The science behind synthetic oils is advancing as fast as any other technology being developed for high-performance engine components. The good news for drivers is that durability and speed are only set to increase in the future. However, drivers who maintain their own engines also face a wealth of decisions when it comes to picking the fluids that are best suited for their needs. The first step in making the right decision is understanding the advantages that synthetic oils themselves actually offer. The primary difference between synthetic oils and conventional fluids that have gone into engines is the presence of insolubles such as paraffin, dirt, wax, and other types of contaminants that ultimately do damage to engines. Synthetic oils are free of these elements because they are man-made, resulting in dramatically lower levels of deposits in vital engine parts.
Synthetic oils also offer better performance due to the fact that they hold up better under extreme the temperatures that come with racing. Because synthetic oils are primarily manufactured using alcohol or natural gases, they are purer as well. Conventional oils also typically experience a problem known as Shearing. The molecular structure of traditional oils makes them prone to breaking down and offering less protection sooner than synthetic oils that utilize medium-length molecules rather than standard hydrocarbons. Because of this characteristic, the life of synthetic oil in virtually any engine is extended dramatically. In most cases, drivers can count on using synthetic oils three to four times longer than they would any conventional product. This figure translates to roughly 10,000 to 12,000 miles between each drain.
TYPES OF VISCOSITY
Now that I have given you a basic foundation, it is time to consider some of the options for making the switch to high-performance synthetics. Drivers must take into account several considerations when looking at their options. The first thing to consider is the weight of the oil. This rating will impact the overall viscosity. From my experience, choosing the lubricant in this capacity allows you to maximize horsepower, RPMs, and longevity for the engine. The goal is to have an oil with enough weight to still offer protection without holding back the oil pump and the drive gears. Still, you do not want to operate with anything too thin, especially where high-performance engines are concerned. Under most driving conditions, you can count on using a grade of synthetic oil that is between 0-W30 and 5-W30. However, racing in conditions where the temperature is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit can call for oils that are a little thicker due to the extreme heats. In terms of brands, you will find that an overwhelming number of drivers turn to Torco SR-5 oils, Mobile 1 Racing synthetics, and XPR synthetics.