People ask all the time “What is the difference between standard oil and synthetic?”
That’s a great question!
Let me start by telling you what synthetic is not. Synthetic oil is *not* really synthetic. All engine oils start with crude oil. The same oil gasoline, diesel and multitude of other products that are created from crude.
There are no corn oils or plant oils or any man made created in a lab custom synthesized oils, in synthetic oil. There are additives, but not synthetic oils.
The word “synthetic” is a total misnomer on the part of oil manufactures.
Synthetic oil is nothing more than standard oil that has been refined a second or third time to ensure that all the oil molecules are the same size.
Lets take a look at standard oil for a minute. If you were to analyze the molecules, they by comparison to each other would have a bunch of different diameters. Sorta like having a basketball sitting next to a golf ball next to a softball next to a marble etc.
What the extra re-refining process does in synthetic oil is to make all the molecule sizes the same diameter so that now all the “balls” roll the same. This process greatly reduces friction and increases engine life and fuel economy.
With the extra refining process that goes into synthetic oil it does cost more but the added benefits might be worth giving it a try even if your car manufacture says you don’t need to use it. A synthetic oil change can cost about two to three times more than a standard oil change.
So why then is it called synthetic?
Well the story I once heard, is back when it was first introduced, the oil manufactures did not want to call it re-refined oil. This had the connotation of the oil being re-refined from old waste oil and resold.
Since all synthetic oils are made from new crude and not old recycled motor oil, the marketing experts decided to use the word synthetic. So now you know.