Editor’s Note: Each week, Waikem Fixed Ops Director David Sams gives you his service tips of the week. This week David teaches you about Synthetic Oils. Visit our service department to learn more about the Waikem Auto Family.
Service Tip of the Week: Synthetic Oil FAQ
I hear a lot about synthetic oil. Is it what I should use? Is it worth the extra expense?
Synthetic oil has several applications. Those include high heat and high load conditions. Several categories of oil configurations exist.
• Full Synthetic Oil –
o From organic base stock
o From non-organic base stock
• Semi-synthetic oil – Blends of traditional oil with synthetic stock
• Non-synthetic oil
First you should check your owner’s manual for the proper usage of synthetic oil. Some manuals state synthetic ecommended (but not required). Others state synthetic is required.
Full Synthetic Oil – The benefits of a full synthetic oil are varied. The following are some of the benefits.
• Maintains the designed thickness and protection in very low and very high temperatures
• Is more stable in protective qualities in various conditions
• Has better chemical stability and shear strength
• Less loss to evaporation
• Reduces oxidation, high heat breakdown and helps prevent oil sludge problems
• May lead to extended oil change intervals which is better for the environment
• May help improve fuel economy in some engine configurations
• Better lubrication in cold engine starts
• May help extend engine life
• Helps prevent “ash” and other deposit formation in engine hot spots (like in turbochargers and
superchargers) which could cause clogging of oil portals and a loss of lubrication
• Increased horsepower and torque due to less initial drag on the engine
• Improved fuel economy has been documented in several fleets
A disadvantage in that it is more expensive than mineral oil.
Semi-Synthetic oil – is a blend of traditional mineral based oil and synthetic oil (up to 30% synthetic).
They have been designed to provide many of the benefits of synthetic oil but do not match the cost of pure synthetic oil.
Mineral Based Oil – Highly refined oils are used today to provide the most reasonable pricing for most owners. The oils are manufactured to provide the best protection and performance as required by the various manufacturers.
The short answer is that your manufacturer has spelled out what is best to keep your vehicle operating in peak operation and efficiency. You may use any of the three configurations on vehicles that are not designed for full synthetic. You must use full synthetic for vehicles that are designed for that product. Switching to a full synthetic on a high mileage vehicle is not advisable as seals and gaskets may start leaking due to the
tremendous cleaning properties of synthetic oil. There are high mileage oils available on the market that would better fit that application. Whatever you choose, be regular with your maintenance to get the old dirty oil out and fresh clean oil in. That will provide the best wear characteristic and longest life for your engine.
I wish you many miles of happy motoring!