Synthetic Motor Oil

Written by Rachel Arieff
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Synthetic motor oil can vary widely, and along with it, so can the performance of your vehicle. There are many manufacturers of motor oil, but though there are many, not all are equal. Smart vehicle owners make sure keep informed as to which synthetic motor oil will deliver the best performance.

First of all, though, for those who aren't familiar with motor oil, a little tutorial may be in order. What is the difference between synthetic motor oil and non-synthetic motor oil? Basically, it's the difference between synthetic oils and refined, or mineral oils.

Why Lubrication Is Essential to Mechanical Systems

All mechanical systems--engines and transmissions, for example--are made up of many moving parts. When these parts come into contact with one another, they must be able to move smoothly, with minimal friction. Friction causes decreased fuel efficiency, overheating, and damage to these moving parts.

This is why some kind of lubricant is essential to all mechanical systems. The more efficiently these hundreds of moving parts move, the better the overall performance of the entire mechanical system. Without this crucial element, the system will perform poorly, wear down, and eventually destroy itself.

Motor Oil Basics

In the case of an engine, transmissions and other vehicular systems, the conventional lubricant is refined petroleum. Petroleum is refined from its crude state by separating it into light and heavy molecules, making it easier to run in machines than crude oil. Today, refined oil remains the cheapest type of lubricant to manufacture.

However, there are major problems with refined petroleum. Though the refining process can separate the oil by heaviness, it can't distinguish amongst the widely different molecular shapes typical of mineral oils. The irregularity of molecular shapes causes wear and tear on an engine, hindering its overall performance and decreasing the life of its parts.

Synthetic Motor Oil Today

The quest, then, has been to improve on this motor oil. In the past thirty or so years, synthetic motor oil has been invented from a chemical, not mineral, process to create molecules that are completely uniform in size, weight and shape. This new type of motor oil proved to be far easier on engines, enabling them to perform like never before, and in new applications formerly not possible with conventional motor oils.

The best synthetic motor oils surely deliver better performance, but in these complex times, there are more concerns than just this issue. Today, motor oils must also offer greater fuel efficiency and less damage to the environment. Manufacturers of these high-quality, high-tech industrial lubricants include Amsoil, among others.

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