What is it about synthetic oil that makes it so desirable? In order to answer that question, we should look at conventional oil and why synthetic has come to be considered superior to petroleum motor oil. At Bavarian Auto Werke, we perform hundreds of BMW oil changes each year and it is no secret that the factory in Germany mandates each oil change to be of the synthetic variety. This fundamentally increases the price of the oil change as synthetic oil is much more expensive. (Of course, be sure and check out our BMW Repair Specials page for discounts on BMW synthetic oil changes.) The added expense is due to the fact that synthetic oil is much more expensive to manufacture than conventional motor oil. As with all new technology, the benefits are much greater than the added cost.
Dinosaurs once ruled the earth, lumbering beasts that eventually fell over and died in various mud holes. They sank to to bottom and, over the next few years, became smashed to the point that the result is what we consider crude oil. Of course you will need to excuse our oversimplification of the last forty trillion years, but you get the idea. The lubrication properties of motor oil were not really known until the mid-19th century, at which point, refined oil was utilized on steam engines. This ushered in a new era of engine design with proper lubrication, and more powerful engines could be realized. Engines create massive amounts of heat, not only through combustion, but through friction. Most of the moving parts of an engine create a condition of wear at some point or another. Engine oil forms a film that reduces friction between metal parts, and if rubber parts are not lubricated, they will be destroyed within minutes inside of an engine. So oil is critical to the operation of every engine, and conventional oil works fine but does not have the same properties as its synthetic cousin.
Conventional motor oil is directly related to crude oil, with a few additives thrown in to increase performance. Think of the big oil derricks and crude oil is primarily what they are after. As with most oils, the final product must be refined to make it usable. This, however, does not stop some in the oilfields from using straight crude as an engine oil. This is dangerous because when oil is removed from the ground, it may contain natural gas and contaminants. Depending on where the oil is extracted, different characteristics find their way into the oil. This has created factions of engine oil loyalists, each brand with its own army backing the cause. Ask any home mechanic and they will have a favorite type of oil, and it is always better than yours. Conventional oil is generally mixed with additives in order to increase its effectiveness in the engine. Anti-foam additives, additives that increase its viscosity, additives to keep sludge from forming in your engine and even anti-wear additives.
Synthetic oil is a vast step up from petroleum oil due to the fact that the protection from breakdown is much greater. Breakdown of the oil occurs when the temperature becomes too high and the oil begins to deteriorate. This deterioration is diminished in synthetic oil due to the fact that it is completely man-made without the organic elements to break down. This is where the added expense of synthetic oil is justified. Synthetic oil is long lasting, with superior lubrication qualities, offering excellent engine protection and heat dissipation. BMW and all of the other manufacturers that recommend full synthetic engine oil have done testing to determine the most efficient oil for the application. Basically, the developers run a bunch of engines with various types of oil in them and figure out which one provides the best protection for the engine configuration. The use of synthetic oil is mainly due to its performance in the engine, well, that and large auto manufacturers like to avoid paying for a warranty item. This is the largest argument for following the engine oil standards recommended by the factory, clearly the synthetic performed the best in testing with the least amount of issues. Without a doubt, synthetic is the best choice for engine oil for your BMW.
At Bavarian Auto Werke we are factory trained, BMW certified technicians with years of BMW specific experience. We are your local dealer alternative and are confident that we can save you money when it comes time to service your BMW. During routine oil changes, a good technician can recognize potential issues before they become major problems. Feel free to give us a call about our incredible BMW synthetic oil change specials and make sure you are ready for summer.