Engine oil is the key lubricant used in car engines, and it helps them maintain optimum performance while keeping them clean and protected from wear and tear, contaminants and corrosives. Read on as we take an in-depth look at the three different types of oils a car engine can use.
Mineral engine oil
Mineral engine oil is the crudest form of engine oil available to buy and is commonly considered as the foundation of today’s modern engine oils. Essentially, mineral oil is refined petroleum oils that are treated to function under varying temperatures. Today, mineral oil is mainly used in older motorcycles and vehicles.
The main problem with mineral oil is the fact that it offers minimal protection and lubrication against heat from friction. Additionally, it performs inefficiently under colder temperatures and is susceptible to degrading under high-temperature conditions. The one stand-out benefit of mineral oil is that it is by far the cheapest option available; however, this is often negated, as it requires far more frequent change intervals than other engine oil types.
Full synthetic engine oil
Full synthetic oil offers outstanding protection and facilitates greater fuel efficiency levels.
These man-made engine oils undergo extensive treatment and processing in laboratories. The in-depth process breaks down a mineral oil to its molecular level. This helps manufacturers remove any existing impurities to an exceptionally high degree to produce a highly refined product. In terms of shape and size, the individual molecules of synthetic engine oil are highly consistent, allowing them to deliver a superior standard of lubrication. As a result, these specially formulated synthetic oils are designed to functions at optimum under both high or low temperatures, and under extraordinary levels of stress.
However, due to the painstaking scientific processes involved in producing synthetic engine oil, it is the most expensive product to purchase.
Semi-synthetic engine oil
Finally, semi-synthetic oil provides the performance levels of synthetic engine oils with the cost-effectiveness of mineral engine oils. It can provide as much as three times the amount of protection a mineral oil offers.
Semi-synthetic oil is sometimes referred to as synthetic blend engine oil. It involves a small amount of synthetic oil being mixed with mineral oil. This boosts the mineral oil’s properties without increasing the price by much. Adding synthetic oil offers many benefits, improving wear resistance under stress and higher temperatures and enhancing viscosity. Semi-synthetic oils also offer higher performance levels at lower temperatures in comparison to mineral oils.
All three oils offer their own advantages, and talking to a lubricant procurement specialist can help you to determine the right choice for you.