How much synthetic oil is in a "blended" brand of engine oil



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Thread: How much synthetic oil is in a "blended" brand of engine oil

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    How much synthetic oil is in a "blended" brand of engine oil

    We have all seen oils on the shelves of retailers labeled "Synthetic Blend" from various manufacturers. However, I don't recall seeing any percentage of synthetic to dino squeezin's.

    I did read somewhere that if there is one drop of synthetic in the bottle you have a "synthetic Blend" oil. Can that be true?

    This link says it can be as little as 2%, but usually less than 10%. Can this low a ratio actually do any good? Or are the blended oils just a marketing gimmick?

    http://www.synlube.com/oil.htm
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    I don't know the percentages, but I have not noticed any difference from straight dino oil to any of the blends. I DO notice a difference going to full synthetic.
    2005 Kia Sorento LX 4x4 44,000mi
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheldon! View Post
    We have all seen oils on the shelves of retailers labeled "Synthetic Blend" from various manufacturers. However, I don't recall seeing any percentage of synthetic to dino squeezin's.

    I did read somewhere that if there is one drop of synthetic in the bottle you have a "synthetic Blend" oil. Can that be true?

    This link says it can be as little as 2%, but usually less than 10%. Can this low a ratio actually do any good? Or are the blended oils just a marketing gimmick?

    http://www.synlube.com/oil.htm
    A marketing gimmick, I'm thinking. As with oil filters, if the Manufacturer doesn't provide the informtion you want to know to make an informed decision, like the product components or percent efficiency per recognized standards, don't buy the product ie force them to provide meaningful information, not just a bunch of hype.

    I don't promote "SynLube for Life" but the first part of this article may have pertinent information for you. They say about 2% to 10% synthetic in blended oil. I have seen numbers as high as 30% mentioned. Making your own blend, half synthetic half conventional, for example, is one way to know what you are getting.

    Also one has to keep in mind that motor oil labelled as synthetic in NA doesn't make the grade in Europe where "synthetic" means "synthetic". Most syntheics here are from highly refined petroleum based stock. ie Group III Base Stocks.

    Synthetic, in Europe, is from Group IV Base Stocks, no petroleum whatsever. Here's some information re "base stocks".

    Check out German Castrol 0W-30 (available at WalMart here), Amsoil, Mobil 1 Extended Performance, and others, for actual Group IV based synthetic oils.

    This Popular Mechanics Article explains the dilemma fairly well.

    The bottom line is that conventional oils do the job, have done the job for years, and aren't nearly as deceptive as synthetics (beginning with what does synthetic really mean?) as to what one gets for the $ spent. Throw in a quart of German Castrol 0W-30 and top it up with conventional oil, and you will likely have something better than a preblended oil.
    Last edited by Jeepman; 06-21-2011 at 01:23 PM.
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    You can certainly use price as a quide.

    If, for instance (not real prices) synthetic is $6/quart, mineral oil $3/quart, and blend $4.50/quart. The amount of synthetic is certainly no more than 50% and probably a lot less.

    Look, if you change your oil twice a year, full synthetic costs, using the above example, $60/year and mineral $30/year. Of all the things to try and save money on, oil is not one of them.

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    The Pop Mechanics article contained this little gem of knowledge:

    "And unburned fuel, partially burned hydrocarbons, atmospheric dirt, metal wear particles and blowby carbon particles will build up just as fast in a synthetic-lubricated engine as in one laved in petroleum-based oil. The only way to remove this stuff is to drain and replace the oil."

    Last year I took my van off the full synthetic diet because it seemed to use a quart of the expensive stuff much faster than regular Dino Drippin's. I also had more valve noise at start-up than I felt comfortable with, ( yes, I used the Mobile 1 Extended filter). I had hoped the blends would give a better ratio of performance to cost..... but with such low percentages of the synthetic swimming in the Dino oil pool, I guess there is little real benefit to using those products.

    And, so, went back to the 3,000 mile schedule, Castrol GTX regular oil and a Chrysler 90 filter. Now, when the Wife starts the van in the garage (garage door is open) I marvel at how "new" something "old" can be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marvinstockman View Post
    ...Of all the things to try and save money on, oil is not one of them.
    The standards for conventional oil are so stringent that as long as you are using the correct grade of oil, as long as it has the "starburst label," you can't go wrong with buying the least expensive brand you can find. I have never yet used synthetic oil, and I have never had an engine-wear related engine issue. The only reason I would switch to a synthetic, if the price was reasonable, would be to get 0W30, which is optionally called for in the Lexus. Even so, I suspect the fuel savings would not cover the additional cost.

    I change the oil at least 6 times a year. I'm not saving $30, I'm saving $90. As they say, "Pretty soon you're talking about real money." I haven't seen where the additional cost of synthetic is justified, and until I do, I'm sticking to buying the cheapest conventional oil (using the correct specified grade, and with the starburst label, of course), and a 5000-mile interval. 3000 miles is fine if you feel you must, but too much work for me, for negligible benefit.
    Michael
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    Other vehicles:
    2008 Lexus RX400h (Dark Gray), 98K mi; 2005 Hyundai Elantra GT (Blue), 75K mi

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    I have a HUGE stash of Synthetic oil....most of which, when accounting for the extended drains I use, comes out to be cheaper than using "Dino Drippings". <--- catchy phrase, that.

    BTW the upfront cost was reasonable due to promotions. EG, I bought several jugs of Mobil 1 when they offered $10/off on 5 qts (about half price).

    I just recently bought Valvoline synthetic for $50 off a case of six (I ended up paying like 50 cents a bottle). Quaker state had a rebate last winter, too.

    I just can't help myself...
    Atwell "Buff" Haines
    Northern NJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheldon! View Post
    The Pop Mechanics article contained this little gem of knowledge:

    "And unburned fuel, partially burned hydrocarbons, atmospheric dirt, metal wear particles and blowby carbon particles will build up just as fast in a synthetic-lubricated engine as in one laved in petroleum-based oil. The only way to remove this stuff is to drain and replace the oil."
    Utter and complete nonsense! The Popular Mechanics article is wrong on so many levels it's almost difficult to know where to start.
    • "Unburned fuel and partially burned hydrocarbons" -- The dumbest of the above; if your engine oil has a high concentration of unburned fuel, simply take the vehicle out for a road trip of twenty to thirty miles and presto-chango, the unburned fuel in the oil is long gone.
    • "Atmospheric dirt" -- Well, unless you live in the middle of a desert with a non-stop sand storm going on, this type of "dirt" will account for virtually nothing over the course of a ten to fifteen thousand mile OCI.
    • "Blow by carbon particles" -- Also pretty dumb in this era of extremely efficient fuel injected engines and unleaded fuel. Here again, after even fifteen thousand miles, the amount of blow by carbon saturation in the oil will be so low as to be completely irrelevant.
    • "...will build up just as fast in a synthetic-lubricated engine as in one laved in petrolium-based oil" -- Completely misses the point that given the relative purity of synthetic oil, even with plenty of extra additives for extended life, synthetic oil has a capacity to hold impurities and contaminates in suspension of two to three times that of conventional oil. Said another way, a high quality synthetic with seven to ten thousand miles on it will still be approximately as "clean" as brand new conventional oil (albeit darker).
    As for your accelerated consumption of synthetic oil, that's difficult to explain given that synthetic oil is, by definition, more stable and vaporization resistent. Was your engine leaking the oil?
    Sold: 1998 DGC Sport 3.8 (Final odo: 178,000 miles)
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    Shipo, can you be my voice!

    I service 4 of my own cars, and using synthetic and going to an 8K to 10K service interval, has really decreased the number of times I'm crawling on the ground. I've been doing this since the mid-80's, and now that I'm 65 I really appreciate the extended intervals.

  12. #10
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    Shipo,

    I was asking about the percentages of synthetic oil in a given "blended" product. The Pop Mechanics article was suggested reading in an answer from someone else, and I appreciated that effort to help.

    Generally, PM is a reliable source for many things.... not to mention debunking the whole of the 911 conspiracy claims, so my bet would usually be on them. Besides, their assertions fit my belief (learned from empirical observation with my own, non-leaking vehicle) that the major difference between synthetic and Dino Juice is price. Indeed, removing the price difference would only make them more equally beneficial to the consumer. Warranty requirements for most vehicles specify change intervals that usually don't differentiate between products. Dino or synthetic... you have to change them at the same scheduled mileages.

    I was looking for a cost benefit ratio from the "blended" products that would be more in my favor ... and it just doesn't seem to be there.

    From now on I'll take the huile over the hype. and save my ha'pence for other happiness.
    2002 T&C Ltd.
    White w/Gray 145,000+ miles
    1997 T&C Lxi
    Green w/Tan 225,000 before sold

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