What is in synthetic oil?

By Product Expert | Posted in FAQs, Just for Fun on Friday, August 16th, 2019 at 8:40 pm
Synthetic oil pours from a grey bottle onto some machinery.

The Ingredients That Make Up Synthetic Oil

You’ve probably heard a lot about synthetic oil; these days, more and more vehicles are recommending it. Synthetic oil is a more effective form of engine lubricant that boasts improved viscosity performance under extreme temperatures, resists oxidization and thermal breakdown, and avoids the occasional sludge issue. But what is actually in synthetic oil?


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A tall grey bottle of oil stands upright with a red cap.Synthetic oil consists of artificially made chemical compounds alongside chemically modified petroleum components. The base material is crude oil, which is then distilled and modified both physically and chemically.

This distillation process refines the crude oil, extracting many impurities and “customizing” the individual molecules to work optimally with modern machinery. This chemical engineering causes the molecules to come out largely uniform in shape, with fewer impurities.

Synthetic oil molecules can be thought of as looking like marbles- smooth and uniform- compared to crude oil molecules, with are more analogous to rocks- unique and rough. You can imagine how the former will work better with your engine in the long run. On top of this, synthetic oil is also formulated with higher performing additives.

The actual synthesis process and composition of additives varies among producers of synthetic oil. Each one keeps their exact methods and recipe tightly guarded, as they consider their unique formula a “trade secret” that sets them apart from competitors.

For More Oil-Related Literature, Check Out: Does your car give you warning signs that you need to change the oil?

What are the different types of motor oil?

There are three different types of oil used in machinery: conventional, synthetic-blend, and synthetic. Each one differs due to its unique recipe and creation process.

100% synthetic oil is extracted from crude oil or a byproduct. Those masterminds at Pennzoil have figured out how to extract synthetic oil directly from natural gas. Making synthetic oil from natural gas results in different performance than making it from crude oil like most oil “brewers” tend to do.

Read More: What are the most common causes of car accidents in Texas?

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