The Truth About Cars » full synthetic http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 31 Jul 2015 10:43:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » full synthetic http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: Synthetic Oil’s Historic Race to The Bottom? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/piston-slap-race-bottom/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/piston-slap-race-bottom/#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1093025   TTAC Commentator RS writes: How much Synthetic Oil is actually in Semi-Synthetic Oil?  Why is that info so hard to find? Sajeev answers: Why?  Relevance and (by definition) minutia’s lack of importance. I personally think manufacturers should publish vehicle’s torque curves, drag coefficients, frontal area dimensions and all gear ratios on their websites. Damn near everyone […]

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Group 1, 2, 3, 4… (photo courtesy: forums.swedespeed.com)

TTAC Commentator RS writes:

How much Synthetic Oil is actually in Semi-Synthetic Oil?  Why is that info so hard to find?

Sajeev answers:

Why?  Relevance and (by definition) minutia’s lack of importance.

I personally think manufacturers should publish vehicle’s torque curves, drag coefficients, frontal area dimensions and all gear ratios on their websites. Damn near everyone else couldn’t give two shits about that.

But I digress…there are five groups/classifications of oils in the USA, and the three highest are classified as synthetic.

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(photo courtesy: patentimages.storage.googleapis.com)

Group III is the sticking point for many folks: if this thread has any credibility, here’s why Mobil 1 oil went “down” from a pure synthetic oil. And nobody wants to talk about it!

Mikey100’s quote is a brilliant assessment:

“In the late 1990s, Castrol started selling an oil made from Group III base oil and called it SynTec Full Synthetic. Mobil sued Castrol, asserting that this oil was not synthetic, but simply a highly refined petroleum oil, and therefore it was false advertising to call it synthetic. In 1999, Mobil lost their lawsuit. It was decided that the word “synthetic” was a marketing term and referred to properties, not to production methods or ingredients. Castrol continues to make SynTec out of Group III base oils, that is highly purified oil with most all of the cockroach bits removed.

Shortly after Mobil lost their lawsuit, most oil companies started reformulating their synthetic oils to use Group III base stocks instead of PAOs or diester stocks as their primary component. Most of the “synthetic oil” you can buy today is actually mostly made of this highly-distilled and purified dino-juice called Group III oil. Group III base oils cost about half as much as the synthetics. By using a blend of mostly Group III oils and a smaller amount of “true” synthetics, the oil companies can produce a product that has nearly the same properties as the “true” synthetics, and nearly the same cost as the Group III oil. In fact, Mobil-1 is now primarily made from Group III unconventional base oils, exactly the stuff Mobil was claiming was not really synthetic. The much more expensive traditional synthetics are now available in their pure forms only in more expensive and harder to obtain oils.”

See how the world (the USA, in this case) works? When someone finds the easy way out, it’s a race to the bottom.

But we shouldn’t care: Group III full synthetic oils are pretty much fantastic for the majority of engines on the road. Most cars don’t use or require it, as synthetic blends are now all the rage from the factory. And synthetic blends are not the same as a Group III full synthetic oil. 

Unless you own an M-series BMW or a Ferrari with a mandatory oil brand/weight as per owner’s manual, odds are Group III oil is the best you’ll ever need. Or want. Best and Brightest?

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Hammer Time: What’s In Your Oil? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/hammer-time-whats-in-your-oil/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/hammer-time-whats-in-your-oil/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 11:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=812554 Two hundred thousand miles. It’s a beautiful moment for many a car owner. As for me? Well, I admit that I cheated when I saw that number flash by in my wife’s car back in March. Like many an enthusiast, I had bought it used and was planning on keeping her daily driver for the […]

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moparmuscle

Two hundred thousand miles.

It’s a beautiful moment for many a car owner.

As for me? Well, I admit that I cheated when I saw that number flash by in my wife’s car back in March. Like many an enthusiast, I had bought it used and was planning on keeping her daily driver for the long haul.

The question for me was, “How long would the long haul be?”  Since I buy, fix and sell a lot of vehicles, and have deeply imbibed the fluids of wisdom at the Bob Is The Oil Guy web site, I decided to live my life on the wild side.

I performed an oil analysis.

What I got back was a smorgasbord of technical information, and one pithy summation that went like this.

“STEVE – 200,000 miles? Please! This engine’s still a spring chicken. Metals look great here, so assuming she’s still running well and you’re not having any problems, then there is nothing about this sample that seems troublesome at all. Averages are based on about 7,600 miles on the oil. You could run your oil a bit longer, for sure. The TBN is kind of getting low (it’s down to 1.4 and 1.0 or less is low), but the TBN tends to drop more slowly the more use an oil sees, so it might hang on at this level for a while. The viscosity was fine assuming you used a 5W/20. Try 9k miles.”

I loved the spring chicken part. Boy that made my day. However that whole TBN remark threw me for a loop.

And what in the heck was a TBN in the first place? The BAD number???

Well, that’s when my quest for knowledge became a great big time suck. I went here, and later here. It was that second “here” which truly opened my eyes to what that TBN comment actually meant, and why I probably don’t want to delve any deeper into the inner workings of motor oil.

My engine was great. Case closed.  Barring any unusual events, I was good to go for many more miles. I could extend my oil interval to 9,000 miles from 6,000 miles with a synthetic blend. Or maybe I could do a full 15k with a high performance full-synthetic engineered for longevity.

Mobil 1 EP? Amsoil? Deep Purple? Sorry.

The sad fact is that my wife drives a common-as-kudzu Prius with a light foot, and enough driving distance for the engine to always warm up. The local shop charges $20 for a synthetic blend and a quality filter. My net savings would be maybe $5 if I did it myself once a year with synthetic (her car holds a little less than 4 quarts.)

I spent $25 to figure all this out. So much ado about nothing. It was time to take the thermometer out of the motor oil, and worry about one less thing in my life.

My technical results are highlighted here.  In the world where enthusiasts have to deal with the economics of keeping a car for a long time, an oil analysis can help you answer the uncertainties of a valvetrain’s health. But chances are, if your oil is regularly changed and you use products that are API-certified, there are better ways to spend your money.

If your car quits, chances are it won’t be your oil’s fault.

 

 

 

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