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Difference Between Mineral and Synthetic Oil

Mineral vs Synthetic Oil

The similarity between mineral oil and synthetic oil is that both can be used as automotive engine oil. However, their composition, properties, prices and some other parameters are different. Automotive lubrication is a very important aspect to keep the engine healthy. Therefore, when choosing the right oil for your vehicle, there are few things to be considered. If you can understand what their differences are, then it is easy to choose between two according to your need.

What is Mineral Oil?

Mineral oil is a byproduct from petroleum distillation. It is a colorless, transparent, odorless liquid having a mixture of simple alkanes. These alkanes are in the range of C-15 to C 40. Mineral oil is produced in large scale, hence available anywhere for a very low cost. The number of uses from mineral oil is numerous, so it is good to have a bottle of mineral oil in household. Their usage is expanding to many areas like automotive lubricant, cosmetics, hygienic products, cleaning and maintaining, food, medicine, etc. Although there are many usages of mineral oils, some doubts are there concerned with the safety of using it. Some petroleum derivatives may contain carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic compounds, so there is a doubt, whether mineral oil is also containing these. But mineral oil used for cosmetics or in medicine are highly purified, so no need to worry about carcinogenic compounds. Moreover, people have different opinions on mineral oil related to skin aging and cause acne; therefore they encourage quitting using cosmetics with mineral oil. Mineral oil is largely used as a lubricant in vehicles and there are advantages and disadvantages of using it.

What is Synthetic Oil?

Synthetic oil contains chemical compounds that are artificially made. This is mainly used as a lubricant. So by adding synthetic molecules, which are not present in natural crude oils, the lubricant nature of the synthetic oil is increased. The added synthetic molecules are designed with uniform size and chemistry to reduce the friction, thus to give the optimum lubricant effect. Further, they have superior chemical and physical properties. AMSOIL Inc. first came up with synthetic oil, and they used this as a lubricant to meet API service requirements. Synthetic oil was much popularized due to its ability to function on extreme temperatures (hot or cold), and to withstand long and vigorous engine operation without any problem, thus have high stability. Other than these, there are many advantages in synthetic oil. For example, resistance to oxidation and thermal breakdown, decreased evaporative loss, longer engine life, extended drain intervals, thus environmental friendly and low oil waste, etc. However, there are few disadvantages of it like, high price, decomposing in some chemical environments, cannot use in automotive rotary engines, etc.

What is the difference between Mineral Oil and Synthetic Oil?

• Mineral oil is extracted from crude oil, so it has naturally available molecules, which are present in petroleum. But in synthetic oil, there are synthetic molecules, which have been design to cater for specific needs. Synthetic oil contains performance enhancing additives.

• Synthetic oil provides a superior lubrication compared to mineral oil. Therefore, synthetic oil increases the durability of the engine.

• Synthetic oil price is much higher compared to that of mineral oil.

• Synthetic oil is used as a car lubricant, while mineral oils have a wide range of applications.


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