its ability to lubricate and protect. This is why the manufacturers tend to include certain additives that can help to reduce viscosity at low temperatures and make the oil thicker when it gets hotter. This makes conventional oil a much better product and almost as efficient as its synthetic counterpart when new. However, those additives will still begin to break down or vaporise as time goes by, so the conventional oil may return to its natural consistency.

Why Does Synthetic Oil Tend to Be Superior?

Synthetic oils are considered to be superior because they are designed for high performance from the outset. In other words, they do not need protective additives and will not degrade or lose any viscosity with time.

Synthetic oils may also have additional advantages over standard oil. During construction, manufacturers can remove many of the impurities that are found in crude oil. They can customise the formulas, although they rarely reveal the processes used. There is a lot of competition in this marketplace, and an individual innovation here or there can make a lot of difference to product performance and reputation.

When Should You Change Your Synthetic Oil?

Due to their construction, synthetic oils may well last longer than the conventional product. This means that you may be able to extend the interval between oil changes, but you should always consult with your mechanic and reference the manufacturer’s recommendations first. In this case, much will depend on your driving style, how often you use the vehicle, or if you often tow a heavy trailer.

You may need to pay more attention to those oil changes if you tend to drive short distances and without any extended motoring. In other words, if you only use a vehicle to commute to work, the engine may not heat up to a temperature high enough to boil off any accumulated condensation. When this happens, the condensation may interfere with oil performance and make the lubricant break up more quickly than otherwise. This means that you may need to change the oil more frequently, just in case.

Scheduling Your Oil Changes

Now that you know the oil differences, talk with your mechanic when you present your vehicle for a service. You’ll be given information about the types of oil available, so you can choose accordingly and help to protect your vehicle in the long run. Get in touch with Beachwheels to schedule an appointment today.