What synthetic oil is best?

Written by nicole crawford
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What synthetic oil is best?
Synthetic oil may increase the life of your car's engine. ("custom paint-job" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Diego Cupolo (Diego Cupolo) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

According to the article "Synthetics: The Auto Industry's Best Kept Secret" at Performanceoiltechnology.com, synthetic oil has been around since World War II. Formulas have been tested and retested through the years, and there are currently several synthetic motor oils on the market. Choosing the best synthetic oil may lengthen the life of your vehicle's motor and save on gas mileage.

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Synthetic vs. Conventional Motor Oil

Synthetic oil takes the best molecules from natural mineral oil and combines them to form a stronger and more dependable product. Synthetic oil is superior to conventional oil in many ways. According to Bestcovery.com, synthetic oil is easier on vehicle motors, has a longer life than conventional oil, and may even improve gas mileage. Synthetic oil also provides much better resistance to high operating temperatures. Unfortunately, synthetic oil is often more expensive than conventional oil, but in many circumstances (like in high-mileage vehicles, for example), synthetic oil is definitely worth the extra cost.

Quality-Determining Factors

The quality of any given synthetic oil is measured by weighing various factors. Smartsynthetics.com lists some of the considerations involved in weighing motor oil quality, including Thin-Film Oxygen uptake (or "oxidation stability"), severe temperature testing and amount of oil lost in evaporation (or NOACK Volatility), to name just a few. When buying a synthetic oil, be sure to consider which is best for your vehicle. Of course, another factor to consider when purchasing synthetic motor oil is the price.

Amsoil Synthetic Oils

A leading brand in synthetic oils is Amsoil. According to their website, Amsoil was the first synthetic oil brand to receive a 100 per cent rating from the American Petroleum Institute (API). Bestcovery.com rated Amsoil second on its top three list of best synthetic oils. Amsoil has a long life and is very heat-resistant. Amsoil runs on the more expensive end of synthetic oil varieties, so be prepared to pay significantly more than you would on conventional oil.

Pennzoil Synthetic Oils

For those who would like to give synthetic oil a try, but might not want to spend an arm and a leg, Pennzoil is a great option. Not only is it affordable, Pennzoil has also proven to be a reliable synthetic oil over the years. While it may not boast the highest API scores, Pennzoil is a mid- to high-range synthetic that is easy to find in stores and has been proven to keep engines clean and performing well in high-heat conditions. Bestcovery.com rated Pennzoil first on its top three list, due to both its quality and affordability. For best results, go with Pennzoil Platinum. A quart of Amsoil costs £6.80; the same amount of Pennzoil Platinum runs around £4.2.

Mobil 1 Synthetic Oil

Mobil 1 is a very popular synthetic oil; in fact, its website advertises it as, "the world's leading synthetic motor oil." Mobil 1 is a bit pricey, but not quite as much as brands like Amsoil. Most car manufacturers use Mobil 1 in their factories, according to Bestcovery.com, which ranked Mobil 1 third on its top three list. In API test results, listed at Smartsynthetics.com, Mobil 1 was head-to-head with Amsoil in almost every category. Mobil 1 will provide superior protection for your vehicle's motor, as well as excellent fuel efficiency. Based on a quick web price comparison, a quart of Mobil 1 runs around £5.2, midway between Pennzoil Platinum and Amsoil.

Other Brands to Consider

These are only three of the best synthetic motor oils on the market. Other high-quality motor oil brands include Quaker State, Castrol and Valvoline. In general, synthetic oil can be mixed with conventional oil, but if you are unsure, ask an expert before combining the two.

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