Natural Versus Synthetic Lubricants: what you need to know

 16th Aug 2012

Cover Pour - GearWhile looking at some of our products online, you may have noticed that we provide a wide variety of lubricants in both synthetic and crude oil based forms. These products differ greatly in performance, price and application, so here’s what you need to know before you commit to a product.


Lubricating oils can be either refined from crude oil, or produced synthetically using complicated industrial processes. While crude oil can be somewhat difficult to extract from the earth, when a drilling operation is established it can produce a very high yield, whereas the manufacture of synthetic oils, although perhaps less labour intensive, is more inefficient. This discrepancy in the quantity of oil against the cost of its production is a contributing factor in the comparatively higher cost of synthetic oils.


Synthetic lubricants produce markedly better performance than their crude oil alternatives, providing more stable viscosity performance at both low and high temperatures, less drag on moving components, greater resistance against evaporation and added protection against harmful particulate matter. However, certain chemicals can cause synthetic lubricants to degrade; they can also have an adverse effect on certain plastic components and are considerably more expensive than refined crude oil products.


Although synthetic oils are more expensive than natural products, they are certain to save you more money in the long run. The benefits of a high performance product means that mechanical components will suffer significantly reduced wear and tear, meaning that you will need to spend far less on maintenance over the years. Furthermore, synthetic oils will last longer, evaporate less quickly and boost engine performance, so buying a cheaper product may turn out to be false economy.


Due to the higher performance characteristics of synthetic oils and their greater integral resistance to high temperature environments, they are widely used as high-performance engine oils; from quality products for your family runabout to the high-stress environment of race car engines and commercial vehicle engines. Refined crude oil lubricants however are well-suited to industrial processes, where they have less chance to degrade than synthetic products, and agricultural applications, where they are prized for their value for money.


Many of our high-performance Mobil 1 synthetic lubricants are treated with beneficial additives that further increase the properties that make them effective in a given environment. These additives can include anti coagulants that stop the oil from congealing, agents that prevent particulate matter from gathering on vital components and even chemicals to improve the all-around lubrication of the oil in question.


So now that you know what sets synthetic oils apart from their crude oil cousins, you’ll be able to browse our website and choose a product that’s right for you.


Notes For Editors

The WP Group, headquartered near Southampton in Hampshire, is a leading independent distributor of fuels and lubricants, with a £160m annual turnover and employing 70 people.

Based at Wessex House, Cadland Road, Hardley, Hythe, WP offers a complete portfolio of products and bespoke service solutions across each of its eight trading divisions ­ Industrial, Aviation, Agricultural, Heating, Automotive, Commercial, Motorsport and Marine.

WP, located by Fawley Oil Refinery, has a 50-year heritage and is the supplier and support specialist of choice to thousands of businesses.

Wessex House
Cadland Road
SO45 3NY
Telephone: 023 8089 7841
Freefone: 0800 980 6172
Fax: 023 8089 8876
Email: WP Automotive

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