Defining “100% Synthetic” & “Full Synthetic” Car or Truck Oil
“100% Synthetic” and “Full Synthetic” are both terms used to describe a type of car oil that is made entirely from synthetic base oils and advanced chemical additives, without any conventional or mineral oil content.
The difference between the two terms is that “100% Synthetic” refers to an oil that is made solely from synthetic base oils and chemical additives, while “Full Synthetic” may contain a blend of synthetic and conventional/mineral oils.
For example, if a car oil is labeled as “100% Synthetic”, it means that it is made entirely from synthetic base oils and advanced chemical additives, such as polyalphaolefins (PAOs) or esters. On the other hand, if an oil is labeled as “Full Synthetic”, it may contain a blend of synthetic and conventional or mineral base oils, along with advanced chemical additives.
In general, 100% Synthetic oils tend to provide better performance, protection, and longevity than Full Synthetic oils or conventional/mineral oils. This is because synthetic base oils and additives are specifically designed to provide superior lubrication and protection, even under extreme conditions such as high temperatures, heavy loads, or long periods of use.
However, it’s important to note that not all 100% Synthetic or Full Synthetic oils are created equal, and the quality and performance of a given oil can vary depending on the specific formulation, brand, and application. It’s always important to consult your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations and choose a high-quality oil that meets or exceeds the required specifications.
How much synthetic in my oil?
The amount of synthetic base oils in your car oil can vary depending on the specific product and brand. If the oil is labeled as “100% Synthetic”, it means that it is made entirely from synthetic base oils and does not contain any conventional or mineral oil. On the other hand, if it is labeled as “Full Synthetic”, it may contain a blend of synthetic and conventional/mineral oils.
To determine the amount of synthetic base oils in a Full Synthetic oil, you can check the product’s specifications or the manufacturer’s website. They may provide information on the percentage of synthetic base oils in the product. However, it’s important to note that the percentage of synthetic base oils alone does not necessarily indicate the overall quality or performance of the oil.
For example, Mobil 1 0W-20 Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil is a popular Full Synthetic oil that contains a blend of synthetic and conventional base oils, along with advanced additives. According to the product specifications, it contains “more than 50% synthetic base oil”. This means that at least half of the oil’s base oil content is synthetic.
Similarly, Royal Purple HMX High Mileage Synthetic Motor Oil is a Full Synthetic oil that is specifically formulated for high mileage engines. According to the product specifications, it contains “a blend of synthetic and premium conventional base oils”. However, the exact percentage of synthetic base oils is not specified.
Full Synthetic oils tend to contain a higher percentage of synthetic base oils than synthetic blends or conventional/mineral oils. However, the exact percentage can vary depending on the product and brand. It’s always important to choose a high-quality oil that meets or exceeds your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations, regardless of the percentage of synthetic base oils.
Are Group 3 Base Oils “Synthetic”?
Group 3 Base Oils are often referred to as “Synthetic” base oils in the lubricant industry, but the use of the term “synthetic” to describe Group 3 oils is a subject of debate.
Group 3 Base Oils are produced by a process called hydrocracking, which involves subjecting conventional mineral oil to high pressure and temperature in the presence of hydrogen and a catalyst. This process removes impurities and produces a base oil with improved performance characteristics compared to conventional mineral oil, such as higher viscosity index, better thermal stability, and improved oxidation resistance.
While Group 3 Base Oils are not made entirely from synthetic compounds like Group 4 (PAO) or Group 5 (Ester) base oils, they are considered to be “synthetic” by many industry standards and regulatory bodies. For example, the American Petroleum Institute (API) defines synthetic base oils as “those that are derived by chemical synthesis and that have a controlled molecular structure”, which includes Group 3 Base Oils produced by hydrocracking.
However, some critics argue that Group 3 Base Oils should not be considered truly “synthetic” because they are derived from conventional mineral oil, which is a non-synthetic compound. They also point out that the hydrocracking process does not produce a base oil with the same level of performance and durability as Group 4 or Group 5 base oils.
Examples of motor oils that use Group 3 Base Oils include Mobil 1 High Mileage and Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil. These oils are marketed as “synthetic” or “full synthetic” despite containing a blend of Group 3 and other synthetic or conventional base oils.
Whether or not Group 3 Base Oils are considered “synthetic” is a matter of semantics and interpretation. What’s more important is the performance and quality of the oil, which can vary depending on the specific formulation and brand. When choosing a motor oil, it’s important to look for a product that meets or exceeds the requirements of your vehicle manufacturer, regardless of the type of base oil used.
What about Synthetic-Blend Motor Oil?
Synthetic-Blend Motor Oil, also known as Semi-Synthetic Motor Oil, is a type of engine oil that contains a mixture of synthetic and conventional mineral base oils, as well as advanced additives.
The exact ratio of synthetic to conventional base oils in a Synthetic-Blend Motor Oil can vary depending on the product and brand. Typically, synthetic blends contain between 10% to 30% synthetic base oils, with the remainder being conventional mineral oil.
The purpose of blending synthetic and conventional base oils is to combine the benefits of both types of oils. Synthetic base oils have better thermal stability, oxidation resistance, and low-temperature fluidity than conventional mineral oil, while conventional mineral oil has better seal compatibility and cost-effectiveness.
Synthetic-Blend Motor Oil is a popular choice among drivers who want the performance benefits of synthetic oil but don’t want to pay the premium price of full synthetic oil. Synthetic blends can provide improved protection and performance compared to conventional mineral oil alone, while still being more affordable than full synthetic oil.
Examples of Synthetic-Blend Motor Oil include:
- Castrol GTX High Mileage Synthetic Blend Motor Oil: This oil is specifically designed for high mileage vehicles and contains a blend of synthetic and conventional base oils, as well as seal conditioners to help reduce leaks and oil consumption.
- Valvoline MaxLife Synthetic Blend Motor Oil: This oil is also designed for high mileage vehicles and contains a blend of synthetic and conventional base oils, along with additional anti-wear additives to help protect engine parts and reduce engine wear.
- Pennzoil Platinum High Mileage Synthetic Blend Motor Oil: This oil is formulated with a combination of synthetic and high-quality conventional base oils, as well as special additives to help protect against engine wear and reduce oil consumption.
Synthetic-Blend Motor Oil can be a good option for drivers who want improved performance and protection for their engine without the higher cost of full synthetic oil. However, it’s important to choose a high-quality oil that meets or exceeds the requirements of your vehicle manufacturer.
Best known 100% Synthetic Car or Truck Motor Oils
There are several well-known brands of 100% Synthetic Car or Truck Motor Oils on the market. Here are a few examples:
- Mobil 1: “The World’s Leading Synthetic Motor Oil Brand.” Mobil 1 is a fully synthetic motor oil that provides exceptional protection against engine wear and deposits, even in extreme temperatures. It’s available in a variety of formulations, including 0W-20, 5W-20, 5W-30, 10W-30, and others.
- Amsoil: “The First in Synthetics.” Amsoil is another well-known brand of 100% synthetic motor oil that offers superior wear protection, engine cleanliness, and fuel efficiency. It’s available in a wide range of viscosities and formulations, including synthetic diesel oil, synthetic racing oil, and more.
- Royal Purple: “The Performance Oil That Outperforms.” Royal Purple is a premium synthetic motor oil that’s designed to deliver superior protection and performance in high-performance engines. It’s formulated with advanced additive technology to provide excellent wear protection, improved fuel economy, and reduced engine deposits.
- Red Line: “Designed to Provide Higher Performance Across a Wider Temperature Range Than Petroleum-Based Oil.” Red Line is a fully synthetic motor oil that’s formulated with a high-quality base stock and advanced additive technology. It’s designed to provide maximum protection and performance in high-performance engines, including racing and turbocharged engines.
- Valvoline: “The First in Synthetics.” Valvoline is a well-known brand of synthetic motor oil that’s available in both full synthetic and synthetic blend formulations. Its full synthetic motor oil provides superior engine protection and performance, while its synthetic blend motor oil offers improved protection and performance at a more affordable price point.
These brands of 100% Synthetic Car or Truck Motor Oils offer excellent protection, performance, and durability for a wide range of engines and driving conditions. However, it’s important to choose the right oil for your specific vehicle and driving needs, and to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for oil change intervals and maintenance.