Motor oil has come a long way since the early days of automobiles. Today, motor oil is a complex formula that contains far more than base oils. The modern motor oil is full of pour enhancers, elemental lubricants, acid-neutralizing agents, seal rejuvenators, and other compounds to reduce volatility and ash.
In fact, the modern automotive motor oil is only about 70 percent base oils and 30 percent additives. And an inferior base oil can be more desirable than premium base oils in some applications. Let’s consider the different types of motor oils below.
Full Synthetic Motor Oils
A true full synthetic motor oil is not derived from mineral crude oils. It is completely manufactured in a lab-like environment rather than distilled and purified from a crude oil base. A true full synthetic oil; like Elf, Royal Purple, or Mobil 1; can make your engine run forever without incurring any measurable wear.
Because traditional motor oils contain paraffin waxes and a hodgepodge of different organic molecules, they tend to concentrate heat in spots and sludge up engines with wax and carbon.
A full synthetic oil evenly distributes the heat because it is consistent and pure at a molecular level. It is also free of paraffin waxes and, instead, offers detergents that can clean up an engine. We recommend full synthetic here at our Same Day Oil change service.
Semi-Synthetic Motor Oils
Semi-Synthetic motor oil may be derived from crude base oils and refined with synthetic additives. The synthetic additive package can do wonders to transform the dynamic properties of the motor oil. However, because it still contains mineral oils, it can, likewise, develop hotspots and build up paraffin waxes and carbon deposits.
Some semi-synthetic blends really make up for their impurities with a heavy-duty synthetic additive package that takes advantage of the impurities to simply aid in self-sealing internal leaks and absorbing combustion products better than a full synthetic.
Conventional Motor Oils
Conventional motor oils contain a crude blend of paraffin waxes, impurities, and break down much faster than synthetic oils. They are cheaper than synthetics but have to be changed with increased frequency to protect the engine. Their performance dynamics are more heavily affected by weather and duty cycles than synthetics.
The impurities and inconsistencies of these motor oils can make them undesirable for high-performance and extended use applications. When you consider the benefits of using a full synthetic, it is hard to understand why anyone would still want to run a conventional oil. You absolutely cannot run these oils in turbocharged engines because they simply can’t handle the heat and will sludge up and coke oil cooler lines and oil sump pickup screens.