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Oil – You get what you pay for!

oilman May 24, 2007

  1. oilman

    oilman Guest

    Costs of synthetics vary considerably. The most expensive are the “Ester” types originally only used in jet engines. These cost 6 to 10 times more than high quality mineral oils.

    The cheapest synthetics are not really synthetic at all, they are dug out of the ground and not manmade. These are in fact specially refined light viscosity mineral oils known as “hydrocracked” oils.

    “Hydrocracked” oils have some advantages over their equivalent mineral oils, particularly in lower viscosity motor oils such as 5w-30 and 5w-40 and they cost about 1.5 times more than good quality mineral fractions. This is the “synthetic” which is always used in cheap oils that are labelled “synthetic”.

    So, why are these special mineral oils called “synthetic”?

    Well, it all came about from a legal battle that took place in the USA more than ten years ago. Sound reasons (including evidence from a Nobel Prize winning chemist) were disregarded and the final ruling was that certain mineral bases that had undergone extra chemical treatments could be called “synthetic”.

    Needless to say, the marketing executives wet their knickers with pure delight! They realised that this meant, and still does, that the critical buzz-word “synthetic” could be printed on a can of cheap oil provided that the contents included some “hydrocracked” mineral oil, at a cost of quite literally a few pence.

    So, the chemistry of “synthetics” is complex and so is the politics. The economics are very simple though.

    If you like the look of a smart well-marketed can with “synthetic” printed on it, fair enough, it will not cost you a lot; and now you know why this is the case, it’s really only a highly processed mineral oil.

    But, if you drive a high performance or modified car, and you intend to keep it for several years, and maybe do the odd “track day” or “1/4 mile”, then you need a genuine Ester/PAO (Poly Alpha Olefin) synthetic oil.

    These oils cost more money to buy, because they cost a lot more money to make.

    Very simply, you always get what you pay for, cheap oils contain cheap ingredients, what did you expect!
  2. Spudgun

    Spudgun Member

    Thanks for the advice Oilman :)

    A couple of questions if you would be so kind.

    1. What mileage interval would you recommend changing the oil ?

    2. Would you recommend using an oil treatment / additive - I thinking of using "Slick 50"

    3. Just out of interest do you know what oil an Audi Main Stealer uses (Petrol engine) when on a 24 month interval service.


  3. oilman

    oilman Guest

    Which oil are you using, what car and what use?

  4. macattax

    macattax Member

    Ok reccomend me an oil for an A4 B5 1.8T sport.
    Driving mostly short journeys but longer journeys on weekends.
    In febuary I filled it with castrol magnatec 15w-40.
    I wont need to change it for quite some time but it would be nice to hear from an oil expert on what the best oil is for optimum performace.

  5. macca

    macca Member

    also can you recommend what i should use,

    1998 a4 1.8t, 15 miles in morning and evening then about 100 miles over weekend, gets driven bit hard sometimes.

    engine has done 3000 miles, rebuilt with low comp forged pistons, fast road cams, running std turbo with 1.2 bar of boost, may do track days in future.

    i am just going to change the oil for the second time on the engine, first was at 600 miles, am using 15w/40 normal mineral at moment as have been running in, i usually change oil every 5000 miles, or before a track day.

    any recommendations? i was looking at i think Motul, probably about a 10w/40 weighting?

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