Why synthetic is better than ‘natural’
Natural products are traditionally considered to be ‘better’ than synthetic ones. In the case of engine oil, however, Shell scientists have succeeded in developing a range of synthetic products with better properties than their natural counterparts – and fewer of their shortcomings.
Synthetic base oils give enhanced performance because they are manufactured using advanced chemical processes, so their molecular structure and hence, their properties, can be closely controlled. For example, fully synthetic oils like Shell Helix Ultra are designed to flow more easily at start-up temperatures (which is when most wear occurs). They are more resistant to heat and more easily protected by antioxidant additives (oxidation is a natural degradation process that occurs in oil over time). They are also less volatile than mineral oils.
For example, compared with a normal API SG/CD mineral oil, a fully synthetic engine oil such as Shell Helix Ultra is found to deliver:
- Up to five times better cleansing.
- Up to three times more protection.
- Less than half as much engine wear.
Key advantages of synthetic engine oils include:
- Higher purity and quality than mineral base oils – which means fewer unwanted components including sulphur-containing compounds and reactive or unstable hydrocarbons.
- More uniform and consistent molecular composition – which reduces the fluid friction levels.
- Can be reliably tailored to meet the requirements of modern engine manufacturers (requirements that oils like Shell Helix Ultra don’t just meet but often exceed).
- Shell Helix synthetic oils are designed to perform under the more extreme conditions encountered in modern engines.