THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MINERAL AND A SYNTHETIC OIL
As the most important fluid for a motor vehicle, engine oil lubricates engine components and reduce friction. It contains thin layers that can prevent metal-to-metal contact, protecting the components from scratches or wear. Engine oil also acts as coolant and prevents the engine from overheating.
As a vehicle owner, you may be aware that there are two types of oil in the market, namely mineral and synthetic. Find out how they are different below.
What is a mineral oil?
Mineral oils are directly derived from refined crude petroleum oil. During the process, natural contaminants and unwanted hydrocarbons are removed.
Mineral oils are commonly used for older vehicle models that use older technologies. Their molecular structures are not as good as synthetic oils, because mineral oils flow slowly through the engine circuit – resulting in increased fuel consumption and will impact vehicle’s performance.
Mineral oils also demand more frequent changes compared to synthetic. However, you should use a mineral oil if recommended by your automotive manufacturer, as mineral oils can still provide high-quality lubrication – even more than synthetic.
What is a synthetic oil?
Synthetic oils are becoming widely popular in the market for their superior protection and the boost of performance it lends to vehicles. Synthetic oils are chemically modified with additives and have less impurities, making them less thick than mineral oils.
Synthetic oils are used for many modern vehicle engines. They protect engines from wear, oxidation, and corrosion and have dispersant properties.
There are other benefits of synthetic oils: excellent flow at low temperatures, stable viscosity even at high temperatures, do not require frequent changes, less formation of deposits, less wear on parts, optimised fuel consumption, exceptional engine protection, and longer use cycle.
There is one other oil type: semi-synthetic oils, the mixture of fully synthetic and mineral oils. A semi-synthetic oil is more expensive than a mineral oil, although more economical than a fully synthetic product.
Semi-synthetic oils also offer the same protection features as fully synthetic, such as increased engine performance, excellent parts protection, and optimised performance. Nevertheless, at a lower price point, semi-synthetic oils are less powerful than fully synthetic oils.
Compared to mineral oils, semi-synthetic oils are thinner and more durable. They are also suitable for modern engines and are often preferred as the economical alternative to fully synthetic oils for engines that cannot use mineral-based oils. However, before choosing from any of these types, always consult your manufacturer’s recommendation.