Is Synthetic Oil Better for Turbocharged Engines?

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The debate over conventional vs. synthetic oil is heated in almost all aspects of the automotive universe, but is fairly settled where turbocharged engines are concerned.

Conventional vs. Synthetic

  • Synthetic oil is made by singling out the individual molecules that make oil slippery, and reassembling the lubricant without any of the conventional oil's contaminants.

Contaminants

  • Conventional oil contains a number of paraffin waxes, carbon molecules and additives that break down at high temperature and turn into sludge.

Oil Cooking

  • The oil in turbochargers come in very close contact with red-hot exhaust components, and cooks a little more each time it goes through the turbo, getting thicker as the miles go by.

Oil Drain-Back

  • Oil sludge collects in the turbo's drain line, preventing elimination of hot oil and causing turbo overheating.

Lubricity

  • Synthetic oil maintains its lubricity (slipperiness) longer than conventional oils under high-temperature conditions. This is especially important to turbochargers with their tight bearing clearances, high component speeds and heat-induced metal expansion.

Requirements

  • Synthetic oils are almost always required by modern turbo-car manufacturers. Failure to use it will void the warranty.

References

  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of DeusXFlorida
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