Synthetic oil is nonetheless oil, though it is somewhat man-made. Synthetic oil is made from a base oil, powder additives, and a carrier oil that enforces an even distribution of the additives.
Both synthetic oil and traditional motor oil are made from refining oil. Most synthetics begin with highly refined crude oil, pumped from deep underground. That is the same source as conventional oil. Other synthetic oils use artificially made compounds or a synthetic oil as a base oil. The primary difference between synthetic oil and traditional oil is at the level of refinement.
The base oil falls into one of several “oil grades” from mineral oils extracted from crude (Group I and II) to fully artificial, compound-based oils (Group V). All grades of oil are manufactured with additives that increase performance.
Refinement processes and ingredients also result in scientific control over molecular size and purity. That can lower friction, reduce engine sludge, and increase performance.
The benefits of synthetic oil vs conventional oil:
- Fewer emissions
- Better fuel and oil economy
- Increased engine protection and wear from lower friction
- Longer intervals between oil changes
- Reduced engine drag from greater resistance to thickening
- Oil effectiveness/quality is more predictable and uniform
- Better all-weather protection
- Quicker engine start time
- Helps clean engine sludge and deposits