NEW YORK, Feb. 5, 2008; There are meaningful differences in motor oils and choosing the right one can have a major impact on how well your car runs. Selecting the right oil is the quickest and cheapest way to improve your car's performance and reliability.
The two primary types of base oils used are mineral and synthetic. Mineral oils are by-products of refined crude oil. Refining helps reduce the impurities but leaves molecules of all shapes and sizes. Synthetic oils are manmade compounds where molecules are all the same size and shape; consequently, synthetic oil has less friction and performs significantly better than mineral oils. There's been sizable growth in the use of synthetic oils over the years. In fact, synthetic oils are often the factory fill in many new performance and luxury cars.
Regardless of the base oil used, chemicals must be added to give motor oil the characteristics needed to do its job. Typical additives that may be added to base oil include detergents to reduce the formation of residue, defoamants to deter absorption of air, anti-wear agents, antioxidants and others. There is no easy way for a consumer to determine the quality of motor oil's additive package. Price is often an indicator of quality since the more advanced additive technologies cost more to produce. Performance is the ultimate measure of additive package quality.