Why Is Synthetic Oil Better?

by Richard Rowe

Even though synthetic oil costs two to three times more than regular dino-juice, it's manufacturer's claim that its benefits outweigh the cost. That assertion seems borne out by independent testing and customers alike.


Regular oil is refined from petroleum, meaning that its producers remove the components they don't like. Synthetic oil is made by combining base stocks of pure chemicals, so it contains very little or no contaminants.


Because it does not contain contaminants like paraffin wax and loose carbon molecules, synthetic oil is all but incapable of producing engine sludge.


Synthetic's cost is largely off-set by the fact that it usually lasts two to three times longer than regular oil under the same conditions.


Because synthetic oil is "slipperier" (has better lubricity) than conventional oil, you can use a lighter weight oil that decreases internal engine resistance (parasitic drag). Reduced parasitic drag equals more horsepower, torque and better fuel economy.

Fun Facts

"Full Synthetic" oil only contains about 5 to 8 percent of actual synthetic base stock; the rest is machine-grade mineral oil. A quart of truly synthetic oil like Pennzane would run you about $400, which is why it's only used in aerospace and precision machine applications.

About the Author

Richard Rowe has been writing professionally since 2007, specializing in automotive topics. He has worked as a tractor-trailer driver and mechanic, a rigger at a fire engine factory and as a race-car driver and builder. Rowe studied engineering, philosophy and American literature at Central Florida Community College.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Isolated red sports car on a white background with reflex image by Joel Calheiros from Fotolia.com