When you drive in hot climates like the US southwest in the summer, and especially if you are riding a motorcycle in that climate, you must ask: To use or not to use, for that is the question (apologies to Shakespeare).
Motorcycle lovers have wrestled in their own minds whether they should follow all the manufacturers guidelines or can they use after market parts, accessories and fluid in their bikes. That battle has been waging for many years and though I’d like to end it here and now, you’ll need to decide for yourselves. Is synthetic oil a better product to use in your car, truck, motorcycle, RV or any other motor? Well, first, lets keep in mind that synthetic oil is NOT man made – it is not an artificial or plastic like substance conjured up in the back of some mad scientist’s laboratory. For if it was actually man-made, we could make it at will and wouldn’t have oil shortages and huge gasoline price increases, would we?
Rather, synthetic oil can be thought of as a base oil that has been molecularly manipulated to function better under stress, heat and friction. As such, it requires crude oil as its base product and is then “built” from there. Additives are added but some of those same additives are also added to “normal” oils as well – so it’s not an issue of what is in it as much as it’s how it’s structured.
In order for your engine to function properly and with adequate power, a lubricating motor oil must perform four main functions: IT MUST LUBRICATE to keep all the metal parts in your engine from literally “rubbing each other raw”. The parts are made slippery by oil and they slide across and/or against one another without significant wear, thus increasing the longevity of the motor. Oil must also PROTECT not only against wear but also against corrosion of engine components, oxidation of the oil and contamination via condensation and combustion by-products all cause acids within an engine oil. a natural by-product of combustion is acid – which of course is corrosive and will “eat” metal parts. Oil is designed to protect against this process (but as we’ll see, not all oils are created equal). In fact I’ve personally seen demonstrations where oil is placed in a dish (be it ATF, gear or motor oil) and a hand crank egg beater is used to stir it up. Some oils (usually synthetic) will climb that egg beater straight to the top, while others will stay in the bowl and begin cbd oil canada to foam up. The demonstration is designed to show the ability of the oil to quickly get to the vulnerable parts and create a lubricant barrier against heat and friction.
Oil must also CLEAN. An engine must remain clean, or it loses efficiency. Deposits within an engine gum up the works and reduce fuel efficiency while robbing your engine of performance. In addition, contaminants within an oil that are left “unguarded” can cause incalculable wear within an engine. And lastly an oil must COOL. The crankshaft, camshaft, timing gears, pistons, main and connecting rod bearings and many other critical engine components are cooled mainly by the motor oil within your engine. The radiator is normally thought to be the primary cooling system, and while it plays a vital part, it is not the main cooler for the engine. Heat is generated within an engine from both the combustion process and the friction caused by the motion of engine components. As oil passes through the system it is directed onto these hot surfaces in order to carry the heat away to the oil pan. From here the heat is dissipated to the air surrounding the pan.
So we see in brief the purpose of oil, but the question remains -synthetic or off the shelf, “normal” oil – which will provide the best protection?
Some Quick Oil Facts… ** Oil filters are an important part of the equation here – and many motor oil filters are only efficient at removing particles larger than 40 microns, but one that efficiently filters particles just 10 microns smaller will reduce engine wear by 50%? As such, all oil filters are not created equal.