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The History and Benefits of Synthetic Oil

March 19th, 2011

synthetic-oil-change.jpgThe term ’synthetic oil’ sounds like something you wouldn’t want in your car. After all, we’ve been taught that synthetic and artificial are words to avoid in our food, so why not in the care of our automobiles, too? The truth is that synthetic oil can be better for your vehicle when compared to non-synthetic oil, simply because of the additives it contains to provide better lubrication and longer lasting performance.

So what is synthetic oil? It is a mixture of oil and additional chemicals that are not traditionally found in crude oil. Synthesized oil is produced as a way to meet certain needs in lubrication, where processed crude oil would not be enough, or the performance factor would be too low. In fact, synthetic oils are used in just about every aspect of lubrication imaginable, from lubricating hundred ton mining equipment to keeping the family car in great condition.

Germany was the world’s first major producer of synthetic oil during World War II, as the country was low on resources towards the end of the war and needed a way to get more out of its meager supply of crude oil. Germans used their synthetic product to keep factories and vehicles maintained to continue the war effort, while some synthetic oil found its way into the homes of civilians as a source of heat. After the war, the creation of synthetic oil was adopted by most industrialized nations and by the 1960s, it was more common to use a synthetic oil than a non-synthetic oil. Major world powers such as the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Australia all developed their own synthetic oils for use in their respective countries.

Since the technology to create synthetic oil has been perfected over the nearly 70 years it has been in use, there are several clear cut advantages to using synthetic products over non-synthetic. The first and most important benefit is that the addition of artificial ingredients helps to ease the dependence on oil, so we are not requiring nearly as much to run our vehicles and other machinery. Aside from reducing dependence, synthetic oil and its additives also produce less oil sludge, meaning cars and machines that are lubricated with synthetic oil tend to have better performance for a longer period of time.

Major additives to synthetic oil include ingredients to help cars have a better time starting in cold weather. Synthetic oil lubricates engines quicker and more efficiently so it does not take as long to get a vehicle ready in colder weather. This performance boost is just another reason why synthetic oils are more beneficial in their use than their traditional non-synthetic counterparts.

Aside from all the performance and efficiency boosting properties of synthetic oil, it is often cheaper than non-synthetic oil as well. As such, it has become commonplace to see many oils available on shelves in auto supply stores that contain the word synthetic somewhere. There are relatively few benefits in using a naturally produced oil when modified oils do their job much more efficiently.


This article on synthetic oil was supplied by Ashley K. from Constant Content.

Somewhat related article: How Gasoline Is Made from Crude Oil


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