Does Synthetic Oil Break Down?

Naomi O'Colman

Does Synthetic Oil Break Down?

Does Synthetic Oil Break Down?

Synthetic oil is a man-made lubricant made up of chemical substances that have been synthesized artificially. It was created to withstand extreme heat. “Does synthetic oil break down?” is the question.

What is Synthetic Oil?

Artificially produced lubricants are frequently utilized as a replacement for petroleum-based oils that must operate in severe temperatures.

Synthetic oil was first produced in 1929 and has since been utilized in everything from everyday automobiles to high-performance vehicles and even aircraft.

Synthetic oils are now required in certain engines, such as aviation jet engines. Although synthetic oil was formerly mostly utilized in high-performance automobiles, it is now being employed in more popular engines to help automakers increase fuel efficiency.

What are the components of synthetic oils?

The highest possible quality base oil is used as a starting point for full synthetic motor oil, however, the industry specifics are a little hazy. Synthetic oil, in addition to the base oil, frequently includes additives in the end product. Despite the fact that no two synthetic lubricants are the same, full synthetics offer superior protection over synthetic blends or conventional oils.

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Does Synthetic Oil Break Down?

The answer is YES. Regular or conventional motor oils contain more contaminants than synthetic oils. As a result, you can safely ride for up to 15,000 miles (assuming you use synthetic oil) before worrying about changing your oil.

However, if you use normal oil, you’ll need to replace your oil every 7,500 miles or so. Regular oils ruin faster than synthetics because they contain more contaminants.

The explanation above, on the other hand, relates to lubricants that have been added to the vehicle.  These oils are now exposed to mechanical pressures and extremely high temperatures, which contributes to their degradation over time.

Is it true that unused synthetic oils deteriorate over time as well? The answer is YES once more. Leftover motor oil might become rancid after two years if it is not used, according to Total. This is due to the fact that the additives will undoubtedly decompose throughout this time.

Mobil, on the other hand, claims that unused motor oils can last up to 5 years before becoming harmful to use. So, based on the findings from these leading motor oil brands, one can conclude that motor engine oils (in general) will always deteriorate if left for more than three years (on average).

What Are the Signs That Your Oil Is Bad?

As previously stated, everything has an expiration date; check the expiration date to see if the motor oil you purchased some time ago has gone bad. The expiration date should be printed on the label or on the gallon’s bottom. Also, the color of the oil can indicate if it is good or bad.

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Another approach to check for spoiled motor oils is to pour the oil into another container and look for deposits at the bottom of the gallon.

When the additives in an oil break down, they sink to the bottom. If the oil has been sitting for a time before being thought to be utilized, this is advised.

What Happens If You Use An Out-Of-Date Oil?

For any car engine, we do not recommend using expired oils. The additives’ potency is lost as they degrade and dissolve, and they transform into very toxic/acidic compounds.

Expired oils, rather than protecting your engine, may accelerate oxidation, resulting in leaks, wear, and tear.

Some mechanics, however, believe that if the motor oil has not been polluted by water or any other liquid, it is OK to use.


So, does synthetic oil break down? They certainly do (whether used or not used). The oil’s additives have a limited shelf life of five years. When buying motor oil, make sure to look at the manufacture date as well as the expiration date.

Synthetic oils become polluted by engine deposits over time. If you have an older vehicle, you should change the oil before 7,500 miles. This is due to the fact that older engines generate more deposits and containments than newer ones.