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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

What is it and what does it really mean?

The Oxford Dictionary says:
“made by synthesis; manufactured as opposed to produced naturally”

When it comes to oil we think of synthetics as the best that we can buy and that all synthetics are the same but, it’s not so simple.

Synthetic oils are not all the same, some are manmade in laboratories with uniform sized molecules and represent the finest quality that money can buy; others are merely highly refined mineral oils also known as hydrocracked oils.

So, some synthetics are not really synthetics at all in the true sense of the word and certainly not from a chemists point of view. Granted, these highly refined mineral oils have some advantages over less refined mineral oils but they do cost more.

Why are highly refined mineral oils called synthetic and is this legal when they are not really synthetic in the true sense of the word?

A legal battle took place in the USA some years ago and the final ruling was that certain mineral fractions that had undergone extra chemical treatments could be called “synthetic”.

The Marketing Executives were delighted as they realised that “synthetic” could be printed on a can of cheap oil provided that the contents included this specially processed mineral oil which cost a fraction of the price to produce than real synthetics. The profit implications where fairly exciting too!

So how does this affect the average motorist with a standard road going car or bike?

Very little other than you may be paying for something that is not quite what you think it is. Quality-wise it will still be better than that old 20w-50 dino oil in the back of the garage that cost next to nothing.

The economics are pretty simple too. If you like the look of well-marketed can with “synthetic” printed on it that does not cost you a lot, you now know why this is the case.

But, if you have a high performance, modified or track car/bike and you want to keep it in the best condition then you need the real thing as it offers the highest levels of protection. It will cost you more but then it’s still cheap against the cost of an engine failure!

The Opie Oils Team.
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