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Synthetic oil was developed before the Second World War and saw widespread use in Germany. The invention of the jet engine with its high engine temperatures opened the way for the first wide scale use of synthetic oils outside of wartime. Meanwhile, development of automotive oils continued, and in 1975, the first commercially available synthetic motor oil was launched.
Since then, and in response to the need for better performing oils, the use of synthetic oils has increased and many auto manufacturers now require the use of synthetic oil in engines.
The benefits of synthetic oil arise, in part, because it has uniformly consistent properties, unlike crude oil, which is a mixture of hydrocarbons of varying molecular structure and size. Additionally, synthetic oil contains fewer impurities that affect the durability of conventional motor oil. Consequently, synthetic oil lasts longer and provides a significantly greater level of engine protection.
BIZOL’s new and innovative motor oil meet and exceed the standards of the German automotive industry based on highest quality standards with 100% consumer transparency and protection.
Outside of Germany, partial Synthetic Motor Oils can be labelled as Fully Synthetic Motor Oils. This is not allowed in BIZOL because according to German Law we need to clearly label Fully Synthetic and Partial Synthetic motor oils. In essence, BIZOL’s Synthetic Motor Oils have the highest German quality standards with 100% consumer transparency and protection.
As the name implies, synthetic oil is made with products that are chemically manufactured. These products, primarily polyalphaolefins (PAO) and esters, possess many of the same qualities as crude oil but without its disadvantages. The chemical processes permit tight control of the molecular structure of PAOs and esters, ensuring the final oils have uniform and stable properties.
However, some synthetic oils are made from highly refined crude oil. A process known as severe hydrocracking breaks the long chain hydrocarbons into shorter, more uniform molecules and at the same time reduces the level of impurities in the oil. The oil produced, known as API Group III oil, has almost identical properties to synthetic PAO oil and in the U.S. is regarded as synthetic. In Germany, it is often referred to as HC synthesis oil.
Synthetic oil is an effective substitute for normal refined lubrication oil and has superior lubricating properties, is longer lasting, and is a better choice for modern engines.
Conventional lubrication oil is simply refined crude oil of a certain viscosity range that has been blended with an additice pack to meet the U.S. API specifications or, alternatively, the European ACEA specifications. Conventional oil contains a mixture of hydrocarbon compounds that all have different properties. These include paraffin chains and cycloparaffins that form the basis of the lubricating oil as well as volatile aromatics that are chemically reactive and form black sludge. Other impurities include waxes and a number of compounds containing nitrogen and sulfur. It is the presence of the aromatics, waxes, and other impurities that limit the service life of mineral oil and contribute toward engine wear.
Synthetic oils, whether manufactured synthetically or derived from highly refined API Group III base oils, contain a smaller variety of compounds with little variation in their properties. The level of impurities present in these oils is lower than that found in mineral oils.
Due to the negligible quantities of impurities, synthetic oils exhibit far more stable properties than mineral oils, and to a large extent, their service life is only limited by the life of the additive packs. Synthetic oil offers better engine protection than mineral oils in terms of heat, cold, wear, and sludge buildup.
API Base Oil Categories
Base Oil Category Sulfur (%) Saturates (%)
API Group I (solvent refined): >0,03 and/or <90 80 to 120
API Group II (hydrotreated): <0,03 and >90 80 to 120
API Group III (hydrocracked): >0,03 and/or <90 >120
API Group IV PAO Synthetic Lubricants
API Group V: All other base oils are not included in Groups I, II, III; IV
BIZOL offers advanced German Lubricants for everyday safety. To ensure our philosophy BIZOL offers a wide range of synthetic motor oils from API Group III and VI.
Crude base oils are divided into three groups. API Group I base oils are produced using a solvent refining process that produces a relatively poor base oil containing at least 10 per cent aromatics and over 300 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur. Initially, these API Group I base oils formed the basis of most lubricating oils.
API Group II oils were developed in the 1950s after it was discovered that hydro treating crude oil above 600 ºF (315.6 °C) in the presence of hydrogen removed impurities and stabilized the reactive aromatics. The oil is subsequently hydrocracked at high pressure followed by a dewaxing process. Group II oil has lower aromatic levels and contains less than 300 ppm sulfur. API Group I and II base oils exhibit the same viscosity index range of 80 to 120.
The breakthrough in producing API Group III oils came when it was realized that severe hydrocracking would produce a base oil with a viscosity index above 120. This was now comparable with the viscosity index range of PAOs, and the severe hydrocracking further unified the molecular structure of the base oil so it achieved similar high performance levels to the PAO oils. After a legal wrangle, it was agreed API Group III oils were considered synthetic oils as their performance compared to that of fully synthetic oils in all important respects. As indicated, synthetic oils are derived from two sources: synthetic production and highly refined API Group III crude base oils. The two primary synthetic oils are polyalphaolefins (PAO) and esters.
PAOs, categorized as API Group IV base oils, are initially derived from ethylene, which itself is a colorless, highly flammable hydrocarbon gas. Ethylene is chemically processed by oligomerization into linear alpha olefins that are then converted into polyalphaolefins (PAO), which is used as the base oil for most fully synthetic oils.
Esters, made from an oxoacid reacted with a hydroxyl compound such as alcohol or phenol, belong to API Group V base oils and have excellent lubricity and high temperature resistance. They are more expensive than PAOs and not commonly used as the base oil for synthetic motor oil but rather as an additive. However, ester oils were the basis of the first jet engine lubrication oils and are still used as such due to their thermal resistance to temperatures of 400 ºF while retaining the ability to flow at very low temperatures.
Synthetic oil generally has lower levels of additives compared to conventional motor oils. Most notable are reduced quantities of viscosity improvers because of the inherently high viscosity index (VI) of synthetic oil. A high VI means that synthetic oil retains its viscosity when hot.
Synthetic oil generally has a lower pour point so needs lower levels of pour point depressants than conventional oils, which have high levels of waxes that solidify at low temperatures.
The lower levels of aromatics also benefits the oil as lower levels of sludge dispersants are required. One additive that is necessary is a seal conditioner to ensure seals retain their elasticity and do not dry out, and additives are also needed to disperse products of combustion such as soot.
Overall, the additive pack requirements are much reduced and synthetic oils are suitable for long service life.
Synthetic oils, albeit more expensive than conventional oils, are significantly better virtually in all aspects. The conventional point of view espoused by many mechanics that it is best to change standard motor oils frequently no longer applies as longer lasting synthetic oil is likely to provide far better overall engine protection.
Specific measurable benefits of synthetic oils include cold cranking properties, low volatility, and oxidation resistance. In winter, the cold cranking viscosity of engine oil determines the lowest temperature at which an engine can be started. At minus 22 ºF (minus -30ºC) the cranking requirements of synthetic oils are nearly one third of Group II base oils. The Noack Volatility test measures the evaporation of oil at operating temperature, the consequence of which is an increase in oil viscosity and drag on the engine. Synthetic base oils have less than half the evaporation rate of Group II oils. Oxidation of oil determines how long the oil can be used, and a useful way to measure this is the Turbine Oil Stability Test. Synthetic oils perform much better than Group I and II oils.
Synthetic oils contain hardly any sulfur, unstable hydrocarbons, or other trace impurities. Consequently, the oil is stable in use and produces hardly any harmful deposits. The oil is free flowing, so it circulates immediately at startup, providing faster and better startup protection during the critical period when most engine wear occurs.
Modern synthetic oils are compatible with all engines, provide better engine protection, and improve performance due to their lower friction characteristics. Selection of the right synthetic oil is easy if simple guidelines are followed:
• Choose a viscosity rating as specified in the vehicle handbook.
• Verify the API or ACEA oil specification.
• Choose an oil with the same or higher API classification.
• For European vehicles, choose an oil that complies with the specific ACEA requirement. Especially for German cars it is advisable to use German motor oil.
• Check oil complies with any mandatory auto manufacturer oil specification requirements (these are usually shown on the oil container).
Provided the oil complies with the above requirements, it will be compatible. Bear in mind the use of synthetic oil is mandatory in many modern vehicles, especially turbo-charged models, and the use of non-synthetic oil could cause engine damage.
Synthetic motor oil provides the following benefits:
• Longer engine life
• Lower emissions
• Excellent winter performance
• Enhanced engine wear protection
• Minimal deterioration between oil changes
• Cleaner engines
Although synthetic oil costs more, by sticking to the oil change requirements for the vehicle instead of the usual 3,000 mile oil change intervals,(4,828 km) overall oil service costs are certain to be lower, and better protected engines will last longer.