Base Oil, the foundation of a lubricant

Base Oil, the foundation of a lubricant

A lubricant exists for 70%-90% out of base oil. As a result, the choice of base oil is crucial for the quality of your lubricant.

There are three types of Base Oils: mineral base oils, semi-synthetic base oils and synthetic base oils. Mineral oils are refined from crude oil or used oils, synthetic oils are completely chemically built and semi-synthetic oils are a mixture of mineral and synthetic base oils.

Due to the technological evolutions in engine design over the last 10 to 15 years, we have witnessed a strong evolution towards semi-synthetic and synthetic oils. In the past, you could use a mineral oil for basically every type of engine. But the newest engine designs no longer support this type of oil. Before explaining the need for more synthetic oils, let’s have a look at the characteristics and the purpose of base oils.

Characteristics of Base Oils

Your choice of base oil will define the viscosity, or thickness, of your lubricant. The thickness of a lubricant is very important, as it needs to be thin enough to reach all the different car parts, but not too thin so it can still protect against friction between the metal car parts.

The difficulty here is that the viscosity of oil is very susceptible to external factors, especially to temperature changes. When the temperature rises, the oil will become more fluid. When, on the other hand, there’s a decrease in temperature, the oil will become thicker.

The benefits of Synthetic Base Oils

Synthetic base oils are generated by certain chemical processes that make them perform better thanks to their consistent molecular structure and purity. Because of the consistent size and shape of the molecules, there will be less friction between the metal surfaces.

On top of that, synthetic oils are more resistant to temperature changes and oxidation processes, which means they will last longer and they have superior wear control.

In short, synthetic base oils are of a much higher quality than mineral base oils. And the latest engine designs require this kind of high quality base oils to form, in combination with additives, a high quality lubricant.

Does this mean mineral oils are bad? Not at all! Some vehicles still function perfectly with mineral base oil. It is however important to be aware that there’s a great difference between oil types and to make sure you choose the right lubricant for your specific vehicle.

To find out which lubricant is perfect for your vehicle check out our easy-to-use Product Recommendation Tool on our website:


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