It's pretty amazing when you think about it-all those metal parts spinning away furiously but never making contact. Oil makes it all possible. In addition to serving as a buffer against wear, oil also must cool critical areas at low temperatures, remain stable at high temperatures, and keep internal components clean and free from varnish and corrosive deposits. It's a tall order, and for more than a century petroleum-based mineral oil has been the literal grease between the wheels. But in the last 30 years there has been a steady growth in the use of synthetic oils.
Where Mineral Oil Comes From
Deep within the earth's crust are vast reserves of petroleum crude oil. Over millions of years, the decomposition of plant and animal matter form pressurized pockets of liquid that literally burst to the surface when tapped. Over time, the flow diminishes and must be forced by pumping water beneath the crude to make it accessible. As found, crude oil is far from useful in automotive applications. It contains many impurities that must be removed through a distillation process that separates the crude into gases, fuel liquids, lubricant fractions, and heavier components such as asphalt. Further processing of the lubricant fractions removes and impurities such as phosphorus, sulfur, and metals.
The objective of the refining process is to isolate the desires base oils, also known as mineral oils. The problem is that after conventional refining operations are performed, a wide variety of chemical components remain that can affect the size and structural arrangement of the molecules. As a result, there may be weak links that break down and degrade the ability of the oil film to perform all of the critical tasks within an engine when operating conditions run to extremes. It is true that most commercially available petroleum motor oils are produced to a very high standard of purity, but the fact remains that some unknown/unwanted content is still present unless cost-prohibitive extra steps are taken during the refining process. Because modern production engines are built with closer tolerances and higher operating speeds than ever before and are making more average power per cubic inch, petroleum-based oils have reached a plateau. Now consider the hot rodder, and the unparalleled output of our stroked, nitro used, and roller cammed motors, and the need for maximum oil protection if perhaps greater than ever.
What About Synthetic Oils?
Synthetic lubricants are chemically engineered from pure chemicals rather than refined from crude oil. That gives them significant advantages over refined oils.
Pure- The feedstocks from which synthetic lubricants are made do not contain sulfur, nitrogen or other elements that invite the formation of sludge and other products of lubricant breakdown. Synthetic lubricants can be used in higher temperatures than refined lubricants without breaking down. Their resistance to breakdown also allows them to be used longer than refined lubricants can be used. Lubricated systems stay cleaner and last longer with synthetic lubricants.
Uniform- The feedstocks from which synthetic lubricants are made feature uniform and smooth molecular structures, which ensures low friction as lubricant layers slide across one another. Reduced friction increases energy through-put for greater fuel efficiency and power and reduces heat and wear for longer equipment life.
Molecular uniformity also helps synthetics resist thinning in heat and thickening in cold, which helps them protect better than refined oils over a system's operating temperature range and helps ensure secure sealing.
Field experience has shown that synthetics can give economic benefits when used in place of mineral oils which were working satisfactorily. The benefits falls in five general areas:
· Improved energy efficiency
· Wider operating temperature range
· Increased design ratings
· Reduced maintenance
· Better reliability and safer operation
Designable- Many different kinds of feedstocks may be used to create synthetic lubricants, allowing a synthetic to be designed for virtually for any application. Some feedstocks are ideal for use in extremely cold environments. Others are perfect for use in extreme heat. Some are extremely safe in applications in which refined lubricants pose a fire or explosion hazard. Refined oils simply do not offer the design flexibility synthetics offer.
The design flexibility of synthetics also allows them to be tailored very specifically to the needs of everyday applications, such as automotive engines, commercial equipment or much industrial machinery. That specifically helps ensure long life and peak power, performance and fuel economy from the lubricated system and long lubricant life.
Why are AMSOIL Synthetic Lubricants Best
Synthesized in chemical plants by reacting components to make a product with
the desired properties, synthetic fluids can be virtually anything the chemist
needs them to be. Poly-Alpha-Olefins (PAO) are the most widely used synthetic
industrial lubricants available today. They are similar to prohibitively
expensive super pure parafinic mineral oil but contain no sulfur, no phosphorus,
and no metals. And PAO's consist of identical molecules of pure hydrocarbons
that can withstand high temperatures without decomposing. Having eliminated
mineral oil's greatest weakness-unwanted molecular "hitchhickers"-the consistens
molecular structure of synthetic oil is clearly superior.
So why isn't synthetic oil in every engine, transmission, and differential? Because it costs more to produce. The key ingredients are decene molecules. Decene is a linear molecule with 10 carbons, and it's synthesized by first linking together five molecules of ethylene, each of which contains two carbons. The second synthesis step involves polymerization of the decene. Two or more decene molecules are combined to form short chain-length polymers, and from these, PAOs result. No doubt, it's a capital intensive manufacturing process that unavoidably leads to higher retail prices than cheaper-to-produce mineral oil.
So far we have looked at mineral and synthetic base stock. But that's only half the story. Chemical additives must be introduced to impart new or enhance existing performance characteristics of the base oil to give the resulting lubricant the needed properties to do its job. The ratio of base stock to additives ranges from 75/25 to 85/15 with base stock accounting for the greater volume. Typical additive agents include detergents to reduce the formation of residue, seal conditioners to prevent harm to rubber and synthetic seals while helping to keep them flexible, defoamants to deter the absorbtion of air, anti-wear agents, friction modifiers, dispersants, and antioxidants. Viscosity is determined in large part by the presence of additives called viscosity index improvers. Motor oil changes viscosity as its temperature changes-it's thicker when cold and thinner when hot. Ironically, it needs to act in almost the opposite way. At low temperatures, you'd prefer oil to be thinner so that it flows readily and won't thicken too much or gel in extremely cold weather, reducing protection and making the engine hard to start. Yet at high temperatures the oil must be thick enough to maintain a critical film to prevent metal-to-metal contact. The ideal oil viscosity must strike a balance between low temperature flow and high temperature protection. Multi viscosity oil is formulated so it can safely be used over a wider temperature range than single-grade oil.
Thanks to additives, multi viscosity oil is possible, and in a quart of 10W-30 for example, you have an oil that acts like 10-weight at cold temperatures and a 30-weight at normal operating temperatures. In this universally adopted rating system, a smaller viscosity number indicates a better ability to flow at lower temperatures; a higher viscosity rating number indicates a thicker, harder to displace film at higher temperatures. Without the proper additives, this seeming twist of logic would not be possible.
They're a bunch more expensive, but they're worth it for cars you care about. For your $200 Pinto, stick to the 99-cent stuff.
AMSOIL has excellent products for cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATV's, boats, lawn mowers, tractors, chain saws, weed trimmers, motor homes, or snowmobiles. If it has a motor we have a product for you. No matter if you drive a Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Toyota , Honda or any other vehicle, AMZOIL has the products for your car or truck. The benefits include: maximum protection, better fuel mileage, cooler and cleaner running engines and longer lasting oil to save you time and money!
I am an engineer and AMSOIL dealer and know exactly how AMZOIL synthetic motor oil will improve the performance and longevity of your vehicles and equipment to save you time and money. In addition, AMZOIL products provide increased fuel economy. If you want to use the right oil AMSOIL is for you. AMSOIL motor oil and AMSOIL filters give your motor the best protection possible! Guaranteed! We are here to answer any of your vehicle or lubrication related questions with an accurate and timely answer. Please sign up for our FREE Catalogs! or use our oil filter cross reference to find the filter for your application. We also sell wix filters. Make your next oil AMSOIL! You will never buy another brand.
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Performance Products is an independent AMSOIL dealership and is headquartered in Garfield, Arkansas. We service Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, but can ship to you anywhere in the US! Please contact us with any questions you have. Thank you for your interest!