There is a lot of debate about which oil could truly be called the best synthetic motor oil. Asking ten different automobile mechanics can sometimes give you ten different answers to this very question. The main problem with getting an objective answer regarding the quality of a motor oil is that most people base their opinions on subjective experiences instead of scientific testing. This can lead to decisions being made without first possessing all of the facts.
The debate is also clouded by the fact that the definition of what can be sold as a synthetic oil is somewhat convoluted. In order for an oil to be considered synthetic in the United States, it must meet certain viscosity and thermal standards, as well as meet a range of other chemical characteristics. In the late 90’s, it was revealed to the public that many oil companies were choosing to refine petroleum oil to the point where it met these standards instead of starting with a base synthetic stock. This meant that while it was legal for these companies to call their oil ‘synthetic’, it proceeded from a completely different chemistry than traditional synthetic oils which used polyalphaolefin (PAO) as a base. This type of marketing was considered quite deceptive and lead to several lawsuits in between oil cbd manufacturer and appeals to government agencies regarding the validity of claiming non-synthetic base oils as true synthetics. When the dust had cleared, it was ruled that the word ‘synthetic’ was considered nothing more than a marketing term, and that as a result, highly-refined petroleum oil that met the necessary standards could be so labeled.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that your engine doesn’t understand marketing terms, and all it is concerned with regarding oil is protection and performance. In this respect, PAO-based oils still come out on top in several areas. There are still several synthetic oil companies which use PAO-based synthetic oils, and these oils boast much better engine protection in low temperature situations when they are compared to petroleum-based synthetics. Since most of the damage that occurs to an engine happens during cold starts and in low-temperature operation, this is a significant advantage that has led many to claim that PAO-based oil is the best synthetic motor oil.
Whichever type of oil you decide to put in your car, keep in mind that not all synthetics are created equal. While it may be legal for the word synthetic to be displayed on a bottle, in the lab, the differences between brands are quickly revealed.
For over 25 years Vincent Platania has been marketing, consulting and formulating high performance lubricants