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All about Synthetic Motor Oil

Synthetic Motor Oils

How Synthetic is your "Synthetic" Oil?

Should you be curious or daring to know ...

... read on!


Many consumers are not just surprised but quite often shocked to learn that the "Synthetic Oils" for which they pay premium price (3 to 9 times that of Petroleum Oil) are not only not performing any better than average Petroleum Motor Oil, but also are not "Synthetic" at all!

How had this happened?


(Society of Automotive Engineers) deleted any and all definitions of "synthetic" from all specifications relating to oils.


(American Petroleum Institute) never defined what "synthetic" is.


(National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus) ruled that "Synthetic" is a marketing term and that it is the responsibility of the Marketer (the one who labels and markets the oil) to define what it is.

Back labels of Mobil 1 products for many years had following statement:

" * exclusive of carrier oil"

in substantially smaller print when compared to other information on the back label.
While at the same time the front label declared the Mobil 1 as:

"100% Synthetic * "

Synthetic Religion

The "synthetic" oil business is regarded by many in the oil industry as a "religion" whose followers are holding a belief that "synthetic" is somehow superior, but lack the actual proof.

This "faith" is very profitable for all marketers of "synthetic" products, as they can charge substantially higher price when the term "synthetic" is incorporated in to the product description.

The information on following pages has been provided to enlighten the average consumer of Motor Oil, Gear Oil, ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) and Grease with information, which is seldom made publicly available by the oil industry.

What you do not know about oil, can harm your vehicle, and what you do not know about "synthetic" oil can cost you money, you need not spend to get the same or better performance for less.

Synthetic - Definitions

If you use any current Web Browser and search for "Synthetic Definition" you will get well over a million hits !
If you take time to read at least the first few definitions, which most likely will be from a "Dictionary" web, you will find that not every Dictionary has "exactly" the same definition, and that there is actually quite a variety and range of "definitions".

General Definitions

The prevalent "general definition terms for "Synthetic" are:

from New Latin syntheticus, from Greek sunthetikos = expert in putting together

from suntithenai = to put together

First Known Use: 1697

Chemistry Definitions

When we limit our Definitions of "Synthetic" to "Chemistry", in general following definitions will be most common.

Oil Industry Definition

Several Oil Industry and Oilfield Glossaries use this definition:

Their definition however relates to Drilling Fluids and Mixtures of these fluids that are also used to make synthetic-base muds.

Lube Oil Industry Definitions

When it comes to the Lube Oil Industry and the various Lube Producers, one would expect to find an universal fit all definition of "synthetic" that everyone in the Lube Industry would consent to.

However, that is not the case and each and every Oil Company, Lube Company as well as each Marketer, have their own very "legally" specific definition of their very own - that fits the description of what their products are actually made of !

But in general:

American Petroleum Institute (API)

API while being the MAJOR role player in the Petroleum Industry and especially in the field of Motor Oils for Automotive applications, one would also expect that they would have a very specific and "exact" definition of what constitutes "Synthetic".

But strangely there is NONE !

API of course is involved in the Motor Oil Licensing program, where if the Licensee pays a "fee", then the Licensee can use on the back label of their Motor Oil the coveted "API Donut".

API Donut SM

Various documents are necessary to be submitted along with the Licensing Fee to API, mainly to demonstrate that the "Additive Package" meets certain performance level as defined in the "API Category Listing", and that the product is suitable for use as Motor Oil.

While the Licensed Motor Oil must meet the established MINIMUM for performance under a specific API Category, other than this MINIMUM performance requirement, there is no differentiation in any product that is BETTER than the MINIMUM.

Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)

While SAE issues many standards that are related to Motor Oil, over 20 years ago all references and "definitions" of what constitutes a "Synthetic" lubricant were deleted from such standards.


Since the merger with Mobil Oil in 1999, ExxonMobil markets the Lubricants under the Mobil 1 brand.

Their definition of Synthetic is:

Source of above information was:

Strangely within 3 weeks after we published the "exact" copy from above link within our web page, while the above link is still functional (try it) the previously published paragraphs completely disappeared from the referenced website !
Why ?

Both Exxon and Mobil in the past have produced chemically synthetic base oils.
In case of Exxon they were mostly synthetic hindered esters.
In case of Mobil they were C10 based Poly-alpha-olefins (PAO).

Today ExxonMobil produces SpectraSyn in Beaumont Texas USA (Refinery) and Gravenchon France.

The product is C10 based PAO.

"Alkylated Naphthalene" under Synesstic Brand and Ester under Esterex Brand are made by associated company - ExxonMobil Chemical.


Amsoil of course likes to label their products with the Trademarked Slogan: "The First in Synthetics"

At the same time while proclaiming the benefits of "synthetic" Amsoil products, they only describe their benefits, but fail to define what "synthetics" are.

Following is statement about "synthetic" from Amsoil website:

Amsoil does not have and never had any capability both technologically and equipment wise to produce ANY lubricant base oil.

They simply re-package products that are bought in bulk from other companies, bottle them and put their own label on them.

While AMSOIL (originally AMZOIL) was proud to apply for US Trademark "The First in Synthetics" on August 17, 1994; which was eventually registered on January 28, 1997 (Registration Number 2033283), and while AMSOIL was always "claiming" to only have "synthetic" Motor Oil, it is interesting to note that the Trademark application specifically states: "para-synthetic lubricating oil" !

Further AMSOIL applied for yet another US Trademark registration for the same "slogan": "The First in Synthetics" on January 31, 2006; which was subsequently issued on February 20, 2007 (Registration Number 3210848), now covering other products, most of which have no connection to anything "synthetic" such as namely: "Automotive cleaning preparations".

Clearly the "synthetic" business for AMSOIL is not really working out that great, as at first the company found it necessary to offer to their Independent Dealers other products such as:

The further degradation of the AMSOIL gospel resulted now in offering products made from API Group III base oils (XL) and even newer products (OE) that now preach the previously abhorred:
"3,000 mile or 3 Month oil change interval " !

AMSOIL Motor Oils
Screen capture from home page

Shell Oil Company

SHELL, Quaker State, Pennzoil, Jiffy Lube are brands and lubricants owned by Shell Oil.

Shell also only describes the benefits of "Synthetics" but also fails to define them.

Shell also does not have any production capability to make any "synthetic" chemical products that are not made from petroleum crude.

All Motor Oils under brands that are owned or controlled by Shell are based on API Group III or API Group II+ Base Oils, even when they are labeled as "synthetic".

Shell however has mastered the additive chemistry to such extend that some of their "synthetic" labeled products are almost (but not quite) on par in performance with Motor Oils based on PAO or Ester chemistry.


Chevron is one of the few Oil Companies that used to have the capacity to make PAO based on C10, and it is the ONLY company in the World that made PAO based on C12.

Strangely, however, they are not at all famous for marketing any "synthetic" Motor Oils.

The few products they do have with "synthetic" on the label, disclose the in the product MSDS composition as: "Highly refined mineral oil (C15 - C50) Mixture 60 - 100 % by weight".

The C10 and C12 PAO products sold under the SynFluid brand are now made by Chevron-Phillips in Cedar Bayou, Texas USA.

Synthetic CLAIMS

Perhaps the most intriguing part of Synthetic Lube Marketers are the "synthetic" or "artificial" and even outright "fake" claims they make about their products as well as in some cases their companies.

Some typical claims are:


We were first !

One prevalent advertising ploy in the synthetic oil industry is that almost without an exception every company anywhere in the World claims to be the very "First " - in something !

To a casual observer it is quickly obvious that not every company can possibly be "First " and that sometimes a "second " or even the "late-comer " can actually be either "Better" or "Cheaper".

You will never find any financial institution that proudly proclaims: "We are the "Second XYZ bank"!

However, there is the illusion in the consumer market that the claim of "First in something" somehow is identified with Quality or Superiority in the field of "synthetic " lubricants.


AMSOIL = "The First in Synthetics" - The company did not exist before 1972 !

MOBIL = "First to Market Synthetic Oil" - Mobil 1 was introduced in 1974 !

Being "First " in anything, unless it is a sanctioned racing event, has no relation to Quality, Value or Performance of ANY product in the market place.

Quite often even in racing events being "First " is more a matter of luck than of ultimate superiority in performance.

Historical Facts of "First"











































































Not Invented here

Companies that invent or develop certain products often proclaim and insist that only their own products, are the ONLY ones to use, because after all "they" Invented it.

If someone invents or develops something else, anywhere, that may be same or even better; well it can not possibly be ANY GOOD !!!

It was NOT Invented here!

Therefore, company that Invented PAO swears by it.
Company that Invented Polyol swears by it.
Company that Invented Ester swears by it.
Company that Invented Poly-Glycol swears by it.
Company that Invented stuff, that does not even have common generic name yet, swears by it.

The argument of superiority seems to fade somewhat, when the ultimate purpose " Lubrication" is compared to "Light".

Lubricant Enlightenment

No seriously: "LET THERE BE LIGHT!"

Consider this:

Your objective is to have "Light".

You can achieve it with naturally occurring sources such as Sun or Moon.

You can achieve it with flame from Wood, Coal, Wax, Oil or whatever else will burn.

You can achieve it by making materials incandescent with heat such as molten metal, lava, etc.

You can achieve it by electric spark such as discharge lamps.

You can achieve it by electron flow in certain gases such as Neon.

You can achieve it by electron potential in electro-luminescent materials.

You can achieve it by chemical reaction either natural (firefly) or man induced (phosphorus).

Or you can achieve it by combination of effects such as in incandescent bulb or fluorescent tube.

If "Light" is your ultimate objective, what does it matter how it is generated as long as it serves it's ultimate purpose: it allows you to "see".

You can spend eternity to argue the superiority of one source over the other, the relative wavelengths, energy efficiencies, the abundance of the source at any given time or location, but the ultimate result is that any and all of the above will provide "Light"

Similarly in the lubricant business the objective is "Lubrication".

So that surfaces in intimate contact and in relative motion will move freely without excessive wear, noise generation (remember the squeaky wheel?), or any other problems that would impair the device's usefulness and longevity.

The fact that lubricant is "synthetic" or Man-made does not immediately render it superior to a Petroleum sourced product, or even one of Vegetable or Animal origin.

Just as chemically produced light might not be automatically superior to sunlight.

However, in some specific application it just might be the "ONLY" right light to use.

The superior "Lubricant" is the one that achieves its purpose in a specific application for a specific desired service life and service severity at a minimal cost (both financial and environmental).

The superiority of any lubricant has nothing to do with it being or not being "synthetic".

The only superiority of Man-made products is that the performance, composition, etc. is far more predictable, more consistent, than composition of any products from natural sources.

The performance repeatability of Man-made "synthetic" products is really the superior advantage over naturally sourced products.

For example:

Each "batch" of Base Oil produced, even from the Crude Oil from the same Oil Field, can vary in specifications and performance. And therefore the ultimate performance of the final product in a consumer application can NOT be totally predictable or repeatable.

There are dozens of well-documented episodes of Motor Oils, that failed to properly protect engines in the field, yet were produced the same way as other batches that had no apparent problems.

The "synthetic" Man-made products on the other hand can be made uniform day after day for years to come with virtually no distinction or variation in final performance.

"Synthetic" therefore is not better by virtue of being "synthetic"; but it is definitely better than "natural" by virtue of being uniform and consistent in quality and final performance.

Not Made here

"It can't be any good because it was not invented here" is the absolutely worst approach to lubrication, and unfortunately is the source of many problems and inferior and very expensive products.

The curse of "Not Made here" is almost as bad, if not worse than the "Not Invented here".

Company that makes PAO will ultimately produce final lubricant, which is mostly PAO.

Company that makes Ester will ultimately produce final lubricant, which is mostly Ester.

Both will claim that their final lubricant is superior in every aspect of performance to the one made by the other competitor.
Neither will acknowledge that their competitor's product has ANY merit.


Once we depart from "lubricant business" to "Light", we can immediately see how silly an argument that is too!

It is in most circumstances as silly as proclaiming the superiority of GREEN light over RED light, when the ultimate need is for a WHITE light.
OK, so no matter what you do, you can only create "colored" light, but wait what if you ADD a BLUE light = end result of mix of RED GREEN BLUE (RGB) just like on your computer's monitor is WHITE light.

So similarly mixing PAO with Ester is better than either alone, irrespective of the producer's claims, but wait what if you ADD a Polyol as well, it will be better yet!

That's why at SynLube we DO NOT produce ANY base stocks, we just buy the very best from who ever has what WE need to formulate and blend the ABSOLUTELY BEST PERFORMING finished product.

We at SynLube are not suffering from the "Not Made here" dilemma.

By not having multi million dollar investments tied up in production equipment that new developments can make instantaneously obsolete, we have the luxury of being very flexible and have the ability to make the BEST products at ALL times.

When something new or better becomes available we immediately incorporate it in our product development and testing.

While most other companies only use one or two "synthetic" Base Oils, and Mobil used to use three in their improved "Tri-synthetic" formula of Mobil 1, we at SynLube have been using FIVE different Base Oil Fluids and THREE colloidal Solids in our SynLube™  Lube−4−Life® products since 1969 !

This is not done with intend to be "different", but with intend to have the VERY BEST products.

However, our customers are ultimately protected from being the test guinea pigs, because nothing is released to our final customer unless it has been tested for over 150,000 miles and many years in our test vehicles and those of participating fleets.

When you get a SynLube™  Lube−4−Life® product it is not NEW and IMPROVED, but it is PROVEN, DEPENDABLE and FULLY TESTED and when WE say FULLY - it is 100%!

When full is not full & 100% is not 100% (Part 1)

Usually when reasonable intelligent people say that something is 100% or Full or Fully (something) then this to other reasonable intelligent people really means that:

"100% means unity or FULL".

Well, not so in the oil industry or more specifically in the Synthetic Lubricant part of it.

"Full" or "Fully" is not really meaning that ALL of it (lubricant) is what it says.

"100% Synthetic" is not really a lie, when less than 100% of the finished product is "Synthetic", because cryptically it relates to something else (Base Oil), and therefore it is the TRUTH.

Except that {or "exclusive of" as they like to say}, it (100%) really does not relate to what you think

The finished product - such as Motor Oil.

Here then is the expose, and the sorted details that are the norm in the Synthetic Lubricant Business.

Carrier Oil

The case of the elusive "carrier oil".


Back labels of Mobil 1 products for many years had following statement on them:
"* exclusive of carrier oil" the statement was always in substantially smaller print than the other information on the back label.

While at the same time the front label declared the Mobil 1 as:
"100% Synthetic *" - in really large print on the front label.

If you are a good detective you'll notice that the statement on the Front label ends with an asterisk (*) and the statement on the Back label starts with an asterisk (*).

If you are really good, you'll figure out that the asterisks are the magical "glue" that connects the two together and that what should be understood is:

" 100 % Synthetic, exclusive of carrier oil ".

Well, that is only the beginning of our decoding mission. When asked, majority of consumers has absolutely no idea what "carrier oil" is, or what the meaning of "exclusive of" really is.

So if you are totally confused at this point, do not despair, soon you shall be enlightened with a wisdom worthy of CLS (Certified Lubrication Specialist).

First, however, you have to either consult your dictionary (a technical one with specialties in oil industry well defined), or just have to take our word for it. (see "Definitions" below)

The usual suspects are: Additive, Base Oil, Base Stock, Carrier Oil, "exclusive of", Petroleum, Process Oil and Synthetic.



An agent used for imparting new, or for improving existing characteristics of lubricating oils or greases.

Base Oil

A base oil is a base stock or blend of base stocks used in engine oil, gear oil or ATF.

Base Stock

A base stock is a mineral hydrocarbon or synthetic lubricant component that is produced by a single manufacturer (independent of crude source or manufacturing location), that meets the same manufacturer's specification, and that is identified by a unique formula, product identification number, or both.

Carrier Oil

Oil (Petroleum), usually solvent neutral or process oil, used to "carry" or dissolve and/or disperse additives, which would otherwise be too viscous or even solid, and therefore not easily mixed with the Base Stock Oil.

"exclusive of"

preposition defined as:

Not containing, devoid off, except for

Not including or Not considering


Petroleum = From Latin Petra (Rock) and Oleum (Oil) therefore meaning "Rock Oil" the term is commonly used to describe products made from "Crude Oil".

Conventional motor oil

Oil that is refined from crude oil that has been pumped from the ground and which contains naturally occurring components such as:
sulfur and sulfur compounds, reactive hydrocarbons and other "contaminants" that can not be completely and economically removed from petroleum, and thus end up in conventional motor oil Basestock.

Process oil

Oil not used for lubrication, but as a component of another materiel, or as a carrier of other products, such as additives.


Of, involving, or using synthesis

Produced by synthesis; specially: produced by chemical synthesis, rather than of natural origin

Not real or genuine; artificial [synthetic lubricant]

Something synthetic; specially, a substance produced by chemical synthesis

Man-made, not occurring in nature

[French synthétique < Greek synthetikos]

Synthetic oils

Oils produced by "synthesis" (chemical reaction) rather than by extraction or conventional refinement.

Oils that previously were NOT considered as "synthetic" such as those that are produced by "severe refining", "hydrogenation" or other complex chemical processes that yield a more stable molecular uniformity and higher degree of purity that is not achievable through normal "conventional" refining process are NOW also labeled as "synthetic" by their respective producers (SHELL, ExxonMobil, BP, SUNOCO) - they however still are made from Petroleum Crude.

These "quasi-synthetics" are claimed to be almost as good as PAO but are much cheaper to produce.

When full is not full & 100% is not 100% (Part 2)

Patience, please, the ultimate truth will be revealed soon!

Read the definitions several times and try to understand them!

OK here is the reasoning for:

" 100 % Synthetic, exclusive of carrier oil ".

The "100% Synthetic" relates to the Base Oil or Base Stock, it and only it (the Base Stock) is synthetically made. In case of Mobil 1, it was originally in 1970's PAO (Poly-alpha-olefin).

The "exclusive of carrier oil" means in English that the Carrier or the Process Oil that is used to "carry" the additives is not synthetic oil and therefore, the final product (Motor Oil)
is NOT 100% Synthetic, even though the Base Oil is 100% Synthetic.


Well then, what does Mobil (now ExxonMobil) have to say about that ?

Q: Is Mobil 1 a fully synthetic oil?

A: Yes, it's 100% synthetic. The base stocks used in blending Mobil 1 are all "chemically constructed" instead of being simply segregated out of crude oil like conventional mineral oils.

Q: Then why does it say it contains a petroleum carrier for additives?

A: All motor oils contain additives that provide extra protection against wear, corrosion and engine deposits. These additives are usually high molecular weight materials - sometimes even solids. Conventional carrier oil is used to make these additives soluble. All motor oils will contain some of this carrier oil, usually only amounting to a small percentage of the finished product.

Source of above Questions and Answers is: and Mobil 1 promotional literature from 1999.

Q: How a Fully Synthetic oil differs from Conventional Oil ?

A: Conventional motor oils are refined from crude oil that has been pumped from the ground. While petroleum refining is an advanced science, naturally occurring components, such as sulfur, reactive hydrocarbons and other materials, can never be completely removed from petroleum, and thus may end up in conventional motor oil base stocks.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, providing the highest performance and protection level, are fully synthetic motor oils like Mobil 1 with SuperSyn family of lubricants, the leading synthetic motor oil and the "official Motor Oil of NASCAR".
Fully synthetic lubricants are formulated in several ways, using high-performance synthetic base oils. These products are produced either through a chemical reaction called "synthesis", severe refining or other complex chemical processes that yield a molecular uniformity and degree of purity that is impossible to achieve through normal refining process.

Source of above Question and Answer is NASCAR PERFORMANCE - Summer 2003 from article originated by ExxonMobil and titled "Getting up to Speed about SYNTHETIC LUBRICANTS".

AHA !!!

Are you clear on the subject NOW?

Perhaps a small question still lurks on your mind, how small a "small percentage" is?

Well, for that we have to go to a company like Infineum that produces the additive packages such a PARANOX 5043 and PARANOX 5510 for synthetic lubricants.

The active ingredients are 1.94% to 4.07% by Mass (weight) the balance is Petroleum Oil.

That is about 98% or 96% of the "Additive Package" in ready to blend form is Petroleum Oil.

They (Infineum) recommend treat rate for FULLY FORMULATED lubricant (Motor Oil) of 10 to 20% of the finished product.


If 100% of the Base Oil is 100% Synthetic;

If 98% to 96% of the "Additive Package is Petroleum";

If 10 to 20% of the finished product is the Additive Package;

Then, how many % of Petroleum and how many % of Synthetic are in the finished Motor Oil?


When the treat rate is 10% and the Additive Package contains 2% of active ingredients,
then the finished product will be 90% Synthetic with 9.8% Petroleum and 0.2% of additives.

When the treat rate is 20% and the Additive Package contains 4% of the active ingredients,
then the finished product will be 80% Synthetic with 19.2% Petroleum and 0.8% of additives.

The "small percentage" (according to ExxonMobil) actually is 9.8% to 19.2%.

Many investors would be thrilled to get such a "small percentage" return on their money !!

(Just for the record, the average dividends for Mobil and Exxon over last 20 years have been in 2% to 4% range, and they jointly term this as "significant" return on Shareholders' Equity in their Annual Reports). Currently the ExxonMobil (XOM) stock trades at about $90.00 per share while the quarterly dividend is in 42 to 50 cent range = about 1.9% annual rate of return !

In recent press release ExxonMobil proudly proclaimed this:

"Through its dividends, the corporation has shared its success with its shareholders for more than 100 years and has increased its annual dividend payment to shareholders for 23 consecutive years."

- even this statement is not true since ExxonMobil did not exist 23 years ago as it were two separate and Independent companies (Exxon AND Mobil).

When 100% Synthetic contains 20% of Petroleum

OK then "100% Synthetic Motor Oil" is not really "100% Synthetic Motor Oil", but it is perfectly OK to say that it is 100% Synthetic Motor Oil, because the Base Stock is 100% Synthetic and that is what you really mean when the Motor Oil contains as much as 20% of Petroleum, because the Petroleum is not the Base Oil but the Carrier Oil for the Additives !!!

Now if YOU do not understand that, as most people do not, well that is just way too bad.

After all you just might not be willing to pay so much more for Synthetic Motor Oil if you knew it was not "100% Synthetic", or would you ?

Well, you probably are (paying too much)!

When 100% Synthetic is mostly Petroleum

And there is more!

In November 2006, ExxonMobil on their www.Mobil website asked the web visitors to:

"Ask your stickiest Question"

Well Jeff Willett of St. Peters, MO has asked this:

I have seen claims of gas chromatograph analysis of Mobil 1 Extended Performance SAE 5W-30 API SM dated October 2006, that state it is "mostly mineral oil". Realizing that you can not divulge your exact formulations, what do you say to the critics that claim you are using a high percentage of hydro processed mineral oil in Mobil 1, instead of the more expensive PAO or polyester base stocks?

Amazingly someone (anonymously) from Mobil 1 web has replied, and the reply was even posted briefly on the www.Mobil :

Just like other companies, we do not discuss our product formulations for obvious proprietary reasons.

Mobil 1 Extended Performance is formulated using combination of high performance fluids including PAO, along with proprietary system of performance additives. But in the end, it is also about performance.

Mobil 1 is used by more Original Equipment Manufacturers than any other oil as factory fill in their vehicles. Also take note of the kind of testing we put our product through, including the "Las Vegas field testing" we recently completed. The Mobil 1 technology is also tested each weekend on the race track. In fact, more than 50 percent of NASCAR teams use Mobil 1.

WOW that is a response worthy of a politician !

And just to set the record straight:

1.) SynLube has been located in Las Vegas since 1989 so we have run our products in hundreds of vehicles in Las Vegas for 23 years - Mobil 1 operated less than 10 cars for 90 days, about 15,000 miles on the average is the "Las Vegas field test".

2.) The response does not even touch on the fact that the content of the Mobil 1 which is now labeled as FULLY SYNTHETIC, is mostly PETROLEUM !

3.) Mobil 1 is used in just handful of vehicles, usually a specialty cars, while their OEM manufacturer uses conventional PETROLEUM in majority of their production, that is true about PORSCHE, GM, CHRYSLER, FORD, MERCEDES-BENZ, etc.

4.) NASCAR Racing engines last typically less than 50 hours of use, and there is no documentable advantage for teams that use Mobil 1 in their vehicles.

Mobil 1 sponsored race cars with Mobil 1 decals all over them fail to win and actually finish less often that their competitors that DO NOT USE Mobil 1 products!

Statistically teams using Mobil 1 are at DISADVANTAGE.

Why if Mobil 1 is so superior do the Mobil 1 cars fail to win or even finish ?

Almost Synthetic is Synthetic even when it is Petroleum

Well, if you think that Mobil or (ExxonMobil now) is less than honest, or even down right deceptive, that is not the worst of it.

Many other brands of Synthetics (Shell, Castrol, Amsoil, etc.) are NOT fully "synthetic" at all, at least by the definition used for years by chemists in all chemical companies around the World.

Some years ago SHELL in Europe and specifically in then West Germany introduced Motor Oils that were manufactured from UHVI Petroleum Base stock that although made from conventional crude oil, was subjected to additional processing not common on "normal" or "typical" Base Oil production.

These (UHVI = Ultra High Viscosity Index) Base Stock containing Motor Oils were labeled by SHELL as "Synthetic".

Companies like MOTUL, MOBIL, AGIP in their respective markets did not like that labeling one bit, because the SHELL "synthetic" products were sold for substantially less then their own Brands of "Synthetic" Labeled products.

After years of lawsuits, court orders, appeals, contra-suits that clogged the courts of several European countries. At different times and in different countries contrary decisions or judgments were made.

What was "synthetic" in one country on one day was "not synthetic" in another country at the same time.

A real confusion for a region of globe that aimed to "unify" in the near future and become one great continent of "EURO".

What finally evolved from all this confusion was that the label term "Synthetic" is a marketing term, and therefore it is up to the "marketer" of the oil, to define what "synthetic" is.

AHA !!!

Therefore now anytime you subject conventional petroleum oil to any unconventional process or reaction, irrespective of if it works (improves) or not the Base Oil, you can for all practical purposes call it "synthetic" i.e., Man-made.

SAE which had in its lubricant specifications not only definitions of what constitutes a "synthetic" but also a list of specific chemicals used as lubricants that were considered "synthetic".

Although SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) is US based organization, it aims at Global reach, and having one standard in the USA and yet another in most of Europe was deemed as bad as having English and Metric standards of measurements (at the same time).

The decision was made to go along with Europe (after all Metric is better), and as a result all reference to "synthetic" in respect to lubricants was deleted from ALL future SAE publications of SAE Standards relating to Lubricants.

Since SAE is a non-profit organization of Engineers, it had no desire nor financial might to involve itself in never ending lawsuits with mighty oil and chemical companies, so the simple "deletion" of all references to "synthetic" was perhaps the best and easiest decision.

When opportunity is there, it is only natural that some one will seize it.

It was CASTROL with their Syntec® Synthetic Motor Oil, which when first introduced up until December 1997 it was formulated with PAO sourced from Mobil.

In January 1998 CASTROL started to use much cheaper hydroprocessed petroleum base oils from SHELL. Mobil lost the opportunity to sell PAO to CASTROL.

Mobil Oil complained to National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which in April 1999 finally ruled in CASTROL favor, specifically allowing Syntec® Motor Oil made from SHELL XHVI slack wax stream to be sold and promoted as "synthetic".

To celebrate the legal opinion victory, CASTROL Company spokesperson said:

"CASTROL is proud to be a major worldwide provider of synthetic formulated lubricants, and looks forward to continued participation in this exciting market. CASTROL is committed to upgrading its products and producing the highest quality synthetic engine oils. We will continue to explore ways to ensure that Syntec® remains a leading performer in the synthetic category"

WOW, someone missed their calling to be a Politician !!!

So now "synthetic" can be marketed as "synthetic" even if it is not a "synthetic"!

A slight clue that as good as "synthetic" is really not all that good, can be found on , when the recommended oil change interval for CASTROL Syntec® Fully Synthetic Motor Oil is: 3,000 miles or 3 months - just the same as for ordinary conventional Petroleum Motor Oil.

When a drop of "synthetic" makes Petroleum into Synthetic

A PENNZOIL with PENNZANE® was not any better and PENNZOIL claims were downright deceptive.

The PENNZANE® which is touted as "developed for and used by NASA" has been actually developed for used in vacuum pumps, and computer drives. It was never intended for or ever used in any engine!

PENNZANE® in its pure form costs about $400.00 per US quarts.

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that in the Consumer version of the "synthetic" motor oil that used to sell for under $4.00 there was about a drop of PENNZANE® in 5 Gallons !

The Back Label of PENNZOIL "Synthetic" with PENNZANE® also instructed the user to:

"change motor oil EVERY 3,000 miles for best performance" !

Why then it costs four times as much conventional Petroleum Motor Oil if it is not all that much better, and definitely does not last in service any longer?

Someone has to PAY extra premium for the "synthetic" on the label, even if the content is not "synthetic".

Since SHELL acquired PENNZOIL-QUAKER STATE COMPANY the use of PENNZANE in PENNZOIL is no longer promoted.

All PENNZOIL or QUAKER STATE Labeled products as well as all "synthetic" labeled lubricants sold at Jiffy-Lube Fast Lubes use SHELL produced Base Oil of API Group III or API Group II+.

Basically they are 100% Petroleum - but labeled as "synthetic" !

Was Synthetic Motor Oil ALWAYS Petroleum ?


It was a handful of small companies in early 1970's that developed the "First Synthetic" and while Amzoil (Yes it was Amzoil then and NOT Amsoil) was one of them it was not the ONLY or the FIRST.

From the Big Oil it was Mobil with the introduction of Mobil 1 - the original idea of which, was to replace ALL the Motor Oils in the market place with just ONE UNIVERSAL Motor Oil - that would be suitable for use in All-Climatic conditions, year around. Thus the name Mobil 1.

The idea of "ONE" Motor Oil for all applications has however been introduced by SynLube Company in 1969 !

While all these early Motor Oils performed well in most of brand new engines that were made in 1970's, they were not really suitable for "older" vehicles.

The Mobil 1 for example was of SAE 5W-20 Viscosity !

That was when most engines used SAE 10W-30 Motor Oil, so due to the low viscosity oil consumption was issue.

Also Motor Oil was in 1970's sold in Paper Cans with either Metal or Paper "tops" - the paper was treated on the inside with "Paraffin Wax" (Candle Wax) and that made it "leak proof" as most Motor Oils were Paraffin based at that time.

The first shipments of Mobil 1 SAE 5W-20 "Synthesized Engine Lubricant" were TOTAL disaster, as even before they arrived to the Mobil Service Stations, they all leaked !

The problem of course was that while PAO was not a good solvent for Motor Oil additives, it was a great solvent for paraffin, so the paper cans that were sealed with paraffin wax became "unglued" very quickly.

The EXXON (Esso) company had already solved such a packaging problem years ago with their Synthetic Ester Jet Engine Oil, by the use of rather expensive stainless steel cans.

So Mobil followed that trend with similar 100% metal cans, which were of course very expensive when compared to paper cans.

By the time a "second" generation of Mobil 1 was introduced in to the marketplace Mobil Oil got the brilliant idea of using the FIRST plastic jugs for their Mobil 1 products

That of course started a new trend as "plastic" bottles - something new - were perceived as "premium" so the competition quickly adopted them as well for all Motor Oils.

These "early" Motor Oils were what we call TRULLY Synthetic, the Base Stock were made in limited quantities in chemical laboratories and NOT in some remote corner of large refinery where the "today's synthetics" are produced.

When these Synthetic Motor Oils were compared to anything else that was available in 1970's that was produced by then rather crude methods from Petroleum - they were simply "magical" !

The pivoting point in Synthetic Oil history was "The big debate over Synthetic OIL" an 11-page article that was published in April 1976 in Popular Science Magazine - circulation of which at that time was in millions.

Popular Science April 1976

The article which is now available from Popular Science Magazine Archive operated by Google Books is definitely worth reading !

The 100,000 miles on Synthetic Oil without oil change are well documented it that article, and also included are results of many tests sponsored by Mobil, Ford and GM.

So way, way back then in 1976 it was not only possible but proven that 100,000 miles without oil change is a possibility.

Unfortunately with fame and prices 3 to 5 times higher than Petroleum Motor Oil, there were lot of companies that started to market Synthetic Motor Oils of dubious quality - and that to some extend was the start of the famous "problems" like:

While all of the above problems have been solved and engineered out of today's synthetics, all synthetic oil marketers are still fighting these based on truth "myths" even today almost 40 years later.

And of course the current "synthetic" Motor Oils that are "mostly" Petroleum anyway, do not suffer form the aforementioned problems that specific "truly synthetic" products caused.

The SynLube Difference

So now that you know the thick and thin of "synthetic", perhaps you finally could and would appreciate the 100% Synthetic Colloidal Super Lubricants from SynLube Incorporated .

SynLube™  Lube−4−Life®
Lubricants are TOTALLY FULLY 100% Synthetic and NON-Petroleum!

no asterisks, no disclaimers, no excuses, no nonsense, no fine print
- 100% really means 100%.

The Five different Base Oils that are blended together are all
100% Man-made Synthetics and NON-Petroleum!

The Three colloidal solid lubricants are also
100% Man-made Synthetics

The various additives that are incorporated into the final SynLube™  Lube−4−Life® products are all 100% Man-made Synthetics all directly blended into the synthetic Base Oils, without the use of ANY Petroleum Carrier Oil or Conventional Process Oils.


Perhaps today being honest and truthful is an old-fashioned and obsolete business ethic, but that is how we at SynLube Incorporated have been doing business ever since 1969.

No we are not the "First" and we are not the "Biggest" when it comes to lubricants, but being what we are, when it comes to lubrication, we are and can afford to be the "Best in the Solar System, not just the Earth" !

And NOW - it is up to YOU the consumer and the vehicle owner or operator.

With every penny that you spend you vote for the product that you ultimately buy and use.

YOU have the final choice!

Will you choose to support products that are NOT what they say or claim ?

Will you choose products that are promoted by false advertising?

Or will you choose the very best product, that in the long run cost much less to use, than the mediocre?

When it comes to lubricants for your vehicle(s) the choice is simple:

There is:

SynLube™ Lube−4−Life®

the very best ...

... and then ...

... there is the rest!

So now that YOU know "all about synthetic motor oil", which oil would you really rather have in YOUR vehicle?

SynLube™  Lube−4−Life®

Happy SynDrop