Mobil 1 Shares The Truth About Synthetic Motor Oils
Today, more than 30 years after Mobil 1 was introduced as the first synthetic motor oil for the automotive market, there is still a great deal of confusion among drivers about the benefits and use of synthetic motor oils compared to conventional, mineral-based oils.
Below, Kevin Chinn, an engine oil technical advisor, based at ExxonMobil’s Global Research & Engineering Center in Paulsboro, NJ, describes the differences between fully synthetic oils and conventional oils. He also sets the record straight on many long perpetuated myths about synthetic lubricants, helping drivers clearly understand the true economical and performance advantages that using synthetic oils can deliver.
Q1: If I use conventional motor oils, can I switch to synthetic oils? And, if I start to use a synthetic, can I switch back to using a conventional?
High performance synthetic motor oils like Mobil 1 are fully compatible with conventional motor oils. Thus, you can switch to or from a synthetic or conventional at any time in the ownership of your vehicle.
Q2: Do synthetic motor oils cause seals/engines to leak?
Chinn: Not at all. Synthetic motor oils do not cause engine oil leaks.
Typically, the cause of engine leaks is the condition of engine seals and gaskets. Common reasons for potential oil leaks include deteriorated and hardened seals and gasket materials.
Synthetic motor oils like Mobil 1 fully synthetic motor oil are completely compatible with elastomeric materials from which all automotive seals and gaskets are made. In the case of Mobil 1, we carry out testing based on numerous industry specifications to actively ensure effective seal compatibility. And, in fact, Mobil 1 contains a seal conditioner to help recondition seals and prevent leaks.
Q3: Will using synthetic motor oil void my vehicle’s warranty?
Chinn: Absolutely not.
Today, most of the world's leading automotive manufacturers recognize the benefits of synthetic motor oils and add synthetic oils to the engines of vehicles coming off their assembly lines.
Mobil 1 is chosen by more vehicle manufacturers than any other brand of oil in the world, and, it is recommended for all types of cars, trucks and SUV’s.
As with any vehicle lubricant, when selecting a synthetic motor oil for your car make sure it meets the viscosity and performance requirements outlined in your owner's manual and you will not compromise the warranty.
Q4: Do you need to allow a break-in period for a new vehicle with conventional oil before using synthetic motor oil?
Chinn: This is a common myth. But the truth is; no break-in period is required.
Synthetic motor oils can be used in new vehicles starting at any time. In fact, most of the world's leading automotive manufacturers recognize the benefits of synthetic motor oils like Mobil 1 fully synthetic motor oil and use synthetic oils to fill the engines of vehicles coming off their assembly lines.
Q5: Are synthetic motor oils only necessary for high performance vehicles or for extreme temperatures?
Chinn: Synthetic motor oils are ideal for any type of vehicle or any type of climate and temperature.
When it comes to extreme conditions, high performance synthetic motor oils, such as Mobil 1, offer significant performance benefits over conventional, mineral-based lubricants. These advantages include:
- Superior protection at low temperatures, enabling easier and faster start-ups in cold weather. For instance, Mobil 1 is designed to withstand temperatures as low as -51°C (-60 °F)
- Enhanced high-temperature durability, reducing oxidation and wear on critical engine parts. Again, Mobil 1 is designed to withstand temperatures up to 204°C (400°F)
By comparison, conventional motor oils do not deliver the same performance value as synthetic motor oils. For example, on the low end of the temperature scale, most conventional oils will begin to thicken up at 0° C (32° F). On the high-end, conventional oils will begin to breakdown rapidly when engine temperatures exceed 66° C (150° F).
Q6: Do synthetic motor oils cause cars to use more oil?
Chinn: No; the opposite is true. Using a high performance synthetic motor oil in a mechanically sound engine, can actually help lower oil consumption.
Q7: Are synthetic oils uneconomical compared with conventional oils because of their higher prices?
Chinn: While synthetic oils do cost more than conventional, these motor oils deliver significant performance and economic advantages, including enhanced engine and wear protection, better startups in cold temperature, and superior oxidation resistance, compared to conventional oils.
Furthermore, high performance synthetic lubricants, such as Mobil 1 Extended Performance, are designed to provide exceptional protection over extended drain intervals, even up to 15,000 miles.
Because synthetic motor oils are provide enhanced engine protection over longer periods of time when compared to conventional oils, using a high performance synthetic oil, such as Mobil 1, can actually help drivers reduce the amount of oil and oil changes they need to purchase during their vehicles’ lifetime.
Q8: Do synthetic motor oils produce sludge?
Chinn: No. The truth is that synthetic motor oils are actually more sludge-resistant than conventional mineral-based motor oils. Synthetic motor oils alsoo withstand the effects of high temperatures and oxidation better than conventional motor oils.
Q9: Do I need to flush my engine before switching to Mobil 1?
Chinn: No special preparation is necessary when switching from conventional motor oil to a high performance synthetic, such as Mobil 1
Q10: Are synthetic motor oils more environmentally friendly?
Chinn: High performance synthetic motor oils, such as Mobil 1, are designed to provide exceptional protection over extended drain intervals, even up to 15,000 miles.
Because they are capable of delivering proven performance and engine protection over longer periods of time when compared to conventional oils, using a high performance synthetic oil, such as Mobil 1, can actually help drivers extend their time between oil drain intervals and thus, reduce overall used oil waste. It is recommended that drivers refer to, and follow, their owners’ manual to find out their car manufacturers exact recommended oil drain intervals.
Q11: Are synthetic oils suitable for old cars?
Chinn: Absolutely. Whether your car is new or old, using a high performance synthetic motor oil like Mobil 1 can help you enhance the protection and performance of your car's engine.
As long as the engine is in good mechanical condition, you should reap all the benefits of using a synthetic motor oil that you would experience in a new car. In fact, switching a car from mineral oil to Mobil 1 at higher mileage can help reduce engine sludge and other harmful deposits that may have accumulated over the years.
Q12: How do synthetic oils differ from conventional oils (technical differences, performance / function etc)?
Chinn: Conventional, mineral oils are refined from crude oil that has been pumped from the ground. While petroleum refining is an advanced science, contaminants, such as sulfur, reactive hydrocarbons and other undesirable materials, can never be completely removed, and therefore end up in the base stocks that are used as the foundation for conventional motor oil.
By comparison, fully synthetic motor oils, such as Mobil 1, are formulated using high-performance synthetic base oils, which are produced either through a chemical reaction called "synthesis," severe refining, or other complex chemical processes that yield a molecular uniformity and degree of purity that is impossible to achieve through normal refining processes.
With more consistency in the size and shape of the molecules, synthetic oils are better able to withstand extreme conditions compared to conventional oils. Conventional oils, due to their less stable molecule structure, can break down more quickly when subjected to extreme heat, resulting in harmful deposits and sludge.
Q13: If my motor oil turns black, does that mean it's time to change the oil?
Chinn: This is a myth we hear a lot. But the truth is the color of an oil has absolutely no bearing on its lubrication ability. Nor does it automatically signal that you need an immediate oil change.
In fact, many oils will turn black in the first few hours of operation due to contaminants generated by the combustion process and soot particles. The engine combustion process produces soot and other byproducts that then can spread throughout the oil, resulting in the oil having a dark, almost black color.
For cars that are in good condition, the resulting black color typically means that the oil is doing its job, cleaning out soot and other byproducts of engine combustion.
In addition, some additives used in modern oils can produce a dark color over time and this is normal
It is best to change your oil based on time in months or miles. To find the optimum oil drain interval, refer to your owners’ manual to get the vehicle manufacturers’ recommended oil drain interval.
For first time Mobil1 users, it may be possible that the black color of the oil indicates that the strong additive package formulated into Mobil 1 is actively removing deposits from the engine.
creative commons "Old Car" photo courtesy kb35 at flickr.com
Connect with AskPatty on:
Subscribe to our RSS Feed: http://feeds2.feedburner.com/AskPattyBlog