Difference Between Mineral and Synthetic Lubricants

Driving the cars and riding on bikes can be enjoyable for many but keeping maintenance of the vehicle is tough. If you love your car and bike and enjoy taking them on the streets regularly, you must have to read this article. As a passionate rider, it is important to know how to keep your vehicle in a good condition. No wonder, a machine lover needs to know several things about their vehicle to keep it healthy. One of the most fundamental and necessary things that a vehicle lover must know is whether they should use synthetic or mineral engine oil for a car or bike. To know more about lubricants, their types, uses, we would suggest to reading this article till the end.

Engine oils available in 3 types which are as below: 

  • Synthetic oil
  • Semi-synthetic oil and
  • Mineral oil

All engine oils are formulated with base oils and chemical additives. Base oils are obtained through the process of raw oil refining. Mineral oil is formulated with moderately refined base oils. However, synthetic oil is formed of highly refined base oils. Thus, synthetic oil molecules form equal layers which provide most protection even during extreme conditions and it helps to improve the performance of your vehicle. Synthetic oil shall have fewer impurities as those are extorted out during the refining process. Thus, emissions in the case of synthetic oil shall be more economical.

Mineral & Synthetic

Mineral Engine Oil

Mineral Oil or conventional oils as they are sometimes called, are simply petroleum oils that have been treated to operate over a broad temperature spectrum. These types of engine oils can be used in general commuting circumstances. Mineral engine oils regularly need to be changed every 3000kms.

Semi-synthetic oil

Semi-synthetic oils are a blend of synthetic oil and mineral oil. They provide more protection to vehicles compared to mineral oils. Semi-synthetic oils are available at prices lower than synthetic oils.

Synthetic Engine Oil

Fully Synthetic Engine Oil is designed with engineering Mineral Oils at a molecular level. Most of the engines of modern cars and bikes have specifications. This rids the Engine Oil of impurities and makes the molecules more consistent in structure, which allows Fully Synthetic Oils to be used in the most challenging circumstances, Motorsports, and extreme climatic conditions. Synthetic Oil is the ultimate special engine oil that even reduces sludge deposit. These engine oils also have improved surfactant properties, which fight corrosions and carbon deposits in the machine.

More stringent emission norms can be met with synthetic oils having an adequate balance of chemical additives. The new-age machines require synthetic oils so that the engine can stay cool and perform smoothly. Synthetic oils also assure the durability and strength of the engine, even if the vehicle has been used routinely on rugged roads.

If you are a bike enthusiast who travels to Ladakh having remarkably cold conditions and also to Kerala having humid tropical weather, then it is likely that you are searching for the best engine oil for the Royal Enfield bike.

Understanding SAE Values

Very often you will come across benefits like 20w40, 10w50, 5w40, SAE 30, etc. on packaged engine oil. It is very necessary to go by the SAE value your car or bike manufacturer advises for your vehicle. To help you understand the simple science behind these benefits, engine oils are tested by being heated to 100⁰C and passed through a viscosity meter where the recorded figure gives you the value of the last two digits, in the above-mentioned classification. Now, the digit mention before W is the viscosity value of the oil in a cool temperature circumstance. So, the warmer the engine gets, the lighter engine oil gets, and the cooler engine is (mainly during startup) the thicker the engine oil is. So, ideally what you need is engine oil that maintains a working viscosity bandwidth across hot and cold temperatures. You may need to also note that engine oils which simply specify SAE 30 or any other figure following the SAE nomenclature, simply offer you the viscosity value of the oil at 100⁰C and not the cool situation value.

How to apply this knowledge while choosing an engine oil


If what you are driving is a performance-oriented car or motorbike, fully synthetic engine oil with an SAE value of 5w40 for cars and 10w50 for motorbikes can be excellent. In this case, the 5/10 SAE value will make sure the engine oil is viscous enough to circulate into the engine during a cold start-up, while the 40/50 SAE value will make sure the oil doesn’t run too thin hard acceleration. Now, if you are driving something like a hatchback or sedan or riding a standard commuting motorbike, then to get the best out of your car or motorbike, 20w40 grade in the case of a motorbike or a 10w40 grade for the car. These will assure that your vehicle performs at its maximum potential while also protecting your engine.

Similarly, for diesel engine SUVs & UV, a 15w40 premium mineral oil is useful because a diesel engine takes longer to warm up while the engine also functions at a lower operating temperature. When it comes to high-torque diesel engine Tractors, you may require something that provides peak performance through challenging climatic conditions. 20w40 grade oil preferably with carbon bursting additives makes your Tractor operate at optimum performance. When it comes to trucks, it is necessary to go for multi-grade engine oil, which offers good layer stability through a range of flow and temperature conditions. So, if your truck is turbocharged, go for multi-grade engine oil that is formulated with Pro EGR technology unless multi-grade engine oil with combined booster molecules will also help your truck perform for a longer duration.

The above-mentioned information is a simple guide to help you to know which oil is best for your vehicle. However, it is always best to stick with the grade of oil your vehicle manufacturer recommends.

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