Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Pros And Cons Of Synthetic Oil

There are many misconceptions when it comes to synthetic motor oil:

1 - It is not as good as traditional oil.
2 - It is too expensive.
3 - There are no added benefits to using synthetic oil,
4 - And so on.

In the early 90's Consumer Reports attempted to resolve some of the misconceptions with a two-year study, which used a fleet of 75 New York City cabs. According to their study they concluded that there was no noticeable advantage using synthetic oil over traditional dino oil. However they noted that taxicabs in New York City do not see many cold starts or long periods of high speed driving. In fact the test was better for typically driving conditions, that being stop-and-go traffic. They concluded that synthetic oil would be most beneficial in cars that are used in extreme driving conditions, such as high temperatures, very low temperatures and long periods of high speed driving. However there are many pros and cons for the traditional driver when it comes to using synthetic motor oil over traditional dino oil. Here are just a few:

1 - With synthetic oil you can benefit from longer oil change intervals.

2 - Synthetic oil may increase the life span of your engine.

3 - When it comes to extreme driving conditions, synthetic oil responds better in high temperatures and very low temperatures.

1 - To benefit from the increased life span, synthetic oil should really be used in the beginning of your engines life. If your engine is already at 100,000 miles, you probably won't see any extended life as the damage from dino oil has already been done.

2 - Currently synthetic oil costs more than traditional dino oil.

3 - New engines require a break-in period, usually about 5,000 miles and because synthetic oil has a higher viscosity it is typically not used in a new engine.

Synthetic oil has been around since the late 1930's when German scientist Dr. Hermann Zornteri invented it. The first synthetic oil was used in German aircraft engines in the Second World War. By the mid 1960's Chevron was the first company to produce a complete range of 100% synthetic oils. Although synthetic oil was used in the aerospace industry for many years it did not become available for automobile engines until the American Petroleum Institute (API) approved the formula. In 1972 Amsoil sold one of the first synthetic oils for cars, which was their 10W-40.

Because today's modern engines are more complex then they were 20 years ago synthetic oil is becoming the number choice for many automobile manufactures. In fact Porsche was the first car manufacturer to factory-fill its engines with synthetic oil. Conventional petroleum based oil, or dino oil as I like to call it, has a tendency to break down faster than synthetic oil does. Because synthetic oil is composed of chemical compounds that are artificially made it is generally superior to traditional dino oil.

Synthetic oil is much better for today's modern engines; even Porsche thinks so, especially in driving conditions with extreme temperatures. Although the current price may be more than conventional dino oil, as more manufactures make the switch to synthetic oil the price is bound to drop. Ultimately it is your choice, unless your owners manual states otherwise.

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