There are differing opinions as to whether it is okay to mix regular motor oil with the synthetic synthetic. It is generally not recommended to mix these two types of motor oil because their components can cause reactions and unwanted effects. Also, both products operate at different pressures and temperatures.
Motor oils: what are they and what are they for?
Motor oil is the name given to any oil that is used to lubricate the moving parts of a vehicle’s engine. This decreases the friction between the metals and prevents possible damage to the parts. In addition to lubricating, oil also works as a cleaner, prevents corrosion, and helps dissipate engine temperatures.
Motor oil is used in automobiles, motorcycles, buses, boats, trains, airplanes, construction equipment, and electrical generators. Its functions include the following:
- The oil creates a film that separates moving surfaces and minimizes direct contact, thereby reducing frictional heat and wear.
- Coating metal parts with oil prevents their exposure to oxygen and prevents rusting.
- The rubbing of the metallic parts of an engine produce metallic microparticles. These particles are removed through oil filters.
mineral oil and synthetic oil
The first motor oils were extracted from animal and vegetable fats, but with technological advances, chemical compounds derived from petroleum began to be used. These oils are known as mineral oils and are made from hydrocarbons and organic compounds of carbon and hydrogen. In addition, they include other chemical compounds to improve their qualities.
However, at present, synthetic oils are increasingly used, which are made in laboratories and are more complex elements than those derived from petroleum.
Synthetic oil is a lubricant that is made from man-made chemical compounds. These compounds are made by recreating oil molecules and have additives that prevent oil degradation.
Differences between regular and synthetic oil
Both regular and synthetic motor oils are derived from petroleum. The main differences are in their molecules and their effectiveness. By looking at the molecules of synthetic oils under a microscope, it is possible to see that they are all the same size and have a similar structure. This is because they are the result of the artificial selection of certain molecules derived from petroleum, with fewer impurities, with the addition of other synthetic components.
Instead, regular oil is made from refined crude oil. Its molecules come from the different types of organic matter that make it up and have different shapes, sizes and structures.
While both oils have the same function, which is to lubricate engine parts, prevent corrosion, and keep surfaces clean, synthetic oil is designed for higher temperatures and pressures, giving it greater strength and utility.
Potential Negative Effects of Engine Oil Blends
A common mixture of regular and synthetic oil is semi-synthetic oil. This mixture is already prepared and its use is safe. It even has a greater effectiveness and duration than that of mineral or common motor oil.
However, in everyday life, some people mix different oils, not just synthetic, semi-synthetic or regular, but from different manufacturers.
This is a controversial topic, since most oils are made up of different chemicals. One of the most internationally recognized manufacturers of motor oils, Mobil Oil, affirms that mixing oils does not cause any problem because the compounds are compatible with each other.
Despite this, the general recommendation is not to mix oils because the additives in the different products can interact and cause unexpected chemical reactions. Also, mixing can reduce or nullify the effectiveness of the additives.
- Trout, J. (2020, March 20). Synthetic Oil: What do consumers need to know? Ferris Wheel Mexico. Available at: https://noria.mx/aceite-sintetico-que-necesitan-saber-los-consumidores/
- D’Addario, M. Automobile Mechanics Manual: Fundamentals, Components, and Maintenance. (2017). Spain. CreateSpace.